The first big change was that our all-grown-up eldest daughter moved out. She is now living in a flat (apartment) in a large town nearby, working hard at her job, and loving her independence. Soon after that M left the small company of which he was a co-founder and director, deciding that it had reached the end of its natural life. He is now semi-retired and doing freelance work part-time from home which, slightly to his surprise, he loves. He is very much happier and more relaxed, and feeling very positive about the future. Middle daughter took her AS exams, got the results she was hoping for, and has been going through the university application process. She has decided to study Italian and linguistics at one of the big northern universities, but under the (highly stressful!) UK system the place she has been offered is dependent on achieving specific grades in the A2 exams she will take in June. She won't know the results until mid-August, leaving very little time to organise a Plan B if she doesn't get what she is aiming for. Meanwhile smallest daughter moved up to middle school in September - our county has an odd system where kids go to middle school from age 9 to 13 - and has settled in very happily.
While all this was going on I was dealing with extended family practical issues, including what turned into the on / off / on again / off again house sale from hell. Finally - and I still can't quite let myself believe it! - the house is under contract and will be gone in January, which will remove a major source of stress. I will also be reducing my working hours in the New Year. From January I will be working four days a week, then going down to just two days in April. I love what I do but really need to be doing less of it. I am also helping M with certain aspects of his freelance work, and have often ended up working 5 1/2 or 6 days a week, which is definitely not sustainable in the longer term. I have had no margin for too long - barely able to fit everything in, and finding it hard to leave work stresses behind at the end of the day. I am so very much looking forward to having more time and more head space. Writing is among the many things I now hope to have time to do, both here and elsewhere. Watch this space!