Think about a major milestone that happened with your family in 2009. How has this affected you?

My Father attempted suicide. It opened a window for me to see that such a well-guarded vulnerability had a genetic component for his children as well.

We moved across the country again. New home, new job, new community, and a chance to reinvent ourselves and try new things. It's scary but incredibly exciting.

My dad retired after 37 years of being a professor. He made his decision before the recession hit and they wouldn't let him go back. Now he's working a lame part-time job, and it's hard for me to see him doing this, but he seems ok about it. I can't help but wonder if he regrets it.

My family is so composed of different mothers and fathers that it is wonderful that for the most part we all get along and try to keep it aq family. A milestone is accepting all of it and being accepted yourself. No one is perfect.

My father lost his job in December & because he's 56 years old, no one wants to hire him. It's distressing to see this ageism hurt his self-image & to see my mother work so hard to pay off the mortgage & the bills. And I'm living in England, sometimes asking for money when unexpected expenses arise, which makes me feel awful for putting an extra strain on them.

The birth of my nephew was our family's biggest milestone. I've been more involved with his infancy than I was with my other nieces and nephews, even though I live far away. His affection, even though it's rare, has the power to break me of my hardened heart.

My brother graduated college and set the bar very high for me to hopefully follow suit and graduate as well. He is no living independently and pays for himself. I have been affected by this by having feelings of hope and excitement to be able to do this one day.

My dad finally married Karen. I didn't think anything would change -- weren't they just getting married for the party and the tax status? I quickly realized that I was wrong -- that this was a "blended family" with new, blended family politics. Going up to Karen's parents' house, because they are now, technically, my grandparents, was odd. They aren't my grandparents -- they're just kind elderly people. It will be weird to have them at daniel's graduation. i know daniel has a much closer relationship with them... but still. What a moment when they suggested that the Gomez family should be as close to me as the barocas family. what a grossly false comparison, but also, what a telling suggestion. they think that i should feel as close to the gomez family as i do to the barocas clan. i dont know that that's possible at this stage of my life -- maybe if i do wind up back in the valley at pierce this summer -- but really, how else could that be possible? the critical window of time where my life is controlled by my parents choosing where and with whom is over, and sleepover at adella's seems somewhat unlikely. i am interested to see how their marriage does or does not change the way big (and small!) family events of the future are navigated. in my eyes, karen remains on the level of al -- life partner of my parent. but a part of me thinks that karen sees her and my dad's relationship as more "recognized" such that i need to accomodate them in a special way. but maybe not. the whole fact she wrote me an email saying "i wont post comments on your blog out of consideration of your mom" makes me wonder.

Me deciding not to no longer care whether or not my dad wants to get in touch with me. Finally have come to the realisation that it's his choice on what relationship we have and regardless of what that is I shouldn't feel as though it's a reflection on me.

The kids got Older this year. That doesn't sound like a particular milestone but note the capital "O" :) They (at 9 and 7) passed over into actual little people this year--active parts of the family with interests and abilities. It makes me realize in the future we can (and should) travel, explore MI and push the boundaries of what we usually do in our free time in 5770.

my grandmother died on august 31, after years of descent into dementia. this gave me relief, more than anything else. it also gave me the chance to view the dynamics of my family with a more objective point of view than i've possibly ever been able to see before.

My children's birthday's 29, 25 and 19........... on one level, scares me, having to confront my aging the major milestone in the family this past year was the death of my dog yogi I still grieve in my heart I had to put him down the day that I did was a rainy damp day as if the heavens were crying It all happened so fast He was at peace in moments My friend Friede said Yogi knew it was to be when we arrived at the Vet who months before diagnosed him with an incurable affliction Yet still , while I knew I had to put him down, I wished he would have died naturally and without suffering But it was evident he was suffering and I took solace in that the Vet told me I brought him in at the right time

I watched the birth of my second grandson. This solidified that my children are actually grown and having families of their own. Watching the birth was an amazing event, and showed me how strong my daughter is. My son became engaged this year, and their plan is to have children soon after they are married in 2010. So I see the continuity of my family.

My sister was in a relationship with a person that my parents did not accept. It was very hard to see them discussing. And I was in the middle of the problem because I had had somethng similar some years before too. I didn´t want her to be hurt. Finally, my sister couldn´t handle the pressure and broke up with the guy. She suffered a lot and I was by her side. I understood my parents´ point of view, but I didn´t accept it.

i turned 50. it's spooky to even write that number. a person doesn't really believe that they, themselves, will get old. psychologically it's been difficult. i cut off my waist-length dreadlocks i'd had for 25 years to forge a new identity. after 4 painful years, i recognized that i could not reconcile with a past love. that even though i love him still, i do not like or respect certain values and beliefs he holds and i could not be happy with him. and that i need to make my life fuller in the present.

i guess the death of my best friend (from childhood)'s father. it really hit me much harder than i could have ever anticipated. i always have known how much her mother had meant to me and how important her role was in my growing up. her dad had seemed to play a smaller role but yet, hearing that he had passed really brought up such profound sadness.

Because of the economic situation, both my sons (in their 20s) moved back home at the same time. The grocery bills were enormous but the time to reconnect as a family was well worth it. What a pleasure to talk to my sons as adults - and not worry about curfews! They have since found new jobs and moved out on their own but the bond that was created out of an adverse situation will hopefully last a lifetime.

can't really think of anything. not that i think nothing happened, but, maybe i'm not involved enough?

Grandma became demented and was taken into the nursing home. It made me wonder about my obligation towards her. How much do I need to visit her if she can't remember that I was ever there? Am I doing it for her, or am I doing it for me? Do I want to have kids now because I'm afraid no one will take care of me when I'm old and sick?

My sister's separation/divorce has been a pretty large event in the lives of my family and our close friends. It has actually made me think twice about my own relationship and where I want it to go, and has also allowed my family to come together to rally support for my sister, and to discover the most important bonds of all: family.

The birth of my son...It has changed my world.

I removed my father from my life completely totally and indefinitely. I continue to feel guilt and doubt, but but it gets easier every day.

I moved from CA to CO. I love it here, I don't miss CA...... I wish I could get a job doing what I want. At the same time, I found the most amazing person. Both our lives are so complicated...

My father sold his company and took a new job. He finally admitted failure. I was so proud of him.

My Aunt Janet died and it really brought our family on my mom's side together in such an amazing way. We were never close growing up and I have rarely spoken to any of them in years. I never felt connected to them in any way except through my mom. I realized at her memorial what amazing people I have in my family! It gave me a sense of community and continuity I did not even know was missing. Another Aunt, my Aunt Donna, died a few months later on the other side of the family. I loved her dearly yet also had not spoken to her in years. I will hold my friends and family dear to me! Life is short and precious!

My father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). My husband and I moved back to the east coast from Oakland to be closer to him, but I still feel like we don't see him enough.

My sister got married, and so now I have a brother. I love my whole addition to our family, including his family.

My niece Penelope was born. She made me realize what is realy important.

my divorce. I lost my family. Not just my husband, but my stepdaughter, sister in law, a niece, parents in law and countless cousins, aunts and uncles.

I reconciled with my brother, with whom I'd had a rift. It was at my nephew's wedding. Later on that year, I fell deeply in love. I think my open heart was visible to my beloved.

My brother started college this year. This has made me see him as an actual person, not just a little kid. I'm really proud of the way he handled the whole process. He knows what he wants, and he's going for it. This also means that my parents are empty nesters, which makes it easier to see them as actual people as well, not just parents.

My twin brother and I both got married. Although our lives had been heading in different directions beforehand, our marriages really drove home the fact that we've grown up and that our family dynamics have shifted significantly. Although we're all still close (my parents, my siblings, and I), we all have our own lives now and we're creating our own, other families. It was a little bit sad to realize this.

Today is my cousin Jacob's memorial service. His death has rocked our family and I hope that we will get through it, I hope Uncle Zack gets through it, and I hope we all can move forward. You will always be remembered Jake, and I hope that you are in a better place and are at peace.

In 2008 we bought our first home. It is wonderful to have space for the girls and to have room in our backyard. However, it has also distanced us from friends and our synagogue on the west side of Los Angeles. We will need to figure out a situation regarding hebrew school in the next year...

My divorced parents became friends again

My nephew was born in January. Rachel has been working less, so we've been able to spend more time together.

My sister acknowledged that she was an alcoholic and it made me realize that her struggles with alcohol and drugs had been going on for many years. I live in Califoronia and she lives in NY, so I don't see her often. but when we get together, it has always been a battle between the two of us. Having her acknowledge, publicly, that she had a problem, made me aware of some of the causes of our problems and hopefully our interpersonal relationship can improve. It seems to have, so far. Some problems are so embedded in our relationship that they may be beyond healing. But we are trying and it feels good to finally have a sister again.

More than ever, the family is broken apart from what we once were. Mostly this is just aging - for the first time my grandmother was too infirm to preside over the family Thanksgiving, the last of the grandchildren moved away, but then one moved back, the first great-grandchild was born... It's been difficult to think that the extended family of holidays is lost, but also it's great to see a lot of the traditions and food stay, and at least to have the phone calls linking everyone. I've never been the one to leave before and as I start this new year alone it's comforting to think that there's still a group together, just a phone call away.

Nothing offhand

I moved to New York City from California, my parent's empty nest became more empty. Felt guilty of it as I am the only child. But I had to do what I had to do.

Well, I'm going to answer this question as if it reads "...with your family in 5769." So, this is a milestone that only two people in my family even know about...myself and my sister. I haven't talked to my sister in over a decade (and neither has the rest of my family). I think opening up the door to communication, and taking that "risk" in the first place, has made me feel more empowered and independent...and also it felt nice to talk to my sister again and to hear that she is doing well. Having had opened the door to communication with my sister has resulted in a desire within myself to reflect upon my family and my childhood.

I got married. It's changed my life in many ways. No longer am I the only one making fnancial decisions. No longer am I "out there hunting and gathering ". No longer am I able to potentially do anything o like. Bot the reality is that I don't miss making all the financial decisions or hunting gathering or doing whatever u want. Having another person to look out for and answer togas not restricted my life as much as or has deepened mg life and made it mire meaningful and connected. I no longer feel lonely. I spend less tine thinking about what I'mgoing ro do or 'should do' at nite and spend mire time just being myself.

This year I found out that the man who I thought my father my whole life was not my father. My mother had been whoring herself out to pay for her meth habit. My real father was a one legged trucker named Leon. He lives in a trailer park outside of Las Vegas. I plan on driving out there to meet him and work things out. The man who raised won't even talk to me. I think he is somewhere in New England. God only knows.

No major milestones in 2008. No divorces, marriages, deaths, changes, losses, health problems, vacations, retirements.... and not that I want any of these, but it is this very thing that has started me thinking that I really need to take charge of my life, get out of the retirement rut and DO SOMETHING. But I cannot think outside the box I am in - what can I change/do/create/modify/etc. given my very real limitations?

My grandmother died. She was born in Berlin and escaped the holocaust. She also was married 7 times. It made me more interested in my family's history in Germany, now that there are no more of them left.

A major milestone in my family was when we decided to move further away from family. Although it is in the same state, it caused some bad feelings because others had moved to be close to us. It has affected me in both positive and negative ways. On the positive it has helped me to focus on my own goals and to take care of myself. Also, we are now in a community that embraces gay couples. On the negative, some family members are not thrilled about this change and harbor resentment. In retrospect, I was one that created dependency and I have learned to analyze other relationships to try not to create that anymore.

My mom took my stepdad to my wedding and actually sat next to him. My dad is supposed to pay her money after the divorce since he never wanted her to work, so she's made us lie about my 'stepdad', who is really just her long-time boyfriend. She had tried to make me postpone the wedding so that she didn't have to face this issue, which made me so angry at her since she was putting her fears above my own marriage! But I told her I was getting married and she would just have to figure it out. She even tried to tell me my father, who paid for a 1/3 of the wedding, was not allowed to come!!! But finally, on the day of the wedding, she and my stepdad sat next to each other during the ceremony, had a room together, ate together... it was AMAZING to see it. My mom had just fought me so hard on that issue, and I don't know if she just didn't care what my dad thought or what, but I was happy to see her so strong. I even got to dance with both dads! It was wonderful!

My mother's brother remarried soon after his wife's death, and his children, my cousins, were divided about the new woman - who seemed lovely to me, and brought a warm family of her own. I traveled to the wedding in part because it would be the last chance to see all my remaining aunts and uncles on my mother's side gathered together for a happy occasion. I was right. Shortly after that, another one of them died.

My two cousins, who are brothers, got married this year. It is so exciting knowing that 4 people are starting a life together that will be full of happiness,blessings, and love. I couldn't be more excited for them and their spouses and all that we as a family have been blessed with.

Our son and his family continued living outside the country and may be there indefinitely. I was upset with myself that I took it so hard and failed to adjust the way other parents and grandparents do so gracefully.

We got our first dog. She brought my mother and me together, and tore my mother and brother apart. However, I think it has really bonded my parents, even though my father claims to dislike the dog.

I turned 84. I am feeling more and more as if I live in a different world from my younger friends in their 60s and 70s. I have lost a lot of physical and mental abilities. I feel like I have to find a new, satisfying life style that will center on the abilities I HAVE, not keep mourning those I have lost.

When my husband lost his job and we were struggling with what he wanted to do next. It was important to figure out how we'd "make it" for a few months without his income and then to realize that the most important priorities in life still need to be family, friends and health. With faith, hard work, and balanced priorities, you can get through even tough times like this.

Our eldest son had been attending boarding school for two years. he desperately wanted to return home and we agreed to let him. The atmosphere of our home changed considerably and, not for the better. There was a lot of anxiety about school. His academic performance was very poor but, to him, the only thing that mattered was the social scene. He made friends with other boys who got into trouble and now has had his first run-in with the law. It has continued to affect me in that I worry about his future and his ongoing impact on the family. Now he has started high school and if this year is like last year, we will have no choice than to look into boarding schools again.

My grandmother died. It's taken me a long time to feel okay about it, since she was really my biggest fan in my life and we loved each other a lot. Unfortunately it marked the beginning of a rather tough year for my husband and I, resulting now in a divorce. Maybe it's all for the best?

My mom's brother suddenly came back into her life after many years of no contact. He had lung cancer. She told him to come live at home with her and my brother, and it was the happiest he'd ever been for the few weeks he was there. He died in her arms less than a month after he initially contacted her. Although she was distraught, I think she was happy to know she made all the difference in how he spent the last few weeks of his life.

my last aunt (for all intents and purposes) died. not only my last aunt, but the last member of my family I have any meaningful communication with. I feel like an orphan, too grown up, and so very, very sad.

Thankfully nothing bad happened within my immediate family, but my dad and grandma have now not been talking to each other for over a year. It shows me 1) how stubborn they both are and 2) that I want to never let my pride come between the people I love and me.

my brother moved to new york city to work for the yankees' business organization. i think it really threw my mom for a loop - he was always clearly her favorite. i learned you can escape the sink of family, if you want to. i'm plotting an escape to DC as we speak.

I can't think of any "milestones" of 2008, other than my moving back to Tucson after 15 years. That is affecting my parents, mostly, and especially my dad because he has one more kid in town to lean on for support regarding my mom's decline. I suppose that's some sort of milestone...and I guess it affects my sibs, since they now have two of us here with mom and dad. The other in-town sib and I are to be given power of medical attorney over our parents...which is remarkably creepy but necessary at this point. That will also affect everyone in the family.

My dad lost one of his only two remaining younger brothers. He had an older brother who died when he was in his late 30s, and a brother who died soon after childbirth. He'd also lost his wife, my mother, only a few years before. I see my father being aged and deeply saddened by all of these losses, but at the same time they have made him a softer, more compassionate person, and in some ways more open to life and its possibilities, even at the age of 76.

Wow, that would be quite a few. IN 5769! :) I got sick, got divorced, lost my full-time job, my son came to live with me, and he just got engaged. ALSO, I've been in conversion classes and in 5770 will go to the mikveh! So excited about that. But it's really been several years of converting, and I don't mean just ceremonially. So much has changed in my perspective, in my relationships, but also in my sense of self and God, in my comfort with life. I feel so at home with everything now. I have real faith that 5770 is going to be an incredible year.

Nieces & nephews graduating from high school & going on to college. Taking trips around the world. We are a family of adults now! And relating to one another in new ways.

My uncle began to lose his fight with prostate cancer. It's devastating my mom. It's been one other thing this year that has started impressing upon me: we're not immortal. There's only so much time, and it's damn well ticking for all of us. Now, what can I do with this new level of urgent understanding? Only a certain amount of "breaking free" and "living like there's no tomorrow" is possible, really- bills don't stop, old obligations don't disappear- but still, there ought to be something....

Meeting Jason and adding him to my family. I love him so much and I'm so happy at how excited everyone else is to have him in our family. I'm getting married in less than one week. Next Saturday. My life will be completely different. Through this relationship I've been made aware of my strengths and shortcomings and it's challenging me to stretch and grow as a person and to love someone so unconditionally. I'm the luckiest.

I got engaged this summer. It means that my partner and I are committed to building a life together. It makes me excited. I feel loved and feel like I'm part of a strong, giving, loving partnership. I feel anxious about this commitment. What if we change but our love doesn't change along with it? We want to have kids, and possibly relocate, but when do you decide to do these things and how do you balance location admist family? All these things will work themselves out, but it's funny that the act of formalizing our partnership through engagement and soon through marriage, opens up all these other things to think about (naturally).

My dad lost his job again. Somehow noone realizes that he's worth all the money everyone has. It's made me want to work harder so that someday I'll be able to give my parents the life that they deserve; a life without money woes.

My wife was pregnant, and in January of 2008 she miscarried. Our marriage fell apart over the course of the year. I wanted children so bad and now I can't have any, at least not with her. It makes me cry just to think about how close we were, and how we never recovered.

