As we sign off for the year at APW, I always try to write a post that helps me wrap my arms around what happened over the last twelve months. And this year, thinking about what I’ve experienced has been baffling. What do you say about a year full of the unexpected—a year that started with a surprise national book tour by train, and ended with a baby? It’s hard not to have some sort of sense of cognitive dissonance, putting it all together. And while the bookends of the year were wonderful, the vast middle portion felt like a wasteland: a hard pregnancy combined with multiple family crises were some of the hardest months of my life.
Through it all, APW was there, and thrived. Running and writing for this site was the steadying force in my life this year. And how APW grew. In some ways, the growth felt out of our control, and all we could do was react to it the best we could. We made the best decisions we could (and a fair amount of mistakes) as we learned new ropes (while in my case, balancing the physical and emotional strain of pregnancy). But there were so many joys along the way: meeting many of you on tour, our expanding and amazing staff, our new How-To shoots, our intern writers, our reader-contributors, our phenomenal sponsors, and you guys: the readers. This year I’m beyond grateful that I got to tour around the country and make jokes in front of whole rooms of you guys, and speak on NPR. But mostly I’m grateful for the ability to get to show up each day, work with women I adore, and write about things I believe in. And for that I have each of you to thank.
The other night, I was up in the middle of the night for a three a.m. feed. As I changed our son’s diaper, I heard a train whistle echo through the cold dark air. That was same train whistle that soothed me to sleep so many nights in January, rocking back and forth to sleep in the cozy comfort of my sleeper car. And I finally felt some sense of wholeness to the year. This was a year where I saw this side of morning many times: in train cars, walking through pregnancy insomnia, during repeated bouts of early labor, rushing to the hospital as my water broke, and rocking my baby to sleep.
And still the train whistle echos, reminding me of where I’ve been and where I’m going, and forever calling me towards adventure. So thank you. Thank you for reading, for listening, and for ever beckoning me onwards: towards dramatic journeys, and the quiet ones that unfold at three a.m., in the still of the night.
For now, for the holidays: everything calm, everything bright. See you back here January 2nd.
Photo by: Hart & Sol West (APW Sponsor)