We arrived back in Bologna the morning of the 31st. Our friends asked if we were interested in going to see the traditional burning of the effigy in the Piazza Maggiore at midnight, but by 8 pm we were all asleep.
The booms of firecrackers woke all three of us up at midnight, but after 15 minutes when the noise subsided, none of us could fall back asleep. Mike worked on preparing his Sunday School lesson, and I gave Ada a review of 2011.
"I thought you would be born in January," I told her, "or at least by your due date. But I had to wait until nearly the middle of February before I got to hold you. It was a very special day."
"I defended my thesis in March," I said. "It was a strange day where I began to reconcile the different parts of me. The mother-scholar-artist-adventurer in me. All rolled up into one."
"We road tripped to Idaho in April to take your Aunt Lou back to school. Then I spoke at commencement. I talked about you. I think it was born out of my desire to make my school-self and mother-self the same thing. I wanted to be one-self. It helped me."
"You didn't see the sun until May. Spring was late in coming this year and the weather seemed to want to stay hazy and cold forever. But the sun came. We spent lots of time outside on blankets. This was all before you could crawl, of course."
"We lived at Grandma and Grandpa Crosland's house in June. With your Aunt OlderAndWiserToo. I look back on those days and they seem so quite and perfect. Not that things are too hectic now, but I don't think I'll ever have a period of my life again quite like that one."
"July and August were spent at your Grandma and Grandpa Anderson's house. We were essentially nomads all summer. It taught me that I'm a terrible nomad. I'm too territorial. I like my own space and my own things. We also went to the beach. You liked the beach. You took long naps and ate lots of sand. You also lost three pacifiers on that trip. We started using that ugly thing that hooks them to your clothes after that.
"We moved here in September. But it feels like a lot longer ago than that. We've been here for almost four months. By the time we leave you will have lived longer in Italy than in America. Isn't that cool? I think had I know the nitty gritty of what my life would look like here, I would have been more scared than I was to come over. But it just takes adjustments. And I love it here. With you. With Dad. That's the most important thing.
"In October we filmed with the crew. You loved your new friends and they were pretty fond of you too. We're still waiting to see our episode. . . It will be like a little digital time capsule when we finally get to see it."
"November was filled with lots of ups and downs and lots of Thanksgiving meals."
"December just happened. Do you remember it? We went to Utah and you got to be with your family again. I wish we could be closer to family sometimes. You loved them so much. But we'll be back in Utah soon, and I'm sure we'll miss being here. That's the funny thing about life. You always wish for things you used to have, or will someday have. But it's best to learn to wish for the present, because it's always available to us."
It was a tender way to ring in the New Year. In my bed with my baby girl, talking about all the ways she changed my life. It makes me excited for all that 2012 has in store for our family. If it's anything like 2011, there will be lots of moves, lots of new places to explore, and lots of new experiences.