Becoming a mother Less time for myself, others and my husband. And has made me into a more patient, understanding,and confident women.

I realize every day that my grandma's time left is limited. The woman who helped raise me, my only surviving grandparent, may not be here next year. Yet, there is so much more I could do or say to be nicer to her. I don't know what I will do when she's gone.

Elisa, my daughter, moved out of my mom's house. She had moved in there at my mom's request to help her. But it was not a good arrangement. No discussion in advance about expectations. Now my mom has a young woman my daughter's age, Meghan, living there. This time my siblings and I insisted that a written contract be signed with expectations and so far it's going really well. I was so caught in the middle with both my daughter and my mother calling me to complain about each other.

My wife started earning more money than me for the first time in almost 20 years. Suddenly, I was not the main financial provider of our family and our standard of living went up. But, what really changed were the roles we fulfill. I continue to be self-employed, but since my wife is gone from 7:40am-5:00pm, I am now doing all of the housework. I don't mind it, and have actually learned that I love to cook. However, at times it feels very odd.

i realized i probably will never have a biological child - does that count?

We are a stronger family now then we ever were. We learned there is literally nothing that we can't overcome as a family.

Asa Robert Witte Parad was born on July 1. He is beautiful and we all love him. I know from others telling me that it has brought the family together much more during the summer months when usually people are doing their own thing and my dad of course is never around. It has also slowed Becky down, which is nice for me because I always felt this pressure from her (and Ben) to do more and it is wonderful to see her enjoying relaxing and being a mother. I also feel happy whenever I am with Asa. I can be in a bad mood and see him, and immediately forget whatever was bothering me. He has brought all of the family together in a warm way and has also marked part of the transition from the family being guided by the older generations to Ben and my generation.

My son went away to college and for the first time in 32 years I was without a child at home. I felt so sad and like I had lost something very precious to me... my roll as a mother. Those feeling were mixed in with the knowledge that his dad and I had done a great job in raising him and he was well prepared to head out on his own.

We had a baby after trying to get pregnant for four years. It's been overwhelmingly joyful and stressful at the same time and I'm still figuring out what it means to my sense of self.

My cousin, who is in his 40s, got married for the first time. He was alone for years and quite unhappy, and this was the culmination of his personal renewal. We all felt so happy for him, and it just showed how joy can spread through a family when it is needed most.

My husband found out that his job of many, many years will be ending. Our stability has been entirely based on that job. And he has not been able to find anything else. This has shaken me to the core, and left me very frightened and depressed. It has also, however, woken me up out of the dreamlike state I have been in when things were secure, and kicked me into action. Whether I can have any financial affect on the situation, I don't know. I suspect not. But I am drowning myself in work to keep from thinking. I pray that at this time next year, when I look at these answers, it will be from a place of happiness and security for both of us.

My sister decided to divorce her husband of 17years. She has 3 sons.She has been agonizing over making this decision for years and was holding off because of the boys. He is a bad father and has only worked a total of about4 years of their marriage, it was making her physically ill. Now that she has started the divorce process she seems like a new person. It makes me realize truthful communication with those you love is far more important in saving a relationship than worrying about saving face or hurt feelings

June 2008 marked the 3rd marriage in our family within less than a year. All of the siblings got married (including myself) and our family grew exponentially. Our 12 foot dining room table has become too small. These weddings have taught my my mother, father and step mother that they can be and enjoy themselves in the same environment. This realization has revolutionized our family dynamics.

Grandaughter went away to college and had difficult adjustment. Calling her once a week to discuss challenges hopefully did good for both of us.

Both my younger brothers have gotten into some trouble, dropped out of school, and are now living at home driving my parents insane. Honestly, it's made me feel removed from my family because I hear everything secondhand, belatedly.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was devastated and cried frequently. I realized that my parents are incredibly important to me, and also that they are human. We found friendship in each other, and I became closer to both of my parents than I had ever been before, this time as an equal. I also had to take care of my parents for the first time - I realized that they will grow old and die someday, and that it's my responsibility to take on the lessons they taught me and to live my life right.

My parents helped me buy my first house using the inheritance money we got from my mom's cousin who passed away in 2008. It was the big "letting go" moment for my parents. They realized that I am settling down in Georgia and do not have plans on moving back to Maryland. It was a big responsibility move for me and I think they see me as being more responsible.

my nephew had a bar mitzvah in israel and because i'm not married, i wasn't encouraged to come. in fact, i was outright told not to. told first that i'd feel weird because everyone on the trip was married...and then when i said i'd be fine with it, was told that they would feel weird having me along, while i was single. awful. how did it affect me? made me very sad. and yet, in our family dynamic, was not an unfamiliar feeling..

After years of infertility, we finally had another child..watching our older child play with our new baby is a pleasure that is so deep and beautiful. The way that this has affected me personally is that I am savoring parenthood in this whole new way. our family feels full and full of love. she is a gift of life and love ...

My older brother got engaged in February. It was so exciting and we are all genuinely thrilled for him. But as he and his fiance have moved through the planning process, it's made me think a lot about what I want out of my life - my family, my friends, my relationships. They are having a very small wedding and not inviting their friends, which is disappointing for me - your wedding is a time to celebrate with your loved ones, and I certainly hope to do that at my own wedding. The fiance is really shy, which is a funny counter-balance to my very gregarious brother, but it's been fun 'warming her up' into our crazy family. In the end, I'm looking forward to the wedding and to welcoming a new member into our family!

I'm assuming they mean 2009? Maybe not! The biggest milestone in my family was me getting a job after being out of work for a year. Being out of work definitely made me separate from my family a bit. Looking forward to getting back to normal.

My mom had surgery to remove a brain tumor in March 2008 and it went very successfully. We all are thrilled that mom has regained her balance and her good health has returned. It made us all feel very grateful

in december 2007, i had to have emergency surgery. i live alone in nyc, while the rest of my family is in southern california. i hadn't been very close with my mother prior to this event. she got on a flight that day and stayed in nyc while i was in the hospital and then after my release. though we did get on each other's nerves and bicker a bit, i realized how much she sacrificed, dropping her job and her husband to be with me when i needed help. i gained a new appreciation and love for my mother after that.

Lots of stuff happened, both good and bad. I lived, I learned, I moved on with my life. I focus on the now and the future, I don't dwell on the past.

A major milestone that happened with my family in 2008 was that it acquired a new member ... I truly feel that Stephen is a part of my family now, and that I am a part of his :) This started happening when we moved in together in August 2008. Although we spent Thanksgiving separately that November and each had a great time with our individual families, the holiday felt incomplete without him there. This helped me realize that Stephen was now a part of my family, and that we should be together at all special events.

My youngest daughter turned 40 and she started on a program for becoming an administrator in the public schools. Her divorce is now final and she's single and living on her own. My husband finished radiation for cancer, now we watch and wait. I had my 50th high school reunion and still can't believe i recognized most people~ How has this all affected me? I see that no matter what , life and living it, goes on.

my grandma passing away, she was a major rock in my lfie and it was hard to lose someone who was such a a stronf amazing invluence

The only milestone, a natural (good) progression, was our first grandson starting college. Of course, I'm happy for him and proud of his academic achievements but I was also concerned when I saw him coming home every weekend. (The campus is 45 minutes away.) That first year, until June, '09, he was texting...in constant contact with his parents and friends who were still in high school. I couldn't do anything except watch, wait and hope for a sign of change. It happened in June when, for all intents and purposes, he was out of reach. He got a job as a camp counselor for the summer where cell towers and wi-fi are not part of the landscape. I saw him recently and can say he's the happiest I've seen him in years! I'm not worried about him anymore.

My sister tried to commit suicide like my father. It shows that because of my parents divorce when I was 9 really had an impact on my entire family, regardless of who shows it or not. Some of us are stronger than others and others are still hurting. I love my family and I love life too much to not be here on earth. I love God too and I would never want to let him down showing that I could not survive here on earth. No matter what happens, I will always be there for my family even if we are not getting along that day.

My parents were divorced 15 years ago, and this year my mother finally met a wonderful new partner. It made me realize how important love is, and how difficult it is to always have to face life on your own.

It sounds small, but my mom got a therapist. It has helped her to want to be honest, to be seeking and striving toward a higher path. It has really trickled down and made it so that a history of all us of us colluding to create a pretend world to keep her safe from self-awareness has gotten to slowly fall away.

My husband got a new job and I think that's awesome and I was and am very excited for him. But I realized just the other day that I am also afraid. First of course I'm afraid of him being in a big city. Then there there is the train and the tracks and falling to his death and of course the fear of criminals and such. Yes, I worry a lot. But I also just realized that going from working overnight by himself to working during the day in a large office means there are actual gay men and women there and the reality is, that means competition for me. It's an odd thing to worry about, but for a boy like him, who never knows why he loves you and never ever stops himself from giving in to any temptations and has no control over his own actions or emotions in regards to other people's feelings, well. Well it makes me sad that he's leaving the sheltered environment. On the other hand, when I was younger and passionate about love, I said I would always rather know the Truth than live a lie. So I would rather have this test and know that he loved me truly than to keep things contained and safe and never have him choose me. I am older now, and though I am not as certain of the outcome anymore, I do choose truth, come what may.

Over the course of 2007-09 I have lost my house and pretty much everything else. I only have my horses and dogs. My parents have taken over the ownership of my house In the process, they have contacted "experts" (lawyers, realtors and bankers) to make decisions for them. Instead of communicating with me, they had a lawyer write me and tell me that they were going to take my horses, along with my house and sell them. Due to my reaction to this, my siblings have stopped talking to me. My parents and I have come to a somewhat acceptable space, but I have realized how money and fear of its loss can have a tremendous affect on people. I have lost trust in my parents on many levels. I have also realized how little my family knows me.

My wife fell backwards down an escalator and suffered a major brain injury. Fortunately she was unconscious and Memphis airport authorities transported her to the Med Center, one of the region's best trauma centers. It happened so late in the afternoon, I couldn't get a flight from Atlanta to Memphis until the next day. It was completely terrifying. At first, it seemed she had lost the ability to communicate; and, base, selfish hog that I am, I was consumed with the notion that the remainder of our lives would be spent in a ghastly silence. I do not have much of the Florence Nightengale spirit about me. However, my wife has made an incredible recovery. The transforming experience for me were the associations with other families whose loved ones were in the trauma center. People there behaved with grace and elegance amid such unimaginal misfortune, I was humbled and shamed by my own lack of character and substance. They awakened within me a strong desire to become a better human being. Time will tell if that will come to pass; but whatever, I can't not contemplate these fine people without weeping for their heroic faiths in a god I have not met.

My parents found out about my struggles with depression for the 4 years prior, and realized their hand in it. This was bad in a way, since they're always asking about my mental health, but it was also good because they realized how their dysfunctional relationship affected me, giving me anxiety and making it hard to relate to/trust people. I also left for law school, essentially confirming that I will not be moving back to my hometown for a long time.

There were a couple of homecomings for my family this year. My brother returned home safely from Iraq after having been there for 15 months. He also completed his time with the Army and is home now. He has PTSD now and can't sleep sometimes. He isn't getting the treatment he needs through Veteran's services. My father's sister just got out of prison after being incarcerated for 11 years. This has caused a lot of stress on my family because my aunt is completely helpless at times because she was locked up for so long. She calls my parents non-stop for things and she doesn't know how to function yet in society. Both of these incidents have created stress on the family. I am concerned for my brother's mental well-being and I am worried about the stress factor that my aunt is putting on my parents with her neediness. I sometimes want to just shake my aunt and tell her to "CALM DOWN!"

My sister, 16, finally showed me she'd been listening all these years. We walked around, talked about the future, her plans, her hopes, her (new) goals. We held hands in chinatown and I told her she'd grown so much, and meant it. Take her out to some food at to our favorite dim sum place was all I could do just to keep tears from welling up. Being her big brother has been important to me since the day she was born, and I've often felt my attempts to enlighten her as to the vastness and possibility the world held for her fell on deaf ears; My hand outstretched unseen. The things she said proved to me she'd been aware. Slowly collecting her courage and silently forming ideas. She's moved cities now and is in a school she likes. Things are looking up for her and I had something to do with that. She took my hand.

The biggest milestone was my parents 40th anniversary. While it was a happy occasion it made me a little sad, it reminded me of their mortality.

My grandma turned 90. I got to take a look back at her life thru pictures. She had a great young married life and appeared very happy. After my grandpa died she has not gotten out and volunteered/worked. She's been social and traveled, but I feel she has missed a lot. I always want to remain active, take risks. I think there was an unwritten rule against her ever taking a part-time job. I wish she had been more active in the community over the past 20 years.

Seriously?!? More than any year I can recall in decades, this past year's events have had profound significance for me and my family. Mimi and Poppa’s move from their home of 50+ years was difficult for everyone, and on top of handling with all their physical stuff we each had various degrees of emotional/psychological (sometimes lifelong) angst, dramas, misunderstandings, longings and unfulfilled dreams, resentments and fears that lurked in the shadows of the place. Some of it was really about the folks and their home, but other parts of it was just symbolic. Either way, we all had the opportunity to face down the trial with love and finally let go. That was the most major family event ON THE SURFACE, but not necessarily the biggest overall. In the meantime there were decisions about having children after all; forgiving family members after decades of not speaking; coping with the insecurities of our time; building bridges in close but weakened relationships; taking on life square on from a more adult stance... Not a single loved one has gone unchallenged this year; everyone has grown as a result. As the matriarch I feel it all. This has been a year of reconciliation, from start to finish.

my parents 'broke up' with their friends of over 30 years. at first they didn't know what to do with themselves, and we were seeing a lot more of them -- to a fault, but they've begun to find their way and are doing more interesting things and meeting a lot of new people for the first time.

For the majority of this year, I was over seas, and spent a lot of time away from my family. I realized how important they are to me and how incredibly lucky I am that we are all so sportive of one another - if we need something we are always there for one another, even if we don't speak as often as I might like. In the beginning of the year my fathers wife and I had our first comfortable visit together -- she and I spent an afternoon in their house together, alone with out incident. When I returned to the US for a week in July she picked me up at the air port. My brother and my sister-in-law moved from Houston to Chicago, and are closer to the rest of my mothers family now. My cousin and her boyfriend moved in together and she has a part time teaching job now. Though there are moves, and life changes we are still always there, I don't think that will ever change -- and I'm so thankful. September 2008-September 2009 Eli and Elana moved to Chicago Erin got a teaching job and moved in with Jessie Jennifer and I had our first comfortable visit, alone, in DC Eli G lived at the farm

Sometime this past summer, I got the news that my youngest brother has terminal prostate cancer. At least that is what I believe is going on--my middle brother, who is my only source for information, does not give me the whole story or perhaps just embellishes versions of the truth. I am estranged from my youngest brother and am greatly conflicted about renewing a toxic relationship because he is dying. My mother does not seem to know about his condition. She is 87 and has been in declining health for a number of years now, and if he goes before her, it will hasten her end. I am happiest when I am not thinking about this blood family of mine and focusing on my family of choice, my friends, my partner.

It felt like the first year in a long time that the family did not face a major milestone. Or maybe there are just too many of us so only weddings and deaths seem like milestones now? Hmm

Major milestones. I can think of births, I can think of marriages and graduations. Because I'm so far away from my family now that any milestone that they share doesn't really affect me. I get phone calls at times when something big happens but aside from the phone call I can't say that any of it really touches my day to day life. I'm wracking my brain right now and even though I can think of some events I can't think of anything that has rocked the family boat or my boat really.

Kristopher was engaged to Samantha. Not sure that I am happy with his choice. However I will support him the best that I can under the circumstances

This past year we had our second child. She is so different than our first-delightful in entirely different ways. Seeing the differences between them has really helped me appreciate them as individuals. Our family is moving into a different era. This year has also seen the death of older relatives and a beloved pet, and as such, seems to be the end of our lives as young adults. I think I like this new phase of our lives.

After her husband died, my mom came to visit for the first time in 20 years. I was really looking fwd to it, but was also anxious. Mom has a hard time being fully present to the moment, sustaining deep conversations. It drove me crazy & I lost my temper. I was not kind. I realized I treat my friends better than I treated my own mother. I was consumed w/guilt & remorse for being such a bad daughter. I made a promise I would be the daughter my mom deserves to have. Now I try to call her once a week, so that we have a more continuous conversation. She is coming at Thanksgiving & I am grateful to have another chance to heal, for I did not like who I was last time.

My oldest daughter converted to Judism and married into a Jewish family. After I got over my feelings of abandonment and rejection ( of the religious chrisitan values I thought I had taught her) I am learning more about the Jewish faith and I love Roshashana and Yom Kippor. I think if the whole world could get on the same schedule of looking at forgiveness at the same time, there would be a lot of changes in our lives and our world.

Two good Democratic volunteers, my wife and I, split our lives over Hillary and Obama. We still live together but the rift is still very wide and I expect it will continue that way.

We went to Denver for the Democratic Convention - great to be there on the one hand, not such a good family trip on the other! We learned that we need to be really sensitive to each of our needs when we go somewhere.

My younger brother and his wife had their third child, Nora Rose in August. He's in Seattle. I'm in Boston. I miss being an uncle on a more regular basis and miss my nieces and nephew all the time.

My niece was born in June of 2008. I love her immensely, in ways I've never loved anyone else, and I am committed to being a major part of her life. As much and as fiercely as I love this child, her arrival has NOT made me want to have my own kids (despite what my parents might've hoped).

Reuniting with my brother and his family after an estrangement of some 20 years. A few things -- the way we got along and didn't -- were very similar. The differences -- his two sons playing HS football -- have helped us forge a complicated relationship we couldn't have had before. I like watching history playing out among brothers in our family far better this time than the last.

