Let’s be honest. 2012 was a rough year. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc, the election got ugly, and Sandy Hook was a nightmare. It’s not hard to dwell on the worst. But we belong to a unique cadre of humans: We’re parents. We don’t have time to sulk.
Raising kids is, essentially, an act of faith—an exercise in hopefulness. Parents are marked by an enduring optimism that let’s us see bright sides and silver linings. And while 2012 was hard, it had its moments. I got flash-mobbed on my birthday. My son got his learner’s permit. My little girl learned to read. All in all, not too shabby.
And there were plenty of folks who served as bright spots throughout the year. Take a look at the people who made my 20121.
Gabby Douglas: Remember how awesome and inspiring the Olympics were this year! Seriously, who can forget that adorable Gabby Douglas was the first African American gymnast to win a gold medal in the individual all-around event. She was a joy to watch in her shimmering Swarovski crystal-studded leotard. As a matter of fact my daughter did sign up to take gymnastics this year.
Will & Kate: We found out they’re expecting a baby! Bless their beautiful, royal hearts. And because of constitutional changes to remove male preference in succession rules, Will and Kate’s wee one can succeed to the throne whether it’s a boy or a girl. This is a coup for royal fans, baby lovers and feminists everywhere. Tell your sons, tell your daughters—This is happy news.
Stephen Colbert: What can I say, he makes my year every year. But the role he plays? (Is it satire? Is it hyerbole? Is it earnest commentary on the state of affairs in contemporary American politics? No one knows.) I think everyone learned about Super PACS from Stephen Colbert this year. Thanks, man.
Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor worked shoulder to shoulder with President Obama in a genuinely bipartisan show of support for victims of Hurricane Sandy. I thought that was super cool.
Taylor Swift: She’s talented, beautiful, and successful. But on top of all that, this year she’s the youngest person to ever receive the Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for her charity work. The 23-year-old also donated $4 million to the Country Hall of Fame Museum. Plus, I love it when she sticks it to John Mayer.
Bobak Ferdowsi: Also known as the NASA mohawk guy, he simultaneously teared up and looked cool when NASA’s Curiosity rover landed safely on Mars. And just like that, renewed interest in the space program skyrocketed. Of course we want to be astronauts when we grow up! What else is there?
Peter Jackson: There will always be naysayers, but Peter Jackson takes beloved books and makes beloved movies out of them. My kids have seen all of the Lord of the Rings movies and we just watched The Hobbit together. Thanks, Peter Jackson, for giving my family something to talk about and love and watch together.
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey: They’re great and their shows, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, have been the funniest stuff on TV for years. They’ve each got 2 kids and they’re making it work. I can’t wait to see them co host the Golden Globes in January. Good for them.
Michelle Obama: She’s a mom, she’s an activist, she’s a wife, she’s a First Lady, she’s an all-around class act.
My Family: Because without them, what’s the point?
Who did I leave out? Who inspired/impressed/cheered you up this year?