Did another year just happen? I mean, it would seem so. I have flipped the calendar pages myself. I’ve watched the days go by, one by one, and I didn’t notice us skipping any of them so I’m not going to go so far as to say I don’t believe another year has passed but...can you believe something and not believe it at the same time? I think so?
That’s where I’m at with 2022. I believe it happened, I just don’t believe it happened.
If, however, it turns out that it did happen, then I guess these are some of the notable things that happened in it:
A - Alistair! My sister had a baby and he’s great. Sully is his number one fan, which actually surprised all of us—when Elise had her first baby, Adelaide, Sully would not go near her. He would stare at her curiously from across the room. I’d say, Sully, come sit with me and hold her, and he’d shake his head, his eyes huge. Don’t get me wrong; he loved her, he was just terrified of her. I think he was afraid of how absolutely tiny she was—which is fair! Babies are super small, and they do come across, whether they mean to or not, as kind of fragile and intimidating. He wanted to look at her but from a safe distance. And he was like that, at first, with Alistair too, until the weekend Elise came to stay with us. Alistair was a little over a month old and he had these very wise, searching eyes that would just lock on you, like he was really trying to connect with you, and one evening he looked at Sully like that, and he got him. Sully came over and sat beside me and put his hand on the back of Alistair’s sweet round head, like he’d been put under a spell, and we sat like that for over an hour. Sully marvelled at him. He was astonished at every feature, delighted by all the usual baby things, the gassy smiles, the startle reflex. And even months later, the shine has not worn off. I think it’s cute.
B - Book 3: My agent submitted my third book to my publisher at the very, very end of 2022. Fingers crossed for good news on this front in the new year. Briefly, some book FAQs: Yes, this book has a tentative name and no, I’m not saying what it is because it’s probably going to get changed. No, it’s not finished finished—we submitted it as a proposal (not something generally done in fiction but that’s how my publisher works with their existing authors). Also, people keep asking me what this book’s about and I’m just forever doing that fish thing where my eyes get big and I open and close my mouth a lot. So here: It’s, like, a book about the end of the world, but it’s also kind of a rural Canadian slice-of-life family thing. So, Stuart McLean but sci-fi. It’s really weird but kind of also not very weird. And okay, that’s it, I’m done talking about it now.
C - Covid. We finally got it. It was weird! What a weird, weird thing.
D - Dined on a lot of patios. Hit Fat Badger, Vic’s Tavern, Bar Willow, Skye, Hampton Hub, probably others I’m forgetting.
E - Sully turned eight. This is another thing my brain refuses to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence (not the least of which is that I haven’t given birth in eight years). He’s in grade 3, he loves building complicated motorized machines with his LEGOs and reading comic books and playing games and he’s very funny and smart.
F - Fall Ball: Sully had his first organized sports experience and it was the best. I loved—loved—watching him go out and meet people and work so hard and have so much fun.
G - Got a plaque from my publisher to commemorate selling 100,000 copies of Sorry I Missed You. The milestone itself happened in 2021 but the plaque came in 2022 and I don’t have anything else for G so I’m using it!
H - Had to clear a lot of snow. Barclay officially added me to his payroll this year so now I’m his employee? And as soon as he did that the skies just opened up and started dumping stupid amounts of snow on our town. (I mean. We also hired another guy this year who clears way more snow than me and I’m pretty much second string now but I reserve the right to complain anyway.)
I - I said goodbye to my wonderful Grandpa Martin. Losing a grandparent is always such a strange thing—they’ve always been there so you never think they won’t be. His funeral was really beautiful though, and it was so good to see family I hadn’t seen in a long time.
J - Just year of big changes. This is very vague! That’s okay! The internet doesn’t need to know all my business.
K - Killed a spider with a shampoo bottle, have not yet moved the shampoo bottle. No one else in my family has moved the shampoo bottle either. Maybe we are okay with that shampoo bottle sitting in that corner of the bathroom? Maybe I am the only one who has noticed it? Does this gross you out, that I have not cleaned under that shampoo bottle in a long time? Why do you even care? It’s not your house. Stop caring about other people’s houses so much. How long do you think it takes a spider to decompose and stop existing after you kill it?
L - Live music: another year of much less of this than I would like. Like, much less. I went to Folk Fest and I went to the Cathedral Village Arts Fest and I went to see our neighbor’s band play their first gig. Those nights were lovely and I just want so many more of them!
M - Made headway on the basement renovation. We now have a functional TV room and even hung a picture on the wall the other day. Progress is so slow because there’s so much else going on around here, but it’s HAPPENING.
N - New York Times: Sorry I Missed You was an answer in a puzzle in The New York Times, which meant that my name appeared in the answer key, which felt like a very big deal for me. I would never have known this if not for a friend who lives in the States who regularly does the puzzles in the paper on Sunday mornings and saw it and sent me a picture of it. Thanks, Sarah!
O - Okay, you guys, as of the last week of the year, I have officially hit 107 *consecutive* weeks on my workout app. I’m not ripped or anything but I’m ~*~consistent~*~ and I feel proud of myself.
P - Panel: I spoke on a panel of authors at the Sask Writer’s Guild annual conference in October. It was my first in-person author event since before the pandemic and it was really sweet to get to do that again. Lisa Bird-Wilson was also on the panel and I embarrassed myself by, upon meeting her, calling her by the name of the main character in her book, which I was reading at the time. Maybe an author rite of passage?
Q - Quite a few falcons moved into our neighborhood this summer and we were so excited about it. Barclay’s favorite bird is a peregrine falcon, which is why he named his business after them, and yes we are nerds and we don’t even care. I got our family a birdwatching class for Christmas. Come at me, as they say, bro.
R - Read way fewer books than usual. Started a lot more than I finished—and it’s not even that I don’t intend on finishing all of the ones I started, I just kept getting distracted.
S - Scarlett turned six. She’s a New Year’s Eve baby so I’m writing this before she technically turns six and it’s messing with my head. But it will be true by the time I hit publish! She is working so hard at school and goes around living with so much gusto. Her heart is bigger than anybody’s.
T - Thirteen: Barclay and I celebrated 13 years of marriage! That is a lot of years and also not very many.
U - Up in the night a lot. I always thought that when your kids turn one you would get to sleep through the night again. This has not been the case for us; both kids, now 6 and 8, wake up every night at least one time, usually more. We are tired.
W - Weighted blanket. I bought one! I love love love it. I want another one. Maybe three more! Ugh I wish I was under it right now! (I am not; I am at the library and didn’t think to bring it with me.)
X - XXXV: I turned 35 this year. You may remember me absolutely FREAKING OUT when I turned 30 because 30 felt ancient to me, but 35 feels young. I am fancy-single-New-York lady-in-rom-com age. I am not actually a fancy single New York lady, but being the same age as one is soooo glamourous.
Y - Yes! The return of coffee shops to my writing life! I had been writing from home because of Covid being everywhere, and I still mostly write from home because Covid is still everywhere but…sometimes you need an hour or two in a coffee shop to jump start the ol’ creativity.
Z - Zero big trips, but lots of little ones, to visit family and friends. Brandon, Swift Current, Medicine Hat, Dafoe, Frontier.
That’s it, I think. It was a big year, in a quiet way. I liked it. It was a good, big, quiet year.
That is, if it actually even happened.