I had to let go of my super-hero image of my big brother, and hold him liable for his self-centered, hurtful behaviors. it has made me a stronger, more independent individual, and I don't feel so guilty and ashamed when I am around he and his family. However, it has also created a rift and distance in our relationship, and I don't feel as close with him as I did when I quietly allowed his unfair judgments.

My dad and I both quit smoking cigarets. I know its a smaller milestone but it is an accomplishment and I am proud of him and myself.

Zach started kindergarten, I closed my home business and started working out of the home again. Our family says goodbye in the morning and comes home in the evening after having experiences independantly. It is a very different day to day than we have been used to.

My son started high school and that made me realize I wasn't in high school myself which is helping me settle into middle age and accept my torso.

I got back together with my wife. I get to spend much more time with my kids. I get to tuck them in at night now. Calling them to say goodnight just wasn't the same.

I'm sure for the rest of my family my coming out was a major milestone. Or maybe not. Two of my mom's sisters got sick, with MS and Breast Cancer, we found out about Monica's breast cancer at my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. That was probably the biggest milestone.

I was divorced, following a very long and empty marriage. It took me many years to get the courage to go out on my own. My children were grown and had long ago moved away and I finally had the courage to be on my own! I have learned that living on my own is wonderful. I have a wonderful support group and am so glad to have finally moved on in my life! FINALLY! I have so much more to look forward to in my new life!

My grandmother passed away. Even though she had Alzheimer's Disease for so long and we were expecting it, it still affected us all. My father turned more religious and I realised that being so far away from family is not the way I want to live.

my mother, who has dementia, broke her hip and needed to be put in a full care facility. making the decision, along with my brother and sister, to put our mother (an auschwitz survivor) in a full-care facility (i cant't even say the words "nursing home") was the most emotionally challenging decision I've ever had to make. for my brother and i who had vowed we would never, ever under any circumstances allow my mother to end up this way, the decision eviscerated our sense of ourselves. It shredded our idea of the people we believed we were and the people we actually are. at some point we realized that all of the emotion we felt was really about us not about what was best for my mother but how it made US feel. my mother is doing great. she's much, much more social than she was when she lived at home and we feel she's safe and well looked after. my brother and sister who live close by visit multiple times a day, every day. i think the decision was the right one but it forever changed all of us.

We took our first trip to Israel. It was an "all Israel" tour followed by 3 additional weeks in an apartment in Tel Aviv. It completely changed the way we view Israel as a country. We always thought of Israel as the biblical land of milk and Honey. Now we see it as a modern nation with a vitality and exuberance that we don't see here in the States.

see question 1.

My grandmother passed away - my last grandparent. My mum had spent the last few years caring for her and did it for love and because she wanted to - not because she felt she had to. We all miss her a lot but it is nice to see my mum able to travel the world a bit.

My father's cancer returned in April 2008. I returned home multiple times as daughter as well as medical translator. As a physician, my parents and brother looked to me for answers. I struggled with how much to tell them. Do I tell my dad whose fear of death outlined his life? I knew too much. But if any good was to come out of it, it was that my brother, who rarely spoke to the family, came back to us. We have no extended family. Reopening my relationship with my brother is priceless.

The birth of our daughter has changed my definition of family. I have my own nuclear family with my husband and our daughter. Though I love my parents as much as I ever have, they are not my primary family anymore. This has been a difficult change in many ways, one that has tested the love and affection I feel toward my husband. The stress of each day's work and responsibilities is incredibly distracting. Again, I want 2009 and 2010 to be about looking forward with optimism and energy, positivity and calm.

My dad's girlfriend died of cancer last fall around Thanksgiving. My dad was very somber for a long while, but then he learned to move on and not dwell unhealthily. I have learned to appreciate my dad in different ways--he is more emotional and sensitive than I knew before. I probably love my dad more now than ever.

2008 was a massive year for changes/milestones in our family- we have not finished processing these events yet. My wife got her first career position, I closed my business to move across country with her, I moved away from my family for the first time in 25 years, we bought our first house... and after years and years of trying, eventually giving up, my brother and sister in law had a baby. It has provoked so many emotions for all of us in the family, especially between my wife and I as we will have difficulties conceiving. I find myself very judgmental about how my nephew is being raised and his parents' response to his care. It is particularly difficult now that I live 3000 miles away as I feel as tho I cannot give enough support, while at the same time relieved that I don't have to facilitate a solution for my family.

I think my family is stable and growing. We all are on the good path of health and self awareness, not on the same level of earning or prosperity. My family is a family of one, my other members are in the East Coast. I reach out more easily to them, and find that though disappointed that they don't respond, often, I still love them, and try to get them to respond.

Thank G-d, there has been nothing notable that has happened. My sister, mom and I were all in Israel at the same time, and that was nice. :)

MILESTONE? You mean BOULDERS. My twin daughters graduated from Butler and Brown Universities in May. I went back to college and got my degree in psych. I graduated Summa cum laude and ended up in The National Honors Society; Psi Chi; Pi Gamma Mu; and on the Dean's list, 3 days after my girls graduated. My mom wanted to live long enough to see my girls graduate from HS. She saw all 3 of us graduate from college. 2 weeks later she had a heart attack and died. 2 weeks after I buried her, my daughter's moved out of the house to start their young lives. I took a hammer and began smashing the walls in my house. I gutted 1/4 of it and called an architect. He designed a dream cottage for me. Construction began in Feb. 2009. How has this affected me? Fear of failure/Sense of accomplishment/Triumph/ Empowered/Liberated/On a quest to find the pre-babies me!

Both of my parents going into assisted living in the last year. It has caused me to thin more about aging, about being a good son, and about duty and respect. Also being mindful of the toll being a caregiver can take over time. And how it's most important to take care of yourself. It's also in some ways brought me closer to my siblings and to my father who so appreciates what we do for him.

My younger sister found out she was pregnant for the 2nd time. I'm 40, I just got married, and I don't have kids. I'm allowing myself to let go of the pressure that I should be having kids because that's what everyone does, and some days that feels really freeing, but other days it feels wrong, and I think I want a family. Lots of people tell me I'd be a great mom, but I have some deep doubts about being responsible for guiding another life. Ultimately, I believe that if I truly wanted kids, I would have known it in my heart for a long time already.

Grandma died at the age of 101. We knew her all of lives, so while she lived a good, long life, we will miss her very very much.

My younger brother got married. It was wonderful - really love our new sister-in-law... also felt like it took some "when are YOU going to get married?" pressure off of me. :)

In 2008, my Dad's father passed away. While I don't feel that this has directly impacted me in a very apparent way - having the last grand parent in the family pass away does make me think a lot about growth, life, and how I related to my family. For example - as I grow I am realizing what traits I have that were similar to my grandparents. It would have helped to get to know them in my older years, as I think this would have helped me discover more about my own personal identity. But just thinking about this, and trying to learn more about them from my parents - helps me to go through life wtih a better understanding who I am as I relate to my family.

Our first year of marriage (we married in late 2007). It's made my life happier, more frustrating, different and deeper. After a lifetime of "me," I got used to thinking "us."

My brother got married! It made our family grow with joy! It's wonderful to celebrate and to see two people who really love each other make things work.

I can't think of anything for 2008. My sister went through knee replacement surgery on both her knees, actually in 2009. This is a procedure I am contemplating. I am waiting to see how she feels in a year's time. Hopefully, by the time I need the surgery, it will be an easier and better procedure.

My little brother got engaged. I think he's too young and I feel like if he does this he's going to feel like he's missing out on a lot of life and fun because he chose to settle down so early. Its hard for me because I'm older and have high standards about who I date which results in fewer dates haha. I don't mind but its making me second guess myself a little. Also, she's so incredibly timid and its hard for me to make an effort to get to know her because I just don't know what to talk about. I'm so protective of my brother that that barrier prevents me from making an effort to know my new sister in law to be.

The one thing that's really changed is that I've been, for the past few months now, communicating daily with my mom (through texting, no less!) I've finally decided that I need to let go of my past anger and resentments in favor of a relationship and the support that goes with it. Things aren't perfect, and there are still subjects I just don't bring up. But being able to share the minute details of one's life on a daily basis can be really powerful.

My former husband fell suddenly ill in December 2008. He was diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer. For a long time he seemed to be at death's door. Our children set aside their normal lives and rushed to care for him, sleeping by the hospital bed at his home, administering morphine day and night, for months. Blessedly, thanks to a skilled surgeon, my former spouse has recovered. He's driving himself around, tube-free, eating almost normally. For nine months my daughter stayed at my home, off and on, for respite from the 24-hour care. It brought us closer and allowed me to let go of some old patterns and old neuroses around being her mother. I came to see the depth and power of both kids' love and commitment to their father. I was so proud of them. They really stepped up to the plate. They performed a true mitzvah.

My Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer last christmas. She is now a long way towards recovery, it has brought us closer as a family, and also deepend my faith. But on the other hand reminded me that our parents aren't with us forever.

I got married, I feel this will be the theme for all questions this year. I am pretty sure my wedding was the biggest event in my parents life since I was born, yes they love me, I am number one , but not for too long , G-d willing Debbie and I will have a baby soon and then i will no longer be number one. i will be trivial. :) But as of right now I am the sole hero of their life, it feels good.

My grandparents have become vry sick, my grandmother in particular. First she had a pacemaker put in, then she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had her thyroid removed, now someting might be wrong with her spine. I'm exhausted from being worried about her. But mostly I worry about my grandfather. They have had a rough marriage and my grnadmother hasnt been treating my grandfather well. She takes her illnesses out on him and takes him for granted. But when she is gone, I worry that he will be so lonely. Maybe I'm projecting my own fears.

I spent some time in Italy with Chris, my mum and dad - it made me appreciate them all.

My mother had surgery. It was hard for me to see her vulnerable and to realize, I have to build myself up and become more like her -- strong, with a strong internal compass of right and wrong -- so that I can help her when she needs my help.

I discovered that I was adopted -- it has caused me to reevaluate myself - who I am and what I am doing - it has affected me in that i feel much freer to be whoever i am --

new physical limitations due to more surgery and my impatience with myself for needing assistance when I can reall y (or think I can) do it mhyself

I became engaged and thus started a new family, and became part of my wife's family. I am now more committed then ever to my relationship, and thus to my new family. My vision of the future is both more in focus and more blurry. As I know who I'll be with, but I am less sure of where we will be and what our life will be like.

My dad lost his job in march. He was the president and ceo of a company so we are going through a huge financial change. Also, because my dad lost his job, we put our house on the market so that we can live somewhere more affordable. My dad is looking for a nother job, but isn't having much luck with this economy.

I was estranged from my family for the past seven years. It was only this year that they reached out to me. So in essence it was not in 2008 but 2009. I will say that when they did reach out a part of me stopped feeling adrift. At first it was a bit overwhelming hearing about all the changes - deaths, marriages, and births - but in the end I regained a part of myself.

We bought a new house and moved out of my parent's house. We had some hard times in the last few years, but we are rebounding. I am proud of all three of us.

We had our first child. Our son is the most amazing person, we have forever been changed by the joy and never ending love he has brought to us. Our family is so much stronger and loving because of him. Babies have a way of changing their family dynamic, we are forever blessed to have him in our lives.

Nothing of particular note happened with my immediate family in the past year, but I did correspond with both of my father's estranged brothers, my uncles, regarding genealogy. The correspondence confirmed, such as it can, that my great-grandfather was a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant to the United States. This makes me 1/8 Jewish, genetically. Given my extant interest in Jewish religious practice (and my serious consideration of future conversion), this "revelation," though not 100% verifiable, further opens the door of conversion. Perhaps as important, the correspondence with my uncles expanded my sense of family. I feel closer to uncles, aunts, and cousins, even though I rarely see any of them. I would like to improve on these ties in the coming years.

I am dating a non-jewish girl, and my parents accepted it with no reproachment or problems. Its made me realise that religion isn't everything, and even parents know there is something more to life.

I realized that my attempt to begin my own business was futile. I also came to the realization that I didn't want to do what I was trying do develop a business around. It has been a great relief for both me and my family. Now I am focused on something that has meaning to me personally, and that I hope to impart to others in a meaningful way.

My Autistic brother moved back to New York (my family moved to Florida five years ago) to live in a group home. Although there is less every day stress, other conflicts have arisen. My mom constantly struggles with the group home in New York trying to make Michael active and learning, while the staff wants to do the bare minimum. My younger brother, Dov, and I now notice the stresses more when Michael visits. We've begun to question our dedication to him as siblings. Within the last month I've gained confidence back, and I now call him almost every day. I guess this year has been the first time I questioned Michael's Autism and wondered what our family would be like if he had been born "normal."

We became empty nesters. It has brought us closer together. I talk to my daughter more and we dont argue as much.

My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary this past June. We had a great little party, and they were looking forward to moving into their 3rd home, in Florida. Then Dad suddenly passed away in August. I have attempted to pick up his patience - we'll see how successful I am.

Our son graduated high school and went to college. Our oldest daughter is a senior this year in college and our youngest is still home. Young enough to want to hold on to her youth as long as I can. This affected me in two ways. First, I never thought I'd get to see this day with our son who has struggled with anxiety for much of his life. So that fact that he has matured enough to be capable and willing to do this is a miracle. We are so proud of him. But the house is filled with his ghost. He is gone and I am jaded enough from the experience with not only my older daughter but with my own college days to know that he is never really coming home again. I miss him... them... so deeply. I feel as if I'm in a freefall without them. It's a kind of grief, but one that is mixed with joy and pride.

thats so long ago. George lost his job in november 2007 and i think when i provided a vacation house for george, lisa and the kids that summer, it became apparent the lisa really hates me. and there is no hope at all about that relationship. it saddened me, especially the hopelessness of it. and on top of that george told me he "is not happy". it is just sad. i have done the best i can for george, helping him financially and encouraging his brothers to help him. and it is coming along ok now. he got a good job in NYC and altho it is a long commute, that is really the only down side.

My sister, who I adore, married her longtime boyfriend. Although they've been dating for years, during this time - even during the engagement - she lived her own life, and was devoted to our family. The day she got married, she became a wife first and it has been an adjustment to my parents and myself; she now puts her husband before us. It's right that she's done this, but rather than see the gain of a brother-in-law (it's not that I dislike him, I just don't enjoy his company), I feel as though I've lost my sister.

This past year, my mother went into the hospital and was told that she may have a tumor. The doctors were wrong, but the whole thing was terrifying anyway. I have a better appreciation for my other, as well as life in general. Cliche, right? but still

My first and only child was born at the beginning of 2008. It helped bring me closer to my sister, because following the death of my mother the year before, we had completely pulled apart, and were filled with anger, sorrow and resentment over the loss of our mom, and we were taking a lot of it out on each other. My daughter helped to refocus us on the love, and positive parts of being family. It helped us to remember the joy of having been sisters, and a part of something really special, that our mom worked hard to create....... It made me hopeful that I could so the same for my daughter.

Our youngest child turned twenty, so no more teenagers, no more pre adolescents, no more children, no more toddlers, no more babies. What we didn't really realize starting out is that it may take alot longer than twenty years for a child to grow up and being a parent just gets harder in many ways. It's a good thing we love them all so much.

becoming the supervisor of my co-worker and my husband's brain surgery defined my year. I was very scared for being in charge. I needed to step up a be an adult and take responsibility. I now know that I can no longer pretend that someone else is going to take care or me or solve my problem. I am the driver and I am responsible for my family and my community.

In late June, my mother retired from her job as a school librarian. A few weeks later she was offered another part-time job. This was just about the time when I left my job. Initially, when speaking with my mother, I felt totally inadequate and jealous that she had a "next job" and I didn't. However, upon reflection I came to realize that I don't need to be in competition with her. What I'm doing with myself is totally fulfilling for me so who cares if others don't approve? It's not like I'm doing anything dangerous or illegal that might really be cause for concern. What's more, I'm very blessed to be able to not draw a salary in a tough economy. Indeed, I think some people are very jealous of me that I am able to afford this "luxury." I have become far more confident about what I'm doing and who I am - although I still have work to do in that department. But my mom sees how happy I am and I know that makes her happy, too. Of late, she's been much more positive. I'm convinced that it's a reflection of my own good feelings.

The birth of my second son. Besides the impact on time and on willingness to take risks - It wasn't the "falling in love" reaction like with the first, but the little one gradually just knew how to grab our hearts. I think i learned that both of them will do just fine... pave their own way.

It was my parents' 25 aniversary. Me and my sister got them the greatest gift and made a whole surprise of it. I think it showed my parents how much we really appreciate them and I'm glad I could show them. When I walk by the picture I think of all the fun we had.

Son married. Illuminated the reality that families geographically splinter and grow. Great joy for continuity. With an understanding of Impermanence.

just the grandchildren. jennifer a doctor. marisa back in graduate school for her masters in art. nicole graduated brooklyn college, mikes in albany, jillian now goes to george washington university. ali will graduate brooklyn college in 2009. i hope they succeed and i am looking forward to someone getting married soon.

We had our second child. hillel. we have less time than ever to ourselves but he's amazing. sure not easy having kids!

My mother-in-law passed away after suffering from a rare and painful condition associated with dialysis. Later that summer my mother's first two siblings out of a family of 11 passed away. One expected, one was not, neither was one of the older siblings. These deaths have made me realize how important it is for us to make time for our family members just to be together and to cherish all the time we are able to spend together. To keep in touch and let people know that I love them and that they are important to me. Even if we don't see each other often. It is also important for younger generations to ask questions of the older generations. Ask them for their memories and stories. I don't think we do that often enough anymore. I feel sad that a big part of my past is gone forever.

my mother moved closer to my sister. it is interesting to hear about this familial relationship, this exploration of past and future building between them. it makes the distance i feel with my family more visceral. there is an estrangement there. my sister is encouraging me to know re engage my mother, move forward and try , again, to develop a deeper interaction with her. what has been resolved in my heart, i am once again beginning to question.

