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Reflections: Farewell, 2023

You Will Be Missed

By Sirena Carroll - The Blind Single MomPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 3 min read
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Reflections: Farewell, 2023
Photo by Elisha Terada on Unsplash

2023 saw much change and much remaining static in my life.

A moment, please, while I lovingly expound on 2023 for my babies.

Gabriel and I continued traveling every ninety days to visit my daughter in Germany, the details of which need an article of their own.

One-year-old Gabriel sits aboard an airplane seat, secured with an FAA-approved safety harness. His wide eyes gaze slightly upward, reflecting a sense of wonder or curiosity. The toddler wears a light blue shirt adorned with playful designs, while his dark hair is neatly trimmed, giving him an appearance of tidy youthfulness. His hands rest gently, one on the seat and the other in his lap, as an adult's hand lovingly rests on his head, offering a touch of comfort or reassurance. In the periphery, the airplane's interior is dimly lit, with overhead compartments and a row of seats creating a corridor of depth.

Gabriel turned one in 2023!

One-year-old Gabriel sits on a blanket that reads "12 MONTHS" in bold, dark letters. The child is holding a triangular piece of fabric, possibly a birthday hat, pointed downwards, with his gaze fixed on it. He's dressed in a casual outfit—denim jeans and a t-shirt with a large, stylized logo. Beside him sits a plush Elmo toy, a bright red figure that stands out against the pale blanket. A mobile phone lies on the blanket near the toddler, a failed diversionary tactic. The surrounding area is a carpeted floor, indicating an indoor setting, simple and everyday.

He continued visits to his eye doctor, saw an audiologist, went to his first dental appointment, had a speech therapy intake, and started daycare!

One-year-old Gabriel sits in a high chair, attentively examining a piece of food he holds in his hand. His dark hair is neatly styled, and he wears a collared shirt, a blend of comfort and a touch of formality. Before him on the tray lies a plate scattered with small pieces of food, and a sippy cup stands to the side, hinting at a meal in progress. The room around him is bright, with a play area in the background that includes a colorful rug and a toy organizer, suggesting a space that's both lived-in and loved.

Little Nugget was also the most adorable thing on two legs at all Halloween events.

In this Halloween-themed capture, nineteen-month-old Gabriel stands with his big brown eyes wide open and a gentle, bashful smile gracing his lips as he gazes into the camera. His plump, rosy cheeks and endearing features really do need a warning label. He is clad in a Mickey Mouse costume that fully covers him. The attire, unified with long sleeves and pants, is primarily black, while the bottom half emulates Mickey's signature red garment with white circular adornments. Gabriel's little feet are comfortably clad in well-worn black velcro sneakers. His head is tenderly embraced by a hood, complete with round Mickey mouse ears and a jovial face. He is poised on a cerulean floor, backed by pastel teal walls and orderly chairs.

He also caught COVID-19, which terrified me beyond what I let anyone see.

Gabriel surfed a vacuum down a flight of stairs (he was all right, just startled) and engaged with his first Christmas market...

Three children are nestled in the cab of a merry-go-round firetruck, a scene that's full of life and color. A friend of Rose's, Charlotte, with her dark hair peeking out from under a cozy black beanie, peers over the side, her attention seemingly split between the ride and something outside the frame. Rose, with light-brown hair, offers a wave, her face split by a grin, while one-year-old Gabriel sits up front, his small stature barely rising above the firetruck's dashboard. They ride within a carousel rich in detail; it's adorned with festive decorations, and just behind them, an array of painted carousel horses waits for the next round of laughter. Bells hang above, hinting at the merry jingles that might accompany the ride. The background is a blur of the market's hustle and bustle, people bundled up against the chill, with the architecture of the surrounding buildings lending the setting a historic air.

And finally said "mama" for the first time, alongside a smattering of new words.

His first word was "Uh-oh." That must foreshadow future gray hairs or is merely a concise statement on the dangers of having a blind mom who walks too fast.

I can't believe he's almost two. It's going far too fast.

Rose turned eleven in 2023!

Eleven-year-old Rose peeks from behind a large plush toy that looks like a cheerful, yellow pineapple with a green crown. Her eyes twinkle with a playful energy, and her smile beams forth delightedly. The table in front of her is a landscape of festive chaos, with wrapping paper fragments and a variety of Christmas decorations scattered about. The room bears the hallmarks of a celebration in progress. Garlands with unicorns drape across the backdrop, intermingled with blue tinsel, providing a whimsical contrast against the dark wood of an antique cabinet. The cabinet's glass doors reflect the room's merriment, and inside, a collection of glassware and trinkets sits neatly arranged.

