So this is New Year’s Day. And what have you done? Another year over. A new one just begun (from John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas”).

My small family and I began what I hope to be a new tradition, a New Year’s Eve sleepover with friends and their kids. With little people running around until after 9:00. Excited to stay up late and not have to part. (It’s the parting that is so tough when you’re small, right?)

Our friends spoiled us with escargot, stuffed mushrooms, cocktail shrimp, and chocolate stout. My husband responded in kind with an ice cream sundae bar and a fine bottle of wine. It was an embarrassment of riches, to me, someone who has to have limits on everything, including special celebrations. Not too much wine. Too much butter. Too much dessert. And nothing overly expensive either. So I felt happy to be spending the last day of the year allowing some “excess” into my life.

In fact, the last evening of the year was fitting for the past twelve months. A theme of mine for 2016 was “allowing.” Allowing myself to have a comfortable, nice house in a  rather removed community. Allowing myself the couch I wanted for the basement. To have decorative drapes. And beautifully carved antique dining room chairs.

It’s been a year of appreciating successes with as little guilt as I could muster. But it’s still in there, the stepmother who wants to keep me locked in the basement, drab and cramped.

My hope is to continue allowing, in this new year. Allowing the universe to let in its rich gifts, its abundance. A year to continue believing that my family and I are worth it. That just because there are starving people in the streets doesn’t mean that we can’t feel the comforts of some well-deserved and hard-won successes.

The indulgent celebration felt especially good for another reason, too. I have been deep in the trenches of some underlying emotional stuff in the past couple of weeks. Why, you might ask? For the same reasons as you. You finally get some time to decompress, and then all the seams come out. The tight packaging comes unraveled.

During this year, in particular, there was much to be angry and down about. There was so much holding in during the election. We tried not to let our emotions show, didn’t we? Learned to keep our opinions to ourselves. Realized that sometimes we aren’t going to change anyone’s mind or get through to those who won’t let us in.

To help alleviate the deluge of disappointment and frustration, I chose to unplug a bit in December. Only popping onto Facebook for quick hellos or well wishes. Writing for myself and for potential publications instead of for my blog.

It’s fascinating, really, how much there is to feel once you turn off the chatter. Once you stop surfing through friends’ photos. Once you can purposely choose which news stories you want to see. There’s a whole world inside, waiting to be felt, without the noise of everyone else’s rants, opinions, and commentary (my own included in that; you’re welcome).

Realizing that you are just here. That your own world still matters, that your own inner peace is paramount. To admit that after all, you were “not waving, but drowning” (Stevie Smith). From such a far distance, it was so hard to tell. I could barely make out my own tiny figure, floating in the distance.

At least I know now. I can feel the wounds that need to be washed clean. Wounds from a year of losing a loved one, of aging parents and their illnesses. And the new uncertain world awaiting us all.

I don’t know how long I had been stranded out there, in the deep, but I am riding the waves in now. I hope you’ll join me in this journey. This journey of cracking open the treasure chest to see what’s been on offer. All this time.






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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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