The death of my grandfather has affected me in quite a profound way - I realised that my world, as I know it will not stay the same forever. I had lost family members before, but that was quite a while ago when I was young. This made me realise that I need to be prepared for my life to change whether I want it to or not, so I'm able to deal with it in the best possible way.

Everything in 2008 has been overshadowed by my mother's death in November. My husband took over control of the household duties of shopping and feeding us so that I could become Mom's major CareGiver. While he may not do much of the cleaning, shopping and cooking & gettting the kids to/from school has been a HUGE rsponsibility - to which he rose most admirable. While we have many issues on which we need to work, the bottom line is that we can pull together for one another when necessary.

My mom got re-married and my dad is engaged. Its very strange for me that both my parents are going to be re-married only 3 year after divorcing

Parents both got ill. Not sure how it will pan out in the long run

My younger brother got married - which was a very joyous time for my parents and a bittersweet time my sisters and I. His wife is a wonderful woman, and fits in perfectly. But my sisters and I continue a strained relationship with my brother, a reaction to the preferential treatment he receives in our family and his subsequent treatment of each of us. Additionally, being single myself, a younger sibling getting married is a bit strange. And I question my perception of marriage in light of his commitment. I haven't come up with any answers I believe in yet.

The only major milestone I can think of was that I finished my Bachelor's degree. I was glad to have it done and to have everyone there when I got my diploma. It's definitely a different sensation when you're older than the vast majority of your fellow graudates.

my husband started residency. it has made my life harder in the every day sense (he is never home), but it will make our lives so much better in the end, when he is doing something he loves in a job that is finally fulfilling to him.

Not one single event, but an overall change in attitude. My family really stepped out of our comfort zone this year. We travelled the world. We put ourselves in unfamiliar and uncomfortable places and thrived. Even when our rental van broke down in Serbia - where very few people spoke English. And when my husband & I went to Israel during the Israel-Gaza conflict. We never let anything stop us or get us down, and it has given us all a level of confidence that will last us a lifetime. My kids will never be afraid to get out and try new things, and they have a whole new outlook on the world and its people.

We had a family reunion this past year. It effected in two ways. First, it was good to see members of my family that I haven't seen in a number of years. We told family stories,laughed and cried because our parents have passed. Second, we learned from DNA tests that our family had a Jewish connection. They came from Spain to Sicily to escape the Inquistion in Spain. My ancestors were Sephardic Jews. They were forced to convert to catholicism or die. Some of my ancestors chose to live in secret as Jews.

The most major milestone was that Hanna and I moved out at the end of 2007 (Dec. 1st). January, 2008 was the beginning of my new life as a single parent. As I write this during Rosh Hashannah - Sept. 20, 2009, our divorce to be final in 8 days, I look back and have done a pretty good job so far. I'm getting myself back, slowly. Business is not as good as it should or could be, but I'm working at getting caught up with it, and will strive to make it and me the success I know it - and I - can be. Being a single mom is chllenging, but we're doing well.

Mum is out of the family picture. Totally demented to all intents and purposes because even tho' she has moments of recognition you cannot predict them or rely on them

My nephew and his brain tumor has taken a major toll on our family. We are closer than we have ever been. It is apparent now how vulnerable our family is. I am so proud of us for sticking together and being there for each other. I attribute this to my parents and their constant reminder to my brother and I when we were kids that Family is #1. My brother and I have never been best friends. We are very different people but we have complete respect for each other and would anything the other asked. Anything. I feel comforted knowing I have him in my life. Even though it is his son is sick, I think as much about my brother and his wife and hope they make it through this intact. It hurts me to see my brother suffer.

The end of an era.... losing my grandmother in April felt like the official end of my childhood.

My older daughter ended middle school and started high school. I say "ended" and not graduated because, due to some kind of mean-girl driven social meltdown, she essentially quit going to school six weeks before, and while she was promoted out, did not participate in any of the end of year activities, including graduation. She then did not want to attend the high school she was assigned to, tried to get into our local Jewish community high school, and despite our strong ties to the Jewish community and our essentially begging them to let her in, she did not get in. She ended up going to a local public school. She had a terrible 9th grade year, started hanging out with kids who don't care about school and seems to have rejected her Jewish identity. And me? I now will hold a grudge against that Jewish high school probably until my dying day.

I finally started to open up to my mother about my childhood and how badly my brother treated me. I may not have told her everything, nor gone into details, but it's a start. This made my mother and I realize that there is something more to my issues, that there is an underlying reason why I deal with the things I deal with now. I think it also made my mother reevaluate my childhood, and also helps her understand more of why I react to certain things the way I do. While I may never tell her the whole story, I am relieved that is not entirely in the dark and that my secret has been put in the open, regardless of the fact that she only knows a small part of the story.

My father began hospice care in December 2008. It was nice to see our family so together and supportive for my mom. I've heard horror stories about families that have major falling outs with each other - i'm glad that hasn't happened - and won't happen - to us. Dad died in June 2009, on what had to be the hottest day of the year. we were ready, i think, in many ways. as ready as you can be....

my daughter has filled me to immeasurable pride : from her very battle to be born; to how we learned how to understand her; our performance as parents; our lack of neuroses as parents; the amount of energy and attention i have devoted to her. how she's turning out to be a wonderful radiant little person, and if its nothing to do with us from nurture, then its everything to do with us from nature.. so either way i'm proud.

The only milestone I can think of is perhaps my (older) brother finally maturing a bit...this has been great because I can actually appreciate him and enjoy spending time with him.

It was about a year ago that I had to give up my dream of having children. It's not going to happen; not through biology and not through adoption. As before, then, this is about what is not. No major milestones. No parents, no children, no spouse. No weddings, no births, no deaths, no funerals, no graduations, no bar mitzvahs. Few birthdays. Only sibling far away and not compatible. Only niece far away and only distantly close. The lack of family continues to haunt me.

My daughter of 24 years made the decision to marry. Big decision, big committment

Undoubtedly it was the two weddings of our middle daughter, Sally Megan Gifford to Tim Piper (First, civil in Toronto in September, 2008; second, religous in Australia in December, 2008) followed closely by the birth of our third Grandson, Henry Marston Simms. These three events evinced what is the best (and sometimes the worst/ most challenging) from our family.

My mom turned fifty, and I felt her getting older. In the same year that we celebrated her life she had a health scare and had half her thyroid removed. Everything turned out ok but it made us all come to terms with the fact that she was aging and mortality was a reality for her and everyone. I can see it in her face that she has aged and I guess I always thought of my mom as the young mom who never got old.

We got a new puppy -- a ridiculous mutt who was abandoned on the streets of Hollywood. He has not only brought the usual puppy joys into our family, he helped my two daughters to understand how bringing a new family member in to the family increases the love rather than makes you ahve to share it. It's helped their relationship!

2008 was, in and of itself, a great milestone in my life. It was a year filled almost end to end with the most change and some of the greatest challenges that I have ever faced. I learned a great deal of strength and character during that span of time. But most importantly, I've learned that that strength truly does lie within myself. I am a stronger person than I ever knew.

I was diagnosed with cancer. My wife and mother both shut down with depression.

I moved 500 miles away from my mother & the town where I grew up. I think it really changed our relationship from her taking care of me to something more substantial because now the relationship requires effort.

My children are no longer in their teens - my son is 22 and my daughter is 20. I love that they are young adults. Now they seek my guidance and advice but make their own decisions. As they become more independent and begin the journey of their adulthood, I am introspective about my life and future. I enjoy change and not yet sure what shifts I would like to occur and the hows and whens to make them.

My husband left his job and started his own business. A year later, he is at his 2nd job since the business went under...We are doing really well now, but it has been a real roller coaster of ups and downs.

My husband and I decided we were not going to try to have another baby. This was an agonizing decision...with many variables. Our son would be an only child. It's not something I feel a congratulations is needed (a response many people say to say to us when we inform them), it just is the right decision for a lot of personal reasons. It does not make me feel sad, or happy - it just is. Well, I do feel a little sad.

sadly i am not that close to my family so i can't point any major events happening in 2008. annd actually this was almost 2 years ago... my brothre moved out, w 30y olds , of my parents in 2009 and I coincidently moved in, afetr 10 years away. this i believe was the major milestone for my parents. they still are closer to my brother thenme, even though i am the one living in their houses now.

My dad finally started filing his/our taxes under his own name only. It's been nice having more financial aid this year... my mother never really contributed anything to the huge financial burden that is my college education, let alone the living expense of me or my brother. It's been freeing knowing that I really do not depend on her financially at all anymore. I owe her nothing.

I came to realize that my wife's over weight was not my problem, that I would not have an affair even if propositioned and that I would love her for who she is and the loyal woman she has been to me and the giving one for nearly 35 years. It has made my life a lot easier. We have much fewer raised voices and I have very few periods of anger at her, forgive her more quickly and generally love her more.

I opened up my life and my home to a loving man. His presence and my relationship with him has totally altered the energy in our home, mostly positively but sometimes creating more tension. I no longer have the illuusion of control over the household!

My husband's sister was in a horrible motorcycle accident. Her husband was driving. He came out of the accident with minor scrapes & bruises, however my sister-in-law became paralyzed in both legs and only has minimal use of one arm (not her hands). She also lost an eye and most of her teeth. The topper to this was that her husband decided to divorce her. This put a lot of things in my life into perspective. Everything could change in a blink of an eye. Don't take my blessings for granted. I love my husband!! My problems are nothing compared to hers!!!!!

I decided "don't blame the husband". It was easy to project my problems and conflicts onto him. This has brought peace to my family and me.

this year my sister graduated from college.. my parents, who had an extremely messy divorce when i was 9 (14 years ago), sat next to each other for the first time since.. they got along, laughed and were able to make it an enjoyable time for everyone.. i am so glad that her big day wasn't ruined by their anger like so many other big events in the past.. it felt like a turning point, like maybe my wedding won't be a disaster like my bat mitzvah..

I quit my job in India. It set the groundwork for my separation from my family and my falling in love with someone else this year.

I left my husband. This has forced me to find out who I really am, what I really want, and how to perform the basic tasks of life, before pursuing the fancy achievements. It's helped me learn how to slow down, listen to myself, prioritize and remember that I can't please every one. I just have to do what's right for me, while remembering to be kind to others. I am responsible to others, not for them. I am responsible for building happiness from my own efforts. I am learning that I am capable of more than I thought, but I am also learning that I can just take it moment by moment.

Petra graduated from college. We are very proud of her for doing so in four years. Not paying college tuition has freed us up so we are able to do more for ourselves like the new landscaping.

We lost an important member of our family, yes she was a dog, but she went everywhere with us. It has changed the family dynamic and in some ways was a relief since she was sick for quite some time.

I'm torn between a couple of things that happened this past year. My graduation from undergrad... My moving to India... My uncle's untimely death... My evacuation from India to Israel... And even my homecoming (including my father's bicycling accident!). Through it all, I realized that my family is such an important part of my life, and I need to prioritize them more. I've always been strongly connected to them, but now I understand that they are high up on my list of important priorities. Obviously, there has to be a balance between work, family, friends, self... and even though I believe that in the end, we really only have ourselves... my family is here to help me be my best self, and vice versa.

I began to have a realtionship with my aunt again. I have no immediate family its only me but her and I have started to get close again.

My grandmother passed away a year ago next week after 2 weeks in a coma. By far the most difficult experience of my life watching her in such a condition. I wish it brought us all closer together but like most traumatic events, it got swept under the rug after a while. I also with I could claim that it made me cherish life more but I am still plagued by tinges of frustration and self doubt that keep me distant from the moment and how blessed I truly. I do know for sure that the worst thing I could ever go through played out in front of my eyes and I truly truly have no fear of death.

my uncle died way too soon from brain cancer, a year after my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer. another person that won't be at my wedding. another person that I wasn't able to be there for because they were in taiwan.

My mother's dementia worsened, but it made me closer to my sister. We are geographically distant but through this we find that we feel the same way about much of life. With 6 years between us I'm glad to know that we are so alike.

My sister's husband is getting crazier, causing us more concern. i think this has shown her that we love her and support her as we try to help her make good decisions. we also worked together to help my brother figure out how to get a career started. we are trying to communicate more, though i think we always have. i think we're at the point where we're trying to show each other that we're there for each other, even though it's not perfect. All I know is that watching my sister and brother, as well as my mom has proven to me that it's ok to be picky because while i'm not in a relationship at least i'm not putting up with some of the things they are.

In 2008? I can barely remember 2008. 2009 feels more fresh in my mind. But okay: in 2008, my sister went from being a Republican to being a Democrat. It affected us very well.

I don't know whether I'd call it a "major milestone," but I got into an argument with my Aunt Sarah - in front of my mom & grandmother - while we were in a car together in Hilton Head. It was the first time I'd let my temper get the best of me to her, & in front of them. It was one of the most embarrassing, shameful things I can recall doing in front of - & to - my family, not just in the past year but ever. It made me acutely aware of the ugly temper I claim to have under control - how it alters my personality & how it affects the way others view me. I never want to be that person again, to my family or anyone else.

Well, the biggest milestone in our family this year was that I got engaged. I'm 37. My older sister is gay. The only other "kids" are two boys, aged 22 and 15...so it was a big event in our family. The impact on me has been interesting...it puts me at the center of a family event, which isn't my usual place. It also has me looking at and thinking about marriage, both the fact that not too many in our family have been successful and the fact that my sister doesn't get to legally be married. It's an interesting time for sure.

My grandmother passed away 4 days before Thanksgiving last year. Three months earlier, she had been diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer that is not detected by a typical mamogram/exam. She was in her mid-80's, but had been extremely healthy and active up to that point. It was a shock to everyone - she had this vivacity and youthful spirit that fooled us all into thinking that she would outlive us all. The impact on my family was deep, but what stuck with me the most were two things. The first was how she was completely at peace with everything - she told my sister that she had a great life, got to travel the world and do what she wanted, and she was ready to go. The other was the way that my mother, sister and I all got the chance to spend time with her and actually talk, not really as family, but almost more as friends. It was only in her last years of life that I felt like my grandmother genuinely enjoyed spending time with me - going to the movies, or a chinese luncheon special. There are not many relationships where this will probably be the case, but I felt like I was really able to say a proper goodbye and take advantage of every moment we had. And I know how lucky we were to have that.

My cousins have started having children, and a few have been born this past year. It's amazing how much joy it gives to my grandmother, and I hope to be able to bring her and my immediate family the same joy in coming years. It's made me realise that however quiet or non-responsive someone is, they can react to the birth of a child with such joy and contentment. This is the essence of life for my grandmother now, and it's a pleasure to see.

I have become comfortable around my father. Where I do not feel any interal issues and am relaxed and wanting to spend time with him but not know how and realize how my thought process has kept me from getting what I really want from my father. Father and daughter acceptance,time,RESPECT, love and AFFECTION. It has gotten easier and easier to be hugged by my father. I welcome it. ANd easier to be who I am around them. Mood or temperment. And not feel guilty for not wanting to spend time with them or be in there company.

I became a mother It radically changed my marriage It turned my relationships with my own mothers upside down It exploded my own self image It deepened everything

That's a good question. I'm not sure what that might be. Nothing huge has happened, not yet at least. I'm worried about a lot of my family members.

My mother had a heart attack on May 1. Two weeks later my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. My mom's heart attack was a shock, as she was very active and independent, and that changed. My sister lives in New York so the bulk of the visits fell on her, but I also went back a couple of times. Now I talk to her just about every day and we all keep in much closer touch than we did before. As of today, September 20, she is recovering pretty well and planning to go back to work in October one day a week and in November 2 days a week. Reeni is recovering from her mastectomy. My mother also turned 85 this year and had a big party on July 20, with 200 people. It's great that she had that celebration!

The stress I have lived with since I was a young child finally showed up as neurological conditioning, affecting everything I do. It has been a drag, and it has made moving forward on the huge NextGen project impossible, but I have also learned important details of self-mastery and am putting them to use.

There have not been any major milestones, except that my husband and I met 12 years ago this week - this is significant because it changed the entire course of our lives dramatically.

I lost my stepfather last November. I have never seen my mom so completely devastated, ever in my life... The death was under terrible, tragic circumstances. I flew home immediately and had to take charge. I had never done anything like this before - called a Rabbi to hold services and organize everything with a funeral home. Spoke extensively with the Rabbi as my mom was in no condition to. I had to call family and tell them what was going on. I had to hire a grief counselor for his place of work as he was the founder and he was truly so beloved. I had to literally hold my mom up during the procession at the funeral as she could not walk. I also had to identify the body, which was not in anything resembling "good" condition as he had fallen from an extremely high location. I found strength I didn't know I had. I held it together because I had to for my mom, because I wasn't able to lose myself in grief for the sake of everyone else and to give my stepfather the peace and commemoration he deserved. I remember this whenever I feel weak. I know there is an inner strength I possess, stronger than I'll ever know. My mom, my sister and I have all grown closer as a result of this tragedy. I see strength in my mom that I admire and aspire to emulate. She is a true force.

My older sister was laid off from her job at the beginning of the summer. After helping her with her resume & interview skills and everything that I've learned from my own job in the industry, it drew us closer. Even though I'm the little one, she came around to accepting my advice, turned to me, etc. We weren't incredibly close growing up, at least in part because our age gap always felt bigger than it is. Not only did it feel great to help her with something, it also drew us closer together.

I'm not sure I can think of one. I live alone, no significant other. My immediate family (mother and siblings) live away from me and rarely come to visit. I only see them if I go there. I hardly see father, as he is too busy for me too. I don't have family milestones with them. I did celebrate this Rosh Hashanah with my aunt, unlce, cousins and their families for the first year. It makes me feel like I do have a family. It makes me feel loved and welcomed and included.