She finished a rough fourth-grade year, visited Scotland with her father and stepmother, started fifth grade, and has stayed on the honor roll since. She also earned her C1 skiing qualification.

She excels in her swimming lessons (she really wants that mermaid tail), attends gymnastics weekly, and has matured leaps and bounds mentally.

She's also the best big sister a baby brother could ask for.

In the quiet comfort of a bedroom, Rose and Gabriel are deep in slumber, facing each other in mirrored tranquility. Gabriel is in a striped sleeper, his hand resting near his face in a position of serene repose. Opposite him, Rose, her light-brown tresses tousled gently over the pillow, echoes her baby brother's quietude. They are surrounded by the soft hues of bedding, a yellow pillow gently cradling Rose's head, while textured throws suggest a layering of warmth.

In an outdoor setting, Rose and Gabriel are engaged in a moment of creativity. Gabriel, the toddler, is seated on a stone surface, his small hands holding a piece of chalk, the box of colorful possibilities lying open beside him. Rose, poised with a quiet attentiveness, sits nearby, her gaze directed towards her younger brother, perhaps contemplating their next artistic endeavor. They're both dressed for the cool air; Gabriel in a jacket adorned with playful patches, Rose in a simple black top, her hair swept to the side.

I miss her like a severed limb when we're apart, and I couldn't be more proud of the young lady she's becoming.

In comparison, I've remained relatively static. I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. I joined Medium, found their story posting process utterly inaccessible to screen readers, and discovered Vocal. I have one top story I'm still proud of: I dyed my hair and taught Rose how to make pancakes.

Rose stands at the stove, focused on the task at hand. She's flipping a pancake, the golden-brown disk mid-turn in the air. The kitchen is bright, bathed in natural light from the large window pane above, where droplets of a recent rain shower cling to the glass, hinting at the weather outside. The countertop is a busy landscape of cooking in progress: a bowl with pancake batter sits ready for the next pour, and a plate with a finished pancake awaits its companions. The cooking area is homey, with personal touches like family photos on the wall adding warmth to the scene.

I said goodbye to a dear friend who moved to Italy, rekindled the crossover fanfic I've been writing since 2016 (sorry, fanfic haters), signed a plan with my vocational counselor that will move parenting-unrelated parts of my life forward in 2024, and made a wonderful German friend. I wept at the loss of a Healthy Families support specialist I loved and came to love her successor just as much.

I read seventy-two books this year, three books shy of my Goodreads reading challenge goal. One of my closest friends moved to the city where I live. I finally bought a mattress cover that didn't crackle whenever I moved!

2023 did present with sadness, too. My mother dealt with the first anniversary of my uncle's death in June. A lovely neighbor with cancer passed away in November. (Find her tribute here.)

I had a medical scare myself. It was the kind that required an urgent doctor visit and a chest x-ray. I was writing my will in my mind, but I'm something of a closet hypochondriac (thank you, anxiety.) When the x-ray cleared, my favorite neighbor drove me home from dropping Nugget off at daycare. We just embraced, and I felt like I'd been granted a new lease on hope.

I've had ups and downs, moments of delight, profound sadness, and anger. A recent dream showed me that beneath an illusionary veneer of healing, there are parts of me that still lie in shards from a wickedly drawn-out breakup-it's been years. I had to reconcile myself to the possibility that I may never fully heal. It's a sad truth but one I can accept with grace.

I've omitted other joyous moments regarding my faith, for I don't believe Vocal can permit such reflections. I will say no more in that vain, but I can't pretend they don't exist.

2023. I wouldn't replace it for anything.

I'm content.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Bring it on, 2024.

____________________

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About the Creator

Sirena Carroll - The Blind Single Mom

Killing Misconceptions, One Story At A Time

I'm Sirena, a book-loving blind mom opening up on the unique life of single and co-parenting with a disability.

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Comments (1)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran5 months ago

    Awww, Rose and Gabriel are sooooo adorable! I totally understand Rose because I too want a mermaid tail! Wishing you a veryyyyy Happy New Year and may only good things come your way! 🥰🥰🥰

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