I apologize that it’s taken me a week to write this.  I’m still typing everything with my left hand only.

I am addicted to Shutterfly, and every year I make a family yearbook.  A scrapbooker at heart, I just don’t have the time, space, or money to devote to as many scrapbooks as it would take to use all the pictures I take.  As someone who majored in Photography I can also admit to being a shutterbug.  When there are pictures of me I usually have a camera in my face or hands.  I have had to ask people to take pictures of me to have some evidence of my existence beyond being the one who took all the pictures.  My father has admitted to having this same issue, so I assume it’s hereditary.

In any case, 2012 was pretty rough on this family.  In fact, it seems to have been that way for many of our nearest and dearest.  The party line of New Year’s Eve seemed to be, “Here’s to 2013, because 2012 was terrible!”.  It’s true, this year our family took a pretty hard onslaught of blows.  We experienced loss of friends and lovers, sickness, financial problems, and for the first time in five years our marriage reached a point of uncertainty.  Our household took a huge hit that left us rebuilding from the ground up, and that rebuilding caused a lot of growing pains for everyone.

As tough as that all was to swallow at the time, the key word there is “growing”. Personally and as a unit we all grew this year.   We grew closer, we grew stronger, and we grew in faith and maturity.  I met someone in July who challenged the way I loved and opened up to new partners and showed me what this poly life really has to offer me.  While the end of that short relationship rocked my core it taught me a lot about myself and forced me to re-evaluate my expectations and standards for future relationships.  The last half of the year tossed me and Hubby around like a hurricane, but it uncovered a lot of hidden issues we had been avoiding or had gone unnoticed.  Through that we have been able to fortify our weak points and strengthen our bond.  We have fine tuned how we work as a team and proven that we can survive anything.

Sorting  images for this book I began to realize that in between all the tears and screaming there were also a lot of smiles.  It’s true that a negative moment will stick to your memory before a positive one.  Woven between the struggling were great moments of love and happiness.  This last year was amazing for new adventures and opportunities.  I took trips I never thought I’d take.  I got to see my family more than I have in years.  We have made huge strides with Little Guy and his mother, and we are well on our way to pulling out of this slump.

What I love most about these books is the optimism on every page and the reminder that we are alive.  There are no pictures of arguments or suffering.  There are no shots of sorrow or frustration.  While the lessons are important the details are not.  There are no grudges or residual anger here, just love and laughter.  2012 was a year of transition and transformation.  Its story is written across the smiles and faces in these pictures, and while the lessons are always with me I choose to remember the Shutterfly version of my life, and it’s been a beautiful year!