Joe and I got married, bringing together all of our family and "family" from Oklahoma, Michigan, New York, Minnesota, DC, Texas, California, Seattle and beyond. I feel so lucky to have so many people in our lives who care about us so much. Lots of other people we love have also gotten married this year or will be getting married or engaged within the next year, and it is a blessing to be able to celebrate with them.

"Retirement " age is a sweet time to decide what I want to make of my life! My husband retired and has transitioned to another phase of his career here in the Appalacian Mountains. We have talked of the bi-coastal life, but I can't wait for his third retirement! The marriage is fine, but snow and homesick is no good for me. I have made plans to return to the West Coast on my own to family and friends and the life I put aside 15 years ago. After all this time, as the globe warms, I would be disappointed if California fell off into the ocean without me! I have a monk-ish life planned: People and The Mind and Soul, a well planned adventure!

We are all still reeling from 2008. I have learned that we need more time than we thought to get over tragedy.

There were several major milestones, a second grandchild was born, a brother became very ill, a son got engaged and married, a father passed away, a sister-in-law got sick and a daughter became engaged. These happy and sad events just make us feel how important it is to cherish the happy moments and memories.

I might have stopped hating my mother. But it will take a very, very long time before she gets any respect back.

My brother got married about a year ago. It was a drama-filled event that my mother still clings to; I am ready to put the negative aspects behind me and just not rehash them over and over and over. . .

My cousin (who is my age) had an adorable baby and it made me want one too

I came back home to DC after being in Atlanta off and on for five years. It has made me so contented with my life. I missed my home and family and friends so much. My bank account is in a serious need to grow. But, my heart, my heart is big with happiness.

Days before I turned 32, I was legally able to marry in my home state of California. The morning of my actual birthday, I woke delighted. I somehow felt more adult. Turning 32 did something for my self-concept that 18 did not. When Prop 8 passed in the fall, that something became seriously undermine. My brother and his girlfriend announced that they were engaged to be married weeks before. My younger brother gets to have this socially sanctioned rite of passage; I do not. Every now and again, I find myself struggling with how I see myself in context of my society and what I allow society to impose upon me regarding how I see myself.

One daughter graduated from college and the other finished her first year of college. Both were major accomplishments. My younger daughter almost did not finish the year because of absences due to tonsil problems and ultimately surgery. My oldest daughter wrote a play that blew me away with her ability to bring real characters to the stage. These things made me realize how my role as a parent has changed. We have raised two wonderful children, who will and are having struggles, but my job now, more than ever before, is too listen to them, and to offer advice only if asked, but always to listen.

I really hate to write about the job loss again, but it really is turning out to be the centerpiece for the entire year. It dwarfs all other events. At least for me. See, I am so exhausted from looking for a job and stressing about worst-case contigency plans; so worn thin from desperately clutching to what is left of our family routines in order to provide some normality for the wife and kids; so weary of keeping my chin up and putting on a positive attitude at home and in my job search that I find I have nothing left for anyone or anything else. Not just physical tiredness (though there is that), but I am also emotionally depleted. During a time in my life when I would perhaps be more sympathetic to others under similar constraints of time/money/family, I am instead empty. No sympathy, just empty. Don't bug me with your problems. I use what precious little patience and kindness I have to just get through the day watching the kid and writing cover letters. Beyond this, friends, family, and their problems are just more background noise that I don't have time for. A neighbor in our building just this evening asked for a bit of help and I almost lost it when I heard my wife of course accepted. She still has some kindness left in her, thank God. But there I was, smoldering in the kitchen and biting my tongue over a very minor favor between neighbor parents. We didn't quite get into a fight about it, but just barely was it avoided. And anyway, all of that ugliness is still there on the inside, and that's the real problem. I hate being like this.

Twice recently, I found myself being happy ... I mean, really happy. Both my girls were in a good place, and as they say, you are only as happy as your least happy child. I didn't know that at the time, but it was like a weight was lifted off of me. I felt younger, stronger, more joyful. I would love to hold on to that feeling.

My cousin got divorced six months after he got married - it made me more cynical about finding the "right person".

I eloped in August of 2008 and have experienced my first year of marriage in 2009. My family took my marriage as a surprise. My father doesn't accept it. My brother is indifferent. My mother supports me. I think my husband and I were not ready for marriage but we joined together in this union to give each other a better future. I don't know if we are meant to be together forever but for the moment we are meant to be. I pray that God keeps us lifted in his light and leads us to our individual paths.

I'm pregnant. It's really been, as my friend calls it, the Anxiety Olympics - full of stress about miscarriage, birth defects, the medical establishment, insurance BS, physical discomfort and so forth. I have dealt with a lot of the stress by trying to be funny. My gallows humor about our three headed autistic Canavan's baby strikes a lot of people as awkward and it probably really getting on my husband's nerves although he shares my anxieties in his own quieter way. I simultaneously look forward to, and utterly dread, the end of this life phase. What will our story be as the future unfolds? I've never felt so out of control...and it's hard, if exciting.

My younger daughter turned 21 years old in August. As we helped moved her into the dorm for her senior year, she and I were at odds and she finally said to me, "I do things my way. It may not be your way, but it gets done." Later that evening, in the motel, I thought a lot about her statement. I realized that my "baby" was really a young adult woman, fully capable of doing things on her own, in her own manner. She didn't "need" me to help. It was a singular moment for me: to realize that she had become what I had been nurturing, yet I was not ready to accept it.

Interestingly, this is the same answer as I gave for Question 1. We found out my dad had lymphoma ... and it changed our perspective on life, my dad, and everything therein.

My brother openly talked about being gay with my whole family. It felt like a weight was lifted off of everyone's shoulders.

We just bought a small country house, not winterized, open April to October. SOmething I've wanted my whole life. We haven't yet had much chance to go, and soon the community will close for the winter, but I think this will change my life. Finally I own property, have a retreat. It is quite beautiful and I love it. A place to plant things. A quiet place to meditate and do yoga. I do that in NYC too, but it will be different. I think it will have a profound effect on my relationship with Mark, deepening our intimacy, like in the Ryokan in Kyoto.

Which family? Well, I guess my engagement affects all 'families' to which I belong or will belong a year from now. For me and my fiance, it means we're becoming a family. I wrote about that in question 1. For my own family, it means I'll never move back again and that breaks my heart a little bit every day. It also means that, for the first time, they are welcoming someone who is Jewish into the family, which warms my heart every day. For my fiance's family, it means the reverse: welcoming a Christian into their family for the first time. It means something (a wedding) to look forward to and a lot of awkward little steps for the rest of our lives, learning to be family.

Stella started kindergarten. She's been in full-day care for years now, but there's still something symbolically important about the fact that's she's truly school-aged. Time for me to figure out what my next step is, now that I'm officially no longer mothering a very small child.

My grandmother passed away last october. I miss her, of course, but also, this has allowed me to- when i think of her- remember the "real" her, the grandma I knew before she became very old, tired, and depressed. The one who had such a ZEST for life, who was fiesty and loved so hard. She is a great inspiration for me...So classy, artistic, busy, productive, easy going, fun, loving, stylish, supportive and tradtional at the same time. While a relief for my parents- in that they are no longer obligated to care for her and for the mandatory "sunday dinner out" it has also meant that while i live with my parents, i think i spend less quality time with them. Previously, with grandma, she was usually the pretext so that myself and my partner were always invited and included on family outings and get togethers or meals. Now there is much less of this.. and sometimes i feel like we are strangers living in the same house. I can't wait to move out... so that-oddly enough- i can strengthen my relationship with my parents again. Its so much easier to be closer and more open when i'm not LIVING with them!

Again, I became unemployed, so we are now having to do with less.

My brother transferred from one school to another to play D3 college football. At first I was disappointed because I have always thought poorly of his new school, but now I am so proud of him.

Hmm... honestly nothing! Maybe that I met my niece's first serious boyfriend, which has made me realize that I am getting older... or my realization that my sister's relationship with her husband isn't as perfect as I always imagined it being when I was younger - which reminds me that relationships aren't always what they appear from the outside... or just watching my mom get older in general....

My mom & her brother have stopped speaking to each other, over a stupid thing. My relationship with my cousins have been affected, negatively.

two major family things happened this year....my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer and the recent passing of my uncle. both are reminders that life is short and we never know what might happen next. and that we need to take care of ourselves as best we can. with that i've increased my commitment to eating healthy food, physical activity, getting enough sleep, trying to keep stress levels down and smiling and enjoying life as much as possible!

Getting accepted into medical school. We've had to move across the country leaving 99% of our friends and family in the process with the hope that this will be better for the family in the long run.

My family went on our second vacation together. Since we are not wealthy we could not go far or do much, but we still had a great time together. We all enjoy seeing what the world is like outside of our own city and state. We got along well and it was really nice. I really want to travel more with or without my family. I want to get out there and see more and meet more people.

My mom drove cross country to live in the same city as us. It has been a blessing in many ways. Having family in town is amazing. Our three kids know one of the their grandparents really well, which is a rarity for some families. It has difficult moments, but we are so much less alone.

Highs and lows, I'd like to think each milestone affected me at least little...My eldest son playing lead in a big play was a reminder to me that he is who he is, not who I projected him to be, my baby turning into a real person was a reminder of how quickly it all happens... Not sure a trip to israel counts as a milestone, but it felt like one to me this time, and certainly caused a lot of reflection on where I am , and what I want in terms of Judaism...

My brother sold my mother's house. She is still alive and in a nursing home. It was clear that she would not be able to live without support and even some supervision, but this step solidified the fact that a period of her life--a period marked by fierce independence--has ended. It saddens me that she is stuck in a nursing home, even if I can't find a better solution. After a few escape attempts, she seems to have accepted things. That seems to me both good and bad. I think she deserves better. Worse, I live on another continent, so I can only visit a few times a year.

My grandfather is dangerously ill. He's the patriarch of the family and very beloved, and...89. It's affected me in that way it brings me back in time--to my family, to the relationships between us all, and my memories of my grandpa, and also into the future as we're all adults now, and the balance of power is shifting and changing. It's like being in multiple stages of my life at one time.

My father went through a serious depression when a career that he already cared very little for fell apart and he was forced, at 63, to find a different place of work. He had been self medicating for a while, and was not able to do so anymore. It was then that the depression hit. I felt really bad for him, but was even more scared for me...I recognized some of the same patterns and knew that I was not immune to the same thing happening to me someday.

My dad got really sick last winter, he was in the hospital for a week during our family vacation. My dad has always been my biggest supporter. If I need anything he's the one there for me, and to see him so sick and weak and helpless really shook me up. My mom and brother had very different ways of coping with the situation. It made me realize that my parents are getting older and I may not be able to rely on them as much, and now i worry about them and their health. It terrifies me.

i made peace with my dad, i realized i didn't need to share everything with my stepdad. it was a subtle but necessary shift.

craig and sarah getting married. we got a new child! amazing feeling, great addition!

My aunt passed away in May. She had been battling cancer for awhile and was in a lot of pain so it was probably a blessing for her. She left behind an incredibly intelligent 9 year old that she and my uncle worked very hard to have. I had last seen her at Hannuka. I wish I had gotten to see her one last time or talked to her or something. She was very special. I can still hear her voice in my head. It makes me sad and happy at the same time.

My younger sisters, who are twins, graduated from college. It was a very big moment as we celebrated their academic success, but also the end of an era. No longer are we in any formal academic system but all adults, all making it on our own. It was a very special and wonderful time, but also marked lots of significance in a new stage for my family.

My grandma died this year and my brother moved out of the house. I think my parents are lonelier.

The long illness and death of my Sainted Mother. It has changed my life in many dramatic ways. Mostly, it has changed the dynamics of my family relationships in ways that are still becoming clear. I have also become much more spiritually aware than I ever have been, and that has been a blessing to me (one I'm sure Mom would have appreciated).

My wife and I had our first child, and it showed me what responsibility really is.

similar to answer one but me getting married was a pretty big deal for my family! both my husband and I are close to our families and we are lucky to have fun and interesting siblings and rock- star, wonderful parents. bringing it all together was fun and beautiful. it has also made me realize that i now have double the number of family members to keep in touch with. i also need to take some time to reflect on my relationship with my inlaws because that has not yet sunk in...

My mother lost some of her hearing, in part due to a tumor that appears to be no danger but was nevertheless destructive. It seemed to bring the family closer and make us all a little more aware of how fragile we are.

Maggie turned 13. I wasn't at the Bat Mitzvah. I wish it had taken place in May before I left for Montana. Suddenly I'm aware that we've reached the point of almost-moving-to-Montana. Up till now its always been, "when Maggie's grown or at college" and now that she's 13, its actually almost here, it got real, she's on the other side of 12. Wow.

Grandpa Venske was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Grandma Venske's mind seems to slowly be going. Grandpa Zimbrick had a stroke, but missed the cancer bullet. Grandma Zimbrick goes bowling, but only watches. My 21-year-old brother displays the traits of an alcoholic. My dad is going to be 50. My mom continues to side-step cancer. My family has been the structure in my life for the past 24 years. I am nothing without my family. The older I get, the easier it is to understand how important family is.

oddly enough, i think the family milestone was that my mom lost her job and therefore (somewhat by default) decided that she was done working. the reason that this is so "major" is that my parents have officially become old folks. they now talk only about their grandchildren, the weather and mundane topics like the cost of gas! i have now officially moved into the next stage of life - this year i joined the sandwich generation - with the newfound joy of caring for my own family and my parents. i now pay for dinners and give them life-related advice. i'm not ready for what's next and that scares me to death!

My parents made it through a year with an empty nest. This has made me feel independent and confident to grow and live separately from them.

My grandmother passed this year, and my remaining grandparents have medical complications that signal more changes in the family. Easily it affects my parents, and I believe that the aftereffects are still being felt throughout all the relatives. Our changing circumstances and number cause us to look at our own station differently. The passing of loved ones and the introduction of the next generation points to the way that change is on the way, there is little else to be done than to adapt.

I don't have family but I consider my close friends family and most have complained all year about the economy, I've learned that we can not base happyness on economy

child started kindergarten. just want the kid to be happy and confident; sets the tone for how he sees himself down the road. you just worry all the time whether your actions are leading to a better, happier life for your child. it's an unanswerable question. even if you do everything just right there's no guarantee there is a positive, direct effect. and if you're a mediocre parent or worse, who's to say it gets in the way of your child's future? parenting is orienteering without a compass.

My father may ask my mother to marry him again; this will be the fifth time they've been married to each other. It is exhausting, but I do want them to have love, I just don't think it should be with each other, or at least I wish they would just live separately and date for the rest of their lives.

Aba's award from the King Faisal Foundation was one of the more memorable milestones our family experienced this year -- one among an incredible number, including Karen and Berry's engagement, Arthur's passing, Ema's 70th birthday, and Lee's surgery, not to mention, my graduation and our move back to CA. But Aba's award was such a huge experience for all of us, and a truly amazing moment for our family, beginning with the way that he relied on all of us in his decision-making process, and culminating with the trip to Riyadh. I was so proud of Aba, both for having achieved such acclaim, and for his open-mindedness in accepting the award and traveling to Riyadh.

when my brother died, my father saw his family for the first time in a decade. the reunion wasn't nearly as painful as we expected, and now i don't have to hide the fact that i hang out with my own father. it's not all healed, but it's not infected.

I can't think of any major milestone, other than that my daughter has started high school. For me personally this is a major milestone; every day she moves a little farther along her own path and it's sometimes hard, and often disorienting, for me to let her go. But I have to; I guess my role now as a mother is simple to continue to give her love and support, but keep stepping back and letting her live her life. It's her turn now. Good luck, honey. Be smart and be safe!

We are all healthy, thank God, but a few family members and some friends are dealing with such difficult health issues.... Perspective. Gratitude. Generosity.

My brother had a child - another niece for the family. There are certain dynamics around that yet to be figured out, and my closeness to that child in comparison to my sister's child doesn't seem as strong just yet, but I think that will change. I haven't totally figured that out - if there is a disconnect, if the relationship with kids of your brother versus kids of your sister is different...dunno. And my father had another child, which was odd, and difficult to deal with when I first heard about it last August, but for me personally it sort of made me come to appreciate the strangeness, randomness of this life, to accept that you can't control things, that you can you chose to find happiness and acceptance in anything, that there is endless joy to be found in the world. I think, in the end, it has helped to make my father and me closer, get along better, after what had been a tumultuous twelve or so years, so that is good. It sort of helped to clarify the endless possibilities of this world, I suppose, and the necessity of being willing to let go a little, and just go along for the ride, open to where that might take you. So you happen to turn 30 and have a 3 month old half brother? Que sera, sera.

My wonderful, sweet boyfriend made me his fiancee on August 8 on the beach in Mombasa. This has brought me both enormous joy and also a sense of calm that the life I was hoping I would lead has come to fruition.

My Parents celebrated their 66th. wedding anniversary. Which is quite amazing, we all know that meshing two personalities is difficult. I know those 66 years were not all a bed of roses, however they overcame their differences. It gives me hope that if you perservere and if it is worth it you have to work at it.

My son who was quite ill last year and is finally back to himself has been told that he needs a liver transplant as soon as possible. There is no liver available. He is too well to get a liver immediately and yet we are worried that if he doesn't get one quickly, he may become very ill. I am very frightened and concerned about my son's suffering awaiting the transplant and then the long arduous recuperation process and his precarious health once he is on the anti-rejection medicines. I am also struggling with the injustice of his suffering.

