This intersection of old and new naturally invites reflection. We look back on the changes we experienced during the year and look forward to new changes with anticipation. December usually finds me in a poignant state of mind as I think back on what the year has brought and ahead to what the future might hold.
At the beginning of 2011 I knew there were two milestones my family would experience: Little Miss getting baptized and Teeny Bopper's getting her driving permit. Of course my wife and I would celebrate another year of married life together, and each of us would get a year older during this time. Other than that, I didn't know what 2011 would hold. The possibility of losing a close family member each year is always there, but 2011 took two members of the family I was not expecting. One in an instant and another in a short but intense span of 35 days. Both losses were keenly felt, and both taught me about forgiveness, personal growth, faithfulness, enduring to the end, and priorities. I am grateful that a kind Heavenly Father provides comfort, growth and understanding in all of life's experiences - including the most difficult ones.
Although there is still a month to go before 2011 is "in the can" and, obviously, there are still experiences to be had this year, I am already looking forward to 2012. My oldest daughter will be turning 16, become a Laurel at Church and a Junior in High School and begin dating (oh the horror!). My second daughter will start High School and become a Mia Maid at Church. My third daughter will turn 12, become a Beehive in the Young Women's program, go to the Temple for the first time to do baptisms and start Junior High. Daughter number 4 doesn't have any major milestones this year, but she will be starting a new year in school and will be attending a new school. Dr. Destructo will start Kindergarten and Tailgunner will be an only child for each day of the week. I will hit a couple of anniversaries that are significant over the course of the year - 20 years since I went on my mission, 18 since I returned and 18 years of marriage. Where did that time go?
That is what I know about 2012 - what I don't know is what will make it an adventure. Just like all of the years before it.