Almost exactly a year ago, my moms got married, after being together for more than 27 years. That didn't actually feel like such a milestone that personally affected me, but it was pretty exciting. And that's the only thing I can think of that I would call a real milestone. Other changes that have happened with the family: Ari went to college - clearly that impacted him and will have an effect on our family life. I moved home - after being a few thousand miles from my family for the last 5 years, I'm now living in my parents' home and see them and other family members on a more regular basis. Liza got married - she's the first of the grandchildren to tie the knot, and pretty soon we'll have babies on the way!

After living on my own overseas for a year and a half, I moved back into my parents' house. I had left under bad circumstances; we were fighting constantly and I felt like my mom was trying to control me. I've been back for a week and I've been getting a long with them. Living away from my family made me understand the euphoria of being free from them. It was liberating. Family can be oppressive. But being back home with them has made me realize that family is complicated. I've learned to talk with my parents on a much more mature level, instead of getting angry or petulant with them. My parents explain their perspective and I explain mine and I think for the first time in 24 years, we are both trying to understand each other.

My wife and our then 16/17 month-old daughter traveled for 8 eight weeks this summer in Israel, the U.S., and Europe, often together but not always. I was working in different locations most of the time. I think it showed us our resilience and tested our limits - in a really good way.

My little sisters both graduated from high school, one graduated a year early. I thought my sisters were going to leave and go to a different school, but instead stayed. I am not sure how that will turn out. I am fearful and anxious for them staying there. I hope that they make appropriate choices and avoid the temptations of life.

My mother died in September of '08. My dad started dating in February of this year, and it basically devastated my relationship with him, and more grandly with men in general. He and my mother had such a beautiful loving marriage, and I always thought I wanted to find someone like him, so I could have a relationship like theirs. Seeing how helpless he was without my mom, it was so embarrassing and sad. I don't want to marry a man who will be looking for a replacement a few months after I die. I don't think my mom did, either.

we found our new nanny, and we just love her. it has given me a chance to breathe and know that the person caring for my children is loving, happy, responsible and fun fun fun!

My parents were married 45 years ago. They are still in love. I called them. Their friends took them to the Mountains for a vacation. My brothers all called them. I picked up a jar of jam from my vacation to Oregon and gave it to my dad. I feel bad that I didn't do more. I feel bad that I don't do more. They only want to see me and get a hug and have a relationship. I still feel bad that I don't do more and that none of us do more.

My parents finally announced that they are getting divorced. This will make life so much better for everyone!! No more pretending things are okay when they aren't.

Grandpa Jack died this year. For the second time. He first died about 15 years ago, was revived, but after that was barely aware of what was going on. Something seemed off. He was weaker, he was slower, he didn't care as much. For a few years now, he's been completely gone. Every time we saw him, we didn't know if he recognized us, if he was cognizant. We would go once in a while to say hello, but it turned in to us hanging out by his bedside, barely talking to him. What can you say to someone who doesn't know what's going on in the outside world? Someone who doesn't know who we are? My mom was amazing through all this. She made sure to visit regularly. She would bring him pictures of us, new pants, make sure to celebrate his birthday and Father's Day with him. Even though he smelled. Even though he didn't recognize us. Even though he would just complain. This taught me two things (well, more, but let's focus on two): 1) If you have life in you, do something with it. We are told that each day is a gift, especially when someone young dies. But when someone 90 years old passes on, we forget that these past 10 years were gifts. There is a lesson in this. 2) Try. Try harder. It can change someone's day, it can change someone's life. By visiting regularly, my mom taught by example. We learned how to care for the elderly. How to take a few minutes out of our busy weeks. How a little hello can mean a lot to someone. I don't know if Grandpa Jack was holding on for something, but I feel like he really enjoyed seeing my mom. How many times did she step in when they were about to give him regular soda or the wrong pills? How many times did she bring him a balloon or stuffed animal just to make him smile for those few seconds? Now we all know how to take care of our mother when she gets there (even though she would prefer to be thrown under a bus) and treat her with dignity even when it seems futile.

My daughter got married in May. She and I have been very close but now much of her time is spent with her husband. People used to say that they thought we were too close but I am very happy that she has found love and is having a close, emotionally intimate relationship with someone. We still have a great relationship and I lucked out because now I have a son!

My mom lost her job in Nov. 2008. She was the major breadwinner and while she found a job soon after it was for significantly less pay than what she was making before. Because of that we suddenly had to re-examine our finances and spending. We never frivolously spent our money, but there are areas in our lives where the cutting back has been really tough and something we are not used to having to deal with.

I had never expected that I would meet someone and know they were to be the love of my life. I had always thought that when it came time to marry, I would be conflicted: that I would be weighing an equation of the probability that this person vs. any other that I would find gave me a good ratio of love vs. tsaurus. What never occurred to me is that I could meet someone for whom I don't have to calculate. As sure as I anyone can be, I am sure he is the person for me to be with. And it was without equivocation that I asked him to marry me this year.

My son became Bar Mitzvah in November, 2009. It was a bittersweet occasion for me, as there was not a single blood relative of mine present. For a number of reasons, I have very little family, and none in my city. My parents are both dead. I was not raised as a Jew, though my father was Jewish (My mother was not). My father's parents immigrated from Russia in the early 20th century, and they were not interested in religion, so he never had any sort of religious instruction. However, when my son was born, and I called him to tell him we were having a bris, he instantly got a plane ticket, and flew across the country in the event. My husband's family is 100% Jewish, but his parents are self-hating jews, and not only did he not have any religious formation, they had Christmas trees and Easter Egg hunts. I kept wondering why this was so important to me, and what I would do if my son refused to go through with the Bar Mitzvah, which would hardly be surprising given that I am the only person in the family who cared one way or another. I know that I desperately want to strengthen my son's (and my own) sense of connection to family and tradition, because both are so sorely lacking in our lives. Will my efforts matter? Will learning Jewish learning help him become a well-adjusted, morally and ethically upright adult?

a nephew and a niece in college, whoa! when did everyone grow up? and i'm realizing that they might be parents before i am!!!

My parents got separated. My mother finally left my dad. At first I was heartbroken: the stability I had known (albeit a chaotic and abusive one) was being pulled from under my feet. But then I realized, as time passed, that it was actually an opportunity for both of my parents to lead happier and healthier lives and has catapulted both of them into changing their actions and behaviors. They are still sad; I am still sad. But I think this will change and for the better.

My miscarriage, and then my subsequent pregnancy, have been the major milestones of 2009 (and for that matter also 5769.) Both have been incredibly emotional experiences: one very painful, the other joyful but also bringing with it anticipation and anxiety sometimes. I wonder what kind of mother I will be and whether I'll be up to the task of parenting wisely and well, and sometimes I resist the prospect of saying farewell to our "old life." But it's also been amazing to watch and experience my body changing, and to feel powerful and generative in new ways... and I am eager and excited to meet our son and find out who he will become, and who we will become as we rear him.

Willow turned two, which is a huge thing. I am so happy everyday that we have her and I am constantly realizing how much of a miracle she is. I can't believe that she has been here for two years already. She is growing up so fast and I don't want it to pass me by.

My parents have become liberated from their children. They have payed their part to both their childrens ways through college and both of us have moved out of their house. They are free! And I feel their pleasure every single time I see them. They seem to be going out and enjoying life, travelling as much as possible, and getting together with old friends. Good for them! I look up to them and hope I can be like this one day! (Knock on wood)

The second yahrtzeit of my mother's death. It hit some of us, especially my sisters, harder than the first. When I stood to say Kaddish for her, I couldn't get past the first few lines. I just stood there, crying, as my husband put his arm around me and said the rest of the prayer for me, even though he doesn't know much Hebrew. I felt so loved in that moment.

My grandparents moved into assisted living nearby us. Their sickness is making me work towards forgiving them for ignoring me and my sister for so long.

The on-going care of my grandmother. Her resolve to die now that my grandfather has gone has enlightened my views on relationships and growing old. lasting love, loneliness, the ability to recognize that you are ready, you've lived, you are no longer interested in spending time without your best friend...

Well my dad is turning 85 at the end of October. He's an amazing person. He has known much pain, losing both his parents early and serving 3 years in World War II. But he is resilient. He built a beautiful life for him and his family and he always had hope. He was also one of the most non judgmental persons I have ever know. I hope he has a few more years.

I have gotten involved in Judaism and I have gotten my family involved. They are still rather hesitant, but I love it. I try to incoroprate both of our faiths into things. Everyone is learning

Both I and my sister left our family home to go and work overseas. This has had a positive effect in that at home, I got too comfortable. It's easy to enjoy mum's home-cooked meals, have her dote on us and to relax on the couch with my brother and sister and do not much else but laugh and talk nonsense. Away from home, I have become more determined, more organised, more disciplined, more proactive and more open-minded. At the same time, it breaks my heart to think that mum has lost not only her partner a few year ago, but now two daughters. I know she is lonely but I wonder - and I still don't have an answer - whether it is right to stay at home to keep mum company because she is lonely, given that she has been the best mum in the world and absolutely deserves it, or to chase my own goals and feel satisfaction in that?

My sister who finally gave up on being pregnant had a baby. She's beautiful. My family was so excited.

Our second child was born. I'm thrilled and excited and relieved and exhausted.

I lost my last living grandparent. Although we were not terribly close, and he suffered from dementia towards the end, in a way it was only after he passed away that I finally began to remember how kind and gentle he was with me and my sister when we were very little. I had forgotten how much I loved him, until he was gone.

My great aunt and uncle celebrated their respective 100th birthdays together with a beautiful party. They have been married for 76 years. and at the party I met distant relatives, and realize the value and importance of family. Using social networking I am trying to keep up with more of my family.

There's been no major milestone in 09, but my kid brother's growing professional success is making me feel my own lack of progress.

We were befriended by a priest and 'adopted' into his family. Not having had a good family life for both my wife and myself from either of our parents, it gave us a glimpse into what should have been. It's also drawn us deeper into our religion.

my dad moved to florida for potential business opportunities. The jury is still out on how I feel about this. On one hand, Im excited for him if these opportunities come to fruition, on the other hand, I feel a bit like he's biding his time and still really doing nothing at all.

My best friend's mother passed away suddenly. I grew up with her and she was very close to my family. It made me realize how fragile and fleeting life is, and how I must not take my own parents for granted. The time I have with them is precious.

my husband's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and has made a swift and steady decline. it has torn their family apart and reminded me of my own grief when my parents became ill. it makes me especially sad that my kids will have only one grandparent now.

Is 25 years of marriage a milestone? Our daughter starting high school certainly is. Personally, I have a new-found respect for her determination.

My wife and I became parents. It has greatly affected our lives, yet not as badly as I thought. I feared the worst, but the kid makes up for lost sleep and overall busy-ness.

I went to Taiwan. My brother went to Japan. These were the first steps in what will probably be a lifetime of a family diaspora of sorts. It was hard to not see him for a month, and knowing he was in Japan was different than him being just two hours away from my college. However, knowing he was happy just as I was in Taiwan made me realize that this sort of life is really the only option for both of us, even if parts of it are hard.

I can't think of any. That seems sad, but maybe it isn't if by "major milestone" we mean someone dying. Life just went on as it always had. Very little dramatic seems to happen in my family much of the time. Again, is that bad or good?

My sister in law had another baby, and my other sister in law is due any day now. It made me want a baby

I lost my job which tested and strengthened my family. I realized how important my job was to my self-esteem.

In all honesty, our family is still the same as we were a year ago. My father still lives in Dallas, for work's sake, and my mother and siblings live in Colorado. I don't feel closer or farther from them this year than last year. We're continuously living a routine life, and despite our distance, we are still family. If anything, it is a milestone to not have to worry about the connections of family because we know it's always there.

My sister recently got engaged. Whilst my feelings toward her fiancee are largely apathetic, I am pleased for her. However, her attitude has changed since the wedding planning started. It's like she is suddenly the focus of familial attention, a position I know she has always craved. Perhaps due to her being the middle child, and having suffered a lack of attention over the years as my brother and I have had problems that overshadowed her to a large extent. She has become very unreasonable (not just about the weddding) and diffcult to communicate with recently, and we have had rows. I think most of this is due to her attitude, but I also ave to look at my part in it and I think my conclusion is that I am also very difficult, and have problems with relationships in general. Maybe this is a lesson that I need to adjust my attitude, and be less difficult and selfish in relationships.

My oldest son started university but didn't like any of the things everyone thought he would. And my niece became an officer inthe IDF

My daughter got married and I see her less often. But I gained a son in law who is a Rabbi.

Grandma Ali had hip surgery; Daphne came to visit. Both helped me to realize how distant I am emotionally from Mom's family, while simultaneously emotionally entrenched. Strange/

No milestone with my family this year, nothing changed.

death has been the biggest changer in my family. no one in the immediate family died in 2009, but close friends and relatives are leaving this mortal coil at an alarming rate. because of this, i am faced with not knowing how to navigate on the planet without my parents. my mother was recently diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. my father was hospitalized earlier this year with pancreatitis followed by surgery to remove his gall bladder. each and every night, they go into their bedroom and say the rosary and pray, pray, pray. they are preparing to die, and i am not ready to let them go. am i being selfish?

I hosted my first Passover seder this year. Although my children weren't with me (they were with their mother this year), it was a wonderful meal. I planned, organized and coordinated all of the food, beverages and, most importantly, the seder itself. With 18 guests, it was quite the feat ... especially considering my ex-wife used to handle this sort of thing. I think it showed others, as well as myself, how capable I am of living a happy, successful and full life without my ex.

My father died last year. The pain and impact feels never ending. It has impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined. I realize he is/was my emotional center and I now need to learn how to create that for myself.

We started the year off with a drop in our business, which caused us to dig in and be more proactive. Prior to this we did no advertising, work would come in by word of mouth solely. We didn't even have a business card after 3 years of steady projects. We reacted by investing in a booth at Book Expo in New York, expensive but it marked a paradigm shift in how we see our business.

Robin and I connected with our half-brothers for the first time. It's amazing and wonderful to have family now. Real, blood, family. I feel connected.

We purchased a home. Haven't moved yet, but the psychic and financial impacts are profound- particularly regarding the positive changes this will represent for our one year-old daughter.

My mother-in-law was just diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer and now as a family we are all suddenly very well aware of our mortality. I have never experienced news or impending loss such as this and even though we all plan to fight hard so the my MIL can be with us for as long as possible, it's still so heartbreaking to think of anyone knowing their fate and having to live with it every day of their life. In addition, knowing the sadness that their fate causes everyone else and not wanting people to be sad for you. It's just an overwhelmingly horrible situation. The only good that can come from it; is a deeper appreciation for life; the life we have today and the life that we can experience today with those that are important to us.

Moving halfway across the country for school actually brought me closer to my family. My sister and I have a pretty solid relationship now, and I couldn't ask for anything better considering we never used to get along. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, I guess.

My younger brother, who I've always been concerned about, bought a house. I'm proud of him. I always worried about him, because of some kind of untreated depression he seems to exhibit. I feel--and I think my family feels--like he's on a good track. Maybe we're all gonna be OK.

I was diagnosed with cancer. It made me realize that there are no guarantees and that it is critical to experience life and stop and smell the roses because you could die tomorrow. It also made me aware how good of a man that my husband is, and that our relationship is very important and that it deserves kindness and attention.

Going through the last months of my grandmother's life and then being present for her death with my mother and aunt. I will never forget that weekend being locked up in that home with the four of us women, by my grandmother's side as she slipped more and more into a coma and ultimately to her death. It is something that I was so grateful to be there for and I know everyone else was too. It has made me, my mother, and my aunt much closer. We are still grieving, but mixed in are times of happy reminiscing and laughter. It has made me love my family even more, realize how precious every day is, and that our physical bodies are really just a shell that we leave behind in the end.

Money. When my sister quit her job to go back to school she didn't realize that there would be no more jobs when she finished her schooling. So now she's working a part-time job and barely making ends meet what with a mortgage payment, utility bills, and two children to raise.

I'm unclear as to how one can have a family milestone without much of a family.

My last remaining grandparent passed away. He was the spoke that kept a very dispersed family coming together regularly. My aunt,a single woman with no children, called me the other day to say that she hoped the small number of nieces and nephews stayed in touch because she would have no one to take care of her. She was relying on us.

I turned 35. I'm struggling with that a little bit. I feel like it's a rather trying time of my adulthood. I no longer have all of the freedom of my early 20's; I'm in the throes of career development AND child-bearing/rearing. I feel like there is a lot that is in flux and holding on to the "me" at the center feels slippery at times.

my sister is pregnant. i am so thrilled. i feel the connection. our family is continuing. new generation, new blood. i feel like i can take some of the happiness, some of the excitement as my own. silly. since the baby is my sister and aren's and will grow into its own being. but somehow, it is also mine and that's wonderful. for the first time, i can say without reservation, i can't wait to have children. i can't for my time to become a parent, to continue my family, to add new blood.

I can't really pinpoint one major milestone. I continued to deal with the fallout of my son's death, my husband's heart attack, my lack of work, my loneliness. I guess that kind of sums up my year.

I feel like my family is being ripped apart, there are so many things that are not real issues, but people make them into huge issues. We don't even speak to part fo the family, and I feel like there are a ton of secrets that no one is bothering to tell me about

I left the country! Opened my awareness and all i want to do is travel more now.

I got married - and wow, this changes life in many ways!

i learned that my cousin was not the person i thought she was. she severely hurt me on my wedding day. we have not spoken since and i feel as if it is dividing my family.

My sister became pregnant and is expecting her first child in the beginning of October. This would normally seem like a joyous event, but when you factor in that my sister is a recovering drug addict (with only a year under her belt), it's horrifyingly scary. We can't wait for this little boy, but we are also scared for her and him.

My grandfather died. This brought my family together and I realized how we can rely on one another in certain ways. I also realized that we are all individuals with distinct personalities and paths and that we can fully be and travel that individuality and still be a family. I also realized that the old passes and makes way for the new. That sometimes a tough exterior still cannot hide tenderness and affection. That we are nearing the death of history. That some will still be guardians of symbols and rituals that help make life better. That the human energy is love.

Both of my grandparents on my mother's side of the family passed away this year. I have spent nearly every Holiday with them and truly miss receiving my grandmother's letters each week. My grandfather was a wonderful person and I have to remember to continue to learn from them.

my baby boy turned one and I'm realizing that my days of having babies are truly over. I want them to be, but at the same time it's a real feeling of mortality, like I'm now too old to bare any more children. It's a little scary.

Our son moved back to town and while he is not living with us, there is a shift in family dynamics. It is actually rather fun and healthy and a fun part of the journey - and of course it wonderful that he is here.

We moved our son from a religious Jewish school to a Waldorf school, because unfortunately the Jewish school could not accommodate certain basic learning style needs. My child is no longer depressed, and he is now thriving in his academics. While we direly miss the Jewish school curriculum and community, the Waldorf school also poses a strong draw for parent participation in amazing community models. I am inclined to jump in and work on all types of Waldorf school needs / initiatives, but at the same time I am faced with deciding where to enroll my younger children beginning next year. Ugh.

Major milestone, son starting college. I have all the usual positive and negative feelings. I wish wish wish I wasn't glad on some level to see him go to acheive peace in the household. I miss him and his attaining this status makes me feel old. His unhappiness and consequent 'pulling' at us was difficult. I hope the recent transfer will be a success for him.

Only 6 weeks before my mom died, she raised $50,000 for cancer research. Her heroism - the way she exerted herself for a cause that would never help her, but only others - is something to live up to, and also a way in which I can always feel proud of my mom.

My sister got engaged. I've only met my future brother-in-law once, but he seems like a very good guy. My wife and I can't wait until the wedding, and not just because it means we get to take a trip, but because it's the best thing for my sister.

My schizophrenic cousin died of an aneurysm rupture. His wife (my actual cousin) had been living with/dealing with this for years (it was a late in life onset and before it was caught he had lost all of their life savings and home). It was a tough one because there was/is much sadness around it, yet much relief for her situation.

My mom was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes this year. It has changed the way my whole family (that still lives at my parent's house anyway) eats. The junk food has disappeared for the most part. If they could just start working some exercise of some kind into the daily routine I think it would be one of the best bad things to ever happen to our family.

My little bro had his first kid :) Hes real cute too! I think that it hasnt affected my too much, other than having all of my and my wifes family members increasingly reminding me that 'its your turn now'!

My mom took a leave of absence from work due to health reasons, which has led to early retirement. It has affected me in that I am much more aware of my mother's weaknesses, which is scary.

For the almost 5 years I have been with my fiance, I always questioned my family and how my parents raised me because of the way my mother in law behaved. I now realize that she embodies pure and unabashed evil. She tried to ruin my life, my relationship, and she called my parents liars. On another note: I pray that this year my Mom finds a companion because it would kill me if she was alone at my wedding.

My youngest sibling turned 18. Having such a large age gap between us, this has been a very momentous event for me. I have come to see my young siblings as young adults, and not the children that I remember.

My wife took the plunge and became a U.S. citizen. She was forced to renounce her citizenship in her country of birth, which was difficult for her. She really wanted to participate in the political process here and vote in the presidential election. I really respect that and it shows she is committed to being with me and participating in our democracy.

My husband, me, and our two college-aged kids got together in DC for a long weekend to celebrate the birthday of the youngest. The days were sweet and horrible at the same time. I realize now that we are shifting our relationships in a necessary way, in order for the young ones to grow and leave the nest and become themselves. The old ones- parents- must adapt. This realization makes me grieve and rejoice simultaneously.

Sames as Day 1: our son was born. Now if all that life is about is propogating genetic material, I'm now covered.

My brother and i have a strange relationship. We didn't have the typical older brother to younger brother relationship growing up, and i think there was a lot of underlying resentment as we got older. But we did have a positive conversation about it this year that has brought us closer. I wouldn't say all of the resentment has passed, but we have taken the proper steps to move forward and have hope to securing a great realtionship

I converted Orthodox after having a Conservative conversion for years. I fell that it will ground my family's future observance.

My son moved out. It is a mix of relief and lonliness, then of course who knows if it is permanent. My daughter might move back in. Sometimes my family feels so fractured, I love my kids so much, but how can a baby bird fly if it thinks Mom and Dad will let it stay in the nest the rest of their lives?

My boyfriend moved in and my daughter moved out. We are trying to 'combine' our families at a time when our children are beginning to create their own independent lives. It is a good time for new beginnings. I feel lucky to have someone in my life and a new relationship based on love and respect.

There have been no major family milestones so far this year. However, I feel more and more distant from my younger brother -- he's got his own life that he doesn't feel compelled to share actively with the rest of the family and I for one am tired of being the initiator in our relationship. I feel I've "given up" on him in a lot of ways. It makes me sad but it's easier for me this way. :(

Mom in nursing home. Relief -- she had been so sick and vulnerable. Sad -- for her, to lose my childhood coop.

In 2009, my dad retired from the FBI. This affected all of us because my dad no longer is extremely stressed out. He works from home now and LOVES it. It's a much better environment in my house. It also is cool to see my dad enjoying life and being able to buy some of the things he has always wanted to.

My wife graduated from beauty school. It is something she always wanted to do and having achieved this has made her realize she can accomplish anything.

My mother decided to quit drinking and join AA. I've been concerned about her drinking since I was a child and there were some tumultuous incidents leading up to her decision. It was hard for me to hear about family turmoil but be so far away from what was happening. her making this decision makes me proud and is a huge relief. Suddenly I'm not worried about and resentful of her.

My brother, 63, was let go by the institution for which he has worked since the age of 13. He has been admirably patient and positive about this event, but it is painful. Certainly the financial insecurity is an unexpected and daunting burden, especially at this time in our economy. I am proud of his choice to rise above bitterness and blame, and I am proud of his efforts to find other work rather than sinking into lethargy and depression. I hurt for him, and also am distressed that he can't be a cushion for me should I struggle financially.

There haven't really been many major mile stones this year. The most recent event that has occured is that my cousin, who is 23 so not a baby, has found out that she is pregnant. It's kind of caused shock as she isn't with the father and my nana and grandad are really upset by it as is my uncle. However I think, ok it happened, it isn't that big a deal alls anyone can do is be there for her. I would want them to do that for me if it were me in her shoes. That's not to say they won't do that for her, it's just hard with the distance thing.

We got a puppy! This is something that I've been personally looking forward to for many years. So far it's been a total joy and has been really rewarding to see his progression. The pros (his unconditional love and affection, teaching him stuff, laughing at his crazy personality, etc.) definitely out weigh the cons (pooping and peeing all over the house, unexpected vet bills, waking up at 5am to walk him (midnight and 3am to let just let him out), etc.).

the first thing that comes to mind is that the Jones' got their new house together in New Jersey, which is something i am excited and happy for them about, but as always with that realm, have a mix of emotions because i have so much judgement about my past and present relations with them, mostly judgements of how i have in the past fallen short in maintaining the relationships and to some extent continue to do so. but hope springs eternal, and i know that much of my judgement is my own hang-ups and old perspectives, so i will try to continue to focus on the positive, which is that it is a great thing for them and makes it easier for me to share holidays with them and that i am very much looking forward to visiting.

My brother's wife is pregnant. It's something I was almost a little sad about at first, but I realize that it's a great thing for our family. I wish my dad was here to see it. My brother's wife never thought she'd be able to have kids after cancer, and now we will have a new addition to the family. I hope I had as strong a relationship with him as I do with Emily, my niece.

this might be cheating a bit...my only male cousin died at age 25 in may of 2008. we hit the year mark of his death. we have too many people in my family that die very young. and we have such a small family compared to most. i think about death constantly.

My last remaining grandparent passed away last November. It has made me value and appreciate the relationships I was able to have with my grandmothers and reflect on the significant role they played in my life - I want my daughters to have those deep and valuable relationships with their grandparents

I learned how to communicate my feelings and be honest with myself and others. it feels great. Unfortunately, my mother hasn't yet learned and she gets defensive when i tell her how I feel. I realized that communication with her is a top priority and, although it seems like it will be very tough, I will do what it takes so that we can both appreciate the other's thoughts and needs.

I'm getting married next week. I'm feel both happy and guilty to be leaving home. My parents are not getting along well so I have no idea what will become of them in the near future - I had always been the mediator in the house...

My brother will wind up marrying his girlfriend, and ruining what is left of our family.

In May of 2009, my parents finalized their long awaited divorce. I'm not sure if that can be considered a milestone, but in my eyes, it changed a lot of things, so it definitely counts. Its affected me and my family in a lot more ways than I had ever imagined. The entire dynamic of our family has changed, and surprisingly I fight a lot more with my sisters now, about issues between my parents. Since those papers were finalized, we have started on a new path, and its been hard getting used to, and we still have a long way to go until our lives start to normalize again. Holidays are the hardest part....

we moved to a new neighorhood. same town, but new community. it's been really great - such nice neighbors, and an area a little less city-like than where we used to be. I feel like I'm in a much better position to listen to myself, find my own beat.

My father turned 80, we are so blessed to have him despite his many health problems, I am grateful every day.

My father in law passed away last winter. It was very tough on my wife, who was a primary caregiver a few days a week. At the same time, his death was a relief for her, since he was no longer suffering. It also enabled her to focus more on our kids and marriage. Unfortunately, her relationship with her mother has deteriorated, and we are not sure how to repair that relationship. Hopefully in a year things will be better.

Well, my fiancee and I got a house, that's pretty big. As for the wider families - her mom is getting remarried soon, my parents just seem to be chugging along, nothing momentus. No deaths, no babies. Probably the family member who is hitting the most personal career-helping milestones at the moment is my sister, who has been achieving in grad school and traveling quite a lot.

My husband has retired. He's gone into his 2nd career. Navigating his doubts and fears has been just another case of my adapting my behavior for his benefit. Never once has he asked me what he could do for my career. He's not a talker, so I have to watch him and read him, in order to explain and discuss topics.

I Live alone and I experienced a broken bone. Although medically a minor thing, it was major emotionally. It made me realize how precious my mobility is to me. Also is making me think about my future as I approach my "golden years". What will I do as I age and may not always be able to fend for myself. Scary with no answers.

Gus left Zilker and went to Ann Richards. At first she was very sad--in fact, she was pre-sad, as is her wont--about missing her friends and not making new ones. After a couple of weeks, though, she became extremely fired up about the teachers and the classes and looking at buildings for doghouse dormers and buttresses. It feels like the continuation of the way she soaks up knowledge. She also went to Camp Shakespeare, which, simply stated, changed her life. And therefore ours.

I realized my father has very little desire to be connected to me or the rest of the family. Before this year, I didn't understand why he moved halfway around the world, and had no interest in supporting my education or other life choices, now I realize that he just doesn't care as much as I would have liked or expected. This has helped me to move past it, and understand that I am free to move anywhere I please, and that I am not attached to "place", whether good or bad.

My father turned 70. Although he doesn't seem any different than he was at 69, for some reason this age feels very different. I know that's affected him -- he discussed it a bit right around the birthday. But it has also affected me -- it's made me much more aware of my parents' mortality and urged me to be more attentive to them, more careful with my words, to work on my adult relationship with them, and to make sure my parents know I appreciate them. I hope I was doing that before, but I feel a renewed urgency about it now.

I got a divorce. I got how I abandoned myself, and therfor my children followed my example. NEVER again!! I need to take care of me and be a great example for my children.

Mom had the bacterial infection attack her heart, she almost died. It didn't make me realize anything terribly pertinent other than I do love her as much as I thought and I'm the luckiest person around to be able to acknowledge my good fortune of being able to keep her around.

We got our first pet. It has brought greater happiness to our family. It has helped me to relax and laugh more.

My sister lost her job because of the recession. She is not in good health, so I had been helping her keep up on her insurance payments. Fortunately, Obama's plan helped cover part of her premiums, and now she has a new job, with new insurance.

My younger sister graduated from high school this year and now my parents are empty nesters. My sister and I are very different from one another so my parents had a very different experience with the relationship they share compared to the one we share. My sister and I, while always close, had lost touch as we were in very different part of our lives. Now that she is at my alma matter, she has been in touch with me, sharing her experiences and looking to me for advice. I have had to help my parents not be helicopter parents, even though I feel bad for telling them to back away. While they are feeling cut off from my sister, I am enjoying rebuilding our relationship.

The remarriage of my former husband has now institutionalized the brokenness of my nuclear family. I am trying to move forward and to be as neutral and open as possible to the idea that my children now have step-siblings and a step mother who will someday be the "aunts" and grandmother of my potential grandkids. It still feels yucky.

This milestone is kinda sad realizing that after having had a paranoid episode, my so called family and relatives would not have stay at their house and would prefer that I stay in a homeless shelter instead. I was depressed for a very long time.

Coming to Canada. I've become a different, better person.

My younger brother got engaged. I'm so excited for him, but I admit it is hard for me that I'm the eldest sibling, yet the only one who hasn't found someone. It definitely leaves me feel a bit frustrated.

My oldest son graduated college. I am very proud of him. It closes a chapter of my life. He moved to LA. I miss him, but know it was the right thing for him to do.

My 83 year old mother is becoming more frail, lives far from me and my family can't bear the thought of her passing on.

Two losses -- a cousin and an aunt. Continued to deepen my connection with those family members still on this earth.

Honestly, it's been a pretty stable year for us. I do wonder how my mom is going to deal with growing dissatisfaction for suburban life. How will I make a life for myself when everyone just wants to settle down?

Our seventeen year old got her period and her driver's license. What happened to our wonderfully accessible and easygoing first child?

My husband and I committed to "restarting" our marriage...being more committed to each other than to ourselves, thinking about decisions from the perspective of what's best for our marriage rather what we each individually want, and being more conscious of building our united front in the face of multiple demands. Since then, our marriage has done a complete 180. This is the marriage we both thought we would have right away, but struggled to attain in the first few years. Our love has been renewed, our mutual respect has deepened, and we have taken on a new ownership with our marriage that gives us both joy and energy. We are gratefully looking forward to celebrating our 5-year anniversary this Dec.

I researched, applied, was accepted and am now enrolled and attending classes at the Academy for Jewish Religion in California. Originally I was not certain that this was the path I should take, and if so, I was not going to apply until next year. It was a frightening leap to commit because of the stress it puts on our family. In my thinking and trying to decide whether to embark upon all of this, I could see very specifically the downsides and troubles--the super early mornings, the awful commute to UCLA and back, the juggling of time and schedules with the children, the grind of homework and stress of papers and tests, the financial stress and strain, and how managing all of those things saps my energy, attention and health. But I could not see concretely the fire of analysis and the feeding of curiosity and the intense satisfaction of intellectual work. Or how much I was craving being part of a community of prayerful Jews and learning the prayers to feel comfortable and at ease with all of those prayers. I am so happy!

I realized that my parents are my friends. That spending time with them isn't a chore, but a privilege. It wasn't a milestone in the traditional sense, but it has greatly enhanced my life.

My grandfather suffered a stroke that I had do deal with on the other side of the country. My uncle and younger sister both rose to the occasion, tending to my grandmother whose dementia left her unaware that my grandfather wasn't in the house--let alone in hospital/nursing home. I was thankful for having already made the decision to move back to the East Coast, though I still struggle with guilt for not visiting more often now that I'm only a 3 hour train ride away.

This one took me a long time thinking. What major milestone? No births, deaths, marriages, divorces, graduations, lottery winnings, departures to foreign lands. Then what? A sister published a book. Another sister was published in a book. A third sister has a new office for her practice. A brother was side-lined in his job but he wanted to retire early & his wife is working. Did we consider these events milestones? No, they seem to be part and parcel of how we grow up & live in the world. Here's what I wonder: do we deal with and celebrate our milestones in private? Growing up there were always family reunions and parties around christenings, graduations, weddings, funerals. Lots of food, music, people. Now? We seem to share one-on-one. And while that's a way to stay in touch and connected, no wonder I feel something is missing.

my mother in law was diagnosed with lung cancer - it's in the early stages, and on a 'normal' person they would treat it and it would be over - but she already has so many health complications that to treat the cancer would greatly compromise her health in other areas - so the best thing to do is nothing - which sucks - because the cancer will slowly get worse. one doctor went so far as to tell her that either the cancer - or her previous medical ailments will lead to her death within the next 5 years - no one wants to hear that! we are all worried about her and hope she will be the one to prove those doctors wrong!

My grandpa was admitted into the hospital because of a heart attack. He needed surgery and survived. He's eating healthier and trying to exercise more. It brought the whole family closer. it also made me realize how much I look up to him.

My mom decided to move! I will no longer be in my childhood home! It's good though, I am happy for her!

My grandmother passed away. She was a major part of our afmily as we do not have so many relatives. She basically represented my father's side of the family. She taught me a lot and inspired me to go into teaching. She loved life and faught until the end. She was stubborn and loved us all.

In the space of six weeks, my mother helped me recovery from brain surgery, then I flew 3000 miles to help her recover from surgery following her broken leg. I find it very hard to be taken care of, but I learned to accept it, and to recognize that needing my loved ones is not a sign of weakness. And I learned that I am not yet ready to deal with the idea that one day, my mother will be unable to take care of herself.

My cousin got married in the philippines and my family flew out there to be a part of it. I learned so much about the human body, what jetlag can do. In addition to physical limitations, I saw the limitless opportunities my parents gave me by leaving their country. I have a new appreciation for my parents' and family's courage to leave home and go to a new land with hopes for a better future for the generations to come. I know now too that despite what happens with my relationships in life, my family will always be an anchor point that makes me strong, sensitive, loving, and rich.

an extended family member passed away. she had been a part of our family since before I was born. she had gotten pretty ill towards the end, and ended up passing away pretty quickly. I was much sadder than I thought I'd be. she had always been there, unfortunately in the background, but there none-the-less. and now there is quite a void. I wish I had been closer to her...

My baby sister got her Ph.D. We all went for the ceremony and to celebrate. It's very gratifying to see the youngest of us work so hard and make her dreams come true.

There have been too many for this to be an easy choice. I'll go with my sister running away. It was a difficult time because we barely heard from her for the first month or so that she was gone. I suppose it showed me just how separated from my family I have become. And that my family will never understand how to embrace me and support me on any real level.

In addition to getting married, we created a new home. We have a dog who often serves as a reminder not to take everything so seriously, and that there's always more than one thing to smile about.

I got married last spring and it has brought my family closer together and we gained another.

We celebrated my parents' 60th wedding anniversary. I'm so glad that aside from my mother's failing eyesight, they are in great health mentally and physically. Even so, it's hard not to think about how long a time 60 years is, and so, how limited the number of years remaining has to be. I wish they had been able to find more happiness in each other in those 60 years than they have, yet maybe it's an even greater indication of how deep their love for each other must be, that they have stayed together all those 60 years anyway.

I have learned this year that EVERY DAY is a major milestone !!!!! Every day that we wake up is a special day !!! Every day is a gift from G'd. Every day is a day to rejoice and be thankful for the people in our livesk, for our health, and for our being able to be productive. If I can touch a child through my teaching --- if I can make my grandchildren laugh - if I can reaffirm my love for my sons, daughters and husband --- That is a MILESTONE>

My family and I took a trip to Disneyland and San Diego. It brought us all together much closer. Not so much the material aspect of the trip, but the fact that I told them it would happen, and lived up to my word.

Helping my autistic son develop some of the skills he needs changed everyone. It of course changed that son, and continues to change him, as my wife and I work with him regularly so he can expand and grow even more. It changed our other sons too. They have their own issues, and the technqiques my wife and I are learning work for all kids. But mostly, it changed me and my wife. We got our parenting back again. We discovered and continue to discover ways to make our house the kind of home in which we want our kids to grow up.

New additions to the family and new additions on the way-always significant when a new baby arrives to bring joy to all of us who love him and/or her. Nothing has affected me more in my life than having the blessing of children to make me complete and happy as a wife, a mother, in my career and in my life.

My family experienced a huge loss this year with the passing of my mother-in-law. The complete cycle of the process regarding my mother-in-laws health issues had me look closer to my father and his aging health issues. I see that he is now at a different stage of his life - as he watches people his age pass on and confronts an inevitable process for himself too. I will respect this loss and try to honr her life by dedicating more time to my own aging family.

My brother and sister-in-law moved across the country. I don't know if we'll ever live in the same city again, after being in the same place for over 3 years. It makes me feel more grown up- not in a good way- to be far from family. I'm the lone west coaster in an east coast (of the midwest) family. As much as it will be sad to one day leave San Francisco, it seems like an inevitability. Once I have a family, I won't want to be so far.

Milestones are mushrooming for us. My beloved and I (the miniature yet functional wing of the family) left our jobs as lawyers and moved to SF; my mother is marrying a magnificent man she dated in the 60s; we lost two beautiful souls, my grandfather and my aunt, and we're continuously met and dazzled by my father's accomplishments ten years after his death.

My father underwent a kidney transplant this year. It was the most amazing gift (from my aunt, who is not a blood relative!) that we could imagine. He has been healing slowly and we are not out of the woods yet, but seems to be steadily recovering from kidney failure. It is a miracle. But, its also incredibly scary and definitely brings my father's mortality in the limelight (and not for the first time). The most positive affect is that this sheds the light of priority on all of my relationships and actions. Life is too short to not be kind and attentive to my loved ones. Every moment is important, and it is helpful to stay focused on appreciating and enjoying living fully for today, and hope that there might be many chances to do so in the future.

My husband decided to go to rehab. I had no idea that problems were as formidable as they were. My marriage and husband both nearly died....now I think that there is some hope.

Negatively. And that's all I can say for now.


I bought my first house!! It is a wonderful and mature feeling of security.

My brother's girlfriend of a few years left him to return to her home country. we are all trying to be there for him and for some reason, my brother turned to me to be a communication point about how he was doing for me to relay the info to our family. Initially I was able to be there for him pretty frequently. My life got busy with a move, starting school, and my own relationship and my interactions with him grew less and less. I feel like I want to contiue to be there for him more and check in with how he is feeling and moving on. so how it affected me...I felt good for being confided in and needed by my brother. I needed to spend more time with him and in S.F. I had to support my mom in conforting her with information and smoldering her negative thoughts about the situation. and now I feel like I have been sub par at being a supportive sister.

My father turned 80. I know that our time together is very limited and I want to make the most of it.

My dog was killed by a car in February of this past year. It was an awful time for all of us. She was our light, our soul, she was the one being who kept our family whole. We like to say that she was our angel who blinked suddenly into our lives full of energy and happiness and then blinked out just as quickly.

My grandfather died. Now everything will change. We need to keep him inside our hearts, his intelligence and life's experience, but we will be obliged to sell his dream (the farm were he worked for his entire life). The actual family interests don't macth with his old dream...

The loss of Nana has made me a stronger man and a better man. She has inspired me to do my best. I love and miss her.

My mother-in-law died this past April. She was such a warm and sweet woman - always so appreciative. She knew how to make people feel loved and cared about. She was a great cook and a wonderful mother to my husband. I had never felt that kind of unconditional love in my life when growing up. To hear the stories and see the love that people had for her, at the funeral, I realized how important it is to let people know you love them. And how important it is to love. It was something I lacked from my own mother. I'm trying to be a warmer person. I want my children to know how much I love them - unconditionally.

For the first time in years, my family and I finally saw eye to eye. This is the first time we're acting like a family, and it gives me hope for the future to come.

I graduated undergraduate. This was such a huge accomplishment. I felt proud of myself for the first time in a long time and I could see how genuinely happy my family was, which was nice because of the hard times we have been having due to the economy.

My parents finally sold and moved out of the house they had lived in all 30 years of my life. I helped them pack up their stuff, sorting through countless memorabilia from my childhood. My mom saved literally everything of mine - report cards,photos, terrible drawings from when I was 6 years old, Barbie dolls, fingerpaintings, etc. For some reason, seeing photos of myself as a little child and my drawings and writings, etc. made me mourn for my loss of innocence, my optimism and innate happiness. In fact, it makes me tear up now to think about my lost innocence and lost potential. Saying goodbye to my house was like literally packing up my childhood dreams. Made me realize that it's time to suck it up and be a real grownup.

I became a mother!! It's the most amazing, beautiful, wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. My husband and I are so in love and brought a new life into the world. Nothing could be more incredible!! Our lives are forever changed and we have never been more in love with each other and our daughter.

My younger brother came back home. A rebel rebel, his take on the world & on his life & his choice of profession & lifestyle has wreaked some sort of havoc within my nuclear family (though at the same time it has lifted some parental presure off of me). It forced me to confront ghosts of family matters past, & to confront my parents. I went too far & it tingles my heart with regret.

Thank God, there were none! (When your parents are in their 80s, the only possible milestones are bad, bad, bad).

The financial crisis brought my dad's small business close to closure. He wasn't sure how he could pay his employees and was days away from loosing everything he had worked for the last 40 years to build. If that had happened I would have been the only one in my family who was gainfully employed since my dad, mom, and sister all work for our family business. This made me realize how fragile everything really is.

Jordan was born. My family is happier. She is the center of attention. And a joy. I have more responsibility to be present.

My uncle was diagnosed with cancer and an aunt's Alzheimer disease has progressed to its last stages. I feel as though my past -- my childhood -- is dying out.

My family and I aren't really close. I dont know how to answer this. I think maybe... that we got a bit closer in the days and weeks before I moved out... but... I'm still very unsure. My mom and I talk everyday now. Just about little things. Nothing important. What We had for dinner, how clean the house is, what I'm doing this weekend. You know. Its probably the most my mother and I have spoken since I was about 10; when I found friends and movies, and she found staying at home and Better Homes And Gardens Magazine. I'm glad we're speaking.

My mother turned 85 this year. Dad has been gone many years. I find myself reevaluating my relationship with mom and my sister and reminding myself life is to short. I make a bigger effort to not get angry with her forgetfulness or her judgemental attitude.

My daughter after years pof battleing with ex Her dad decided to move with him,,,,there is a lesson for all involved,,,,and God is watching and gives me strenght in this opportune time

I got married, my brother finally is moving out of my mom's house, my mom is getting married and my dad and step-mom are moving. All I can say is my life I remember as a child has somehow disappeared. And my life now is strange and full of surprises. Which isn't always a bad thing.

Besides Brycie's death in utero, all else pales, but Zanie at age 2 is a delight with his singing and dancing of joy at this world. I feel both daily.

A grandson was born. He will never know his wonderful grandfather. What a pity. I realize that even people (children) who weren't born when Henry was around will miss him.

my nephew has hardly been in touch, and i don't have a phone number for him.. it's like a part of me is missing

My mother's 60th birthday got me thinking: about my own independence, whether I am a good daughter, whether I will be a good mother someday. It also confirmed to me that I do very much want to be a mother myself.

2009 wasn't a year for major family milestones. In fact, my family tends towards the stable in any year. But I suppose that our family dynamic shifted-- subtly and dramatically--when I graduated from college and moved in with my boyfriend of four years. My parents and I had open talks about why he and I wanted to move in together and how they felt about it. They were incredibly supportive in helping us to set up shop. But it was a milestone, for certain--I moved out of my parent's home and into that of my partner, just as my parents once did, and their parents before them. This was no ordinary college move-in day.

My sister graduated from college after several discouraging false starts. She double majored and rocked a nearly perfect GPA. My family could finally see her for what she is and what she is becoming, which is a brilliant writer--after years of believing she would be a burn out. I have hope again of re-establishing the partnership we had when we were younger. I feel less alone.

Our daughter Lindsay has found her man and they are engaged to be married! This is a real departure from anything else that has ever happened to Annie or I. Children grow and become a little more independent but when you "give" your daughter away for the safekeeping for the rest of her life. It makes you realize how much the rest of your life is going to be different...not bad, just different. If its going to be so different maybe its time to start changing to address this new life!

my dad was diagnosed with critical, unpredictable terminal physical ailements. it has made me try to connect more fuklly with him. i have not done enough to make rthat connection. i must do more.

After experiencing the pain and complications of going through therapy and dealing with a major health issue, my family got much closer, our communication much stronger and their significance in my life more prominent. I understand now what family means. It took longer than I thought for us to allow ourselves to grow from the experience, but it happened and that's all that matters.

This year was all milestones for our family. Two marriages and one pregnancy -- pretty life altering happenings, or mitzvot. I am getting married, my older brother is recently married, and my eldest brothers and his wife are pregnant. There is a lot of joy, but there is also some shock, and a even some sorrow as our childhood's seem to fade to black.

i spent thanksgiving with my dad and his family for the first time in about 20 years. my aunt made the same kugel that my bubbie used to make when i was a kid, i went shopping with another aunt and my sister, and i spent a lot of time just sitting around watching tv with my dad. this was another milestone in the now seven years of my dad's sobriety. i've seen him more in those 7 years than i had in the 12 years between then and when my parents divorced.

Milestone? Is it a milestone when I finally started putting boundaries in place for the dysfunction that is my family? No longer getting involved in my my parents' bad marriage or letting my brother off-the-hook for his bad behavior? These boundaries are supposed to make me healthier (in the long run) but in the short term, it's a struggle every day.

I got married and it's fabulous.

There was not too many major events in my family. David, my son lost his job. It was not related to the recession. David has never had trouble finding a new position. I was uncertain how his ability to find new work would be impacted because of the recession. He has been working in temp jobs and considering starting his accounting practice. He is working through the process.

I am communicating more with my mom. Slowly, but surely.

My cousin tried to commit suicide. It made me think a lot about what my family will look like 30 years from now-- and reminded me that my choice of spouse will be very significant.

My beloved Uncle died. He was the youngest of 5 and was the patriarch of the family. A huge loss

My grandmother turned 80 and my parents remodeled the kitchen (something they've been talking about incessantly for at least a decade), but I don't think that's what you're after. I would say that the most difficult experience we've dealt with as a family this year was the growing fact that we're no longer close to my mother's brother and his wife. We've had to mourn the loss of their company and reunite as a smaller, immediate family. This year we'll be having a Thanksgiving with just the four of us--at a restaurant--and I can't help but feel that it's somehow not right. I sometimes wish that I could have the kind of relationship with uncles, aunts and cousins that some other people enjoy, but at the same time, I'm not sure that I'm ever willing to work to make that happen.

I moved away from home, and back to the united states. My family is living without me for the first time, and I am living without them. We are all growing up, together and apart.

I graduated, and nobody died

We saw family members and friends die. Mortality. There's a profound culture of aversion out there - we're never really prepared. Wish I knew the best direction.

My sister graduated from college and my family congregated in Florida for an extended family weekend. This trip was a wonderful reminder of how despite death, divorce, health problems, and mental illness, my family remains resilient, strong, and close because of these experiences. It's incredible. And I'm so lucky.

death in the family brought use closer together... temporarily.

First, my husband and I got to see Israel together. It was his first time, and was an incredibly inspiring experience watching him take in everything. Being a staff person on the mission allowed me to meet and interact with many people I would not have otherwise met. Second, my son started college. It's hard to believe how quickly time has flown since he was a baby, a toddler, in kindergarden...makes me realize how important and special each day is.

Though events and milestones didn't necessarily happen with my family, I have become more honest with my family about the financial trouble that I was in in terms of credit card debt. I was always petrified of how ashamed and disappointed they would be with me. There came a point where I had to be honest and tell them about my debt. They were understandably upset but helped me get through it and helped me get back on the right track towards financial security.

My father passed away and we had to move my mom back to southern California near me and my sister. I addition, their finances were a mess so my sister and I had to handle the estate and get mom a bank account, transfer funds, get an apartment, pick up her car, etc. It's odd when you end up being a parent to your parent.

2009 marks the year when my father will finally retire. Apparently it is not a big deal mainly because everyone sees it coming... However, the secondary consequences of it will be deep. The job from which he'll retire has been his job for 24 or 26 years, much more than I have lived, for example. In that same line, unemployment has not shown its face in the last three decades. A sudden scenario of freedom, availability of time and reduced income force the family to rethink our strategy as a whole, as well as coming up for new ways to make our increasing family-time valuable.

Same as question 1, speaking to my brother after ten years. Hearing his voice and his humor but also his extreme pain from the financial trauma he's experienced at the hands of my parents, and recognizing that being disowned all these years was a blessing: that my path was a different one so that I could become who I needed to be. But also realizing that to have the love and support of an immediate family member is different than what even my amazing friends can give me. It's primitive and healing in a very dynamic way. Speaking with my brother instantly stripped away many false views I had about my own self worth. I am determined to find a way to heal the rifts in my family, to make "family" a place of genuine loving care.

My mom turned 70 and her dad turned 95. Several thoughts arise. what's life going to be like without them? Both of them were younger than I am now when they had their child and I am still childless. What would it be like to be their age and without children?

Daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I realize time is slipping by and I must spend quality time with my daughter...NOW

My youngest son went to 1st grade. It's time for me to figure out what's next.

My twin sister brought her son into the world. Watching her go through her pregnancy and all the struggles in getting pregnant made me realize how precious life is. It's allowed me to admit that i want a marraige and family more than anything. Watching her raise her son has been the greatest experience ever. She has grown up so much and is an AMAZING mother. I know my mom would have been so proud of her.

I suppose the closest thing to a milestone was my grandmother moving into an assisted living facility and away from her son and daughter-in-law, with whom she lived for years. It was a terrible, mutually unhappy relationship, and I've watched them all evolve from it -- in some ways better, in some ways worse. It makes me think a lot about how my life and relationship with family will change as I age, and I hope the kind of mutual resentment I see them struggle with never exists between me and my children. And I never want to be put away, or alone and so...not necessary.

without my father, life will never be the same..the biggest milestone was my nephew being born and honoring my fathers name...

My grandpa Julie passed away. He had a long life and was more loved than anyone I've ever known. For his 95th and final birthday, all his relatives and friends gathered for a weekend of celebrating Julie's life and his wonderfulness. It was incredible--the speeches, the remininscing--no better way to spend a last birthday, I bet. He is very missed but remembered with great fondness and no regrets.

My third son was born in January. He has brought opportunities for joy, happiness, empathy, patience, gratitude, and nurturing to each of the members of our family. Tobias was named for my cousin's husband who passed suddenly at only 42 years. Toby has honored the spirit of his namesake and I am deeply grateful for a healthy, spirited boy!

My partner got a job and then it turned into a really rough, petty, disrespectful situation but we were so in need of the money she was making that she had to stay with it until they didn't renew her contract (read, they hired their friend). She suffered a lot and I'm so sorry she had to go through that. I really appreciated her sticking with it because we so badly needed the money - but at the same time, it really sucked. She was going through it, and yet I was getting tired of hearing about how awful it was because I couldn't just say - "quit - we'll figure it out!" Thank you Sarah for sticking with it and it is my biggest wish that you never have to go through anything remotely like that again!

My son got together with all of my brothers' and sister's children for the first time. It was powerful to see the bond between the cousins that transcended their geography.

My mother died. Her death brought closure to a healing process between us. I felt bereft, relieved and oddly calm though at times I missed her intensely. It bumped me up as the matriarch of the family. I am coming to terms with this, while maintaining my wild child inside.

A lot has happened in the last year. I got married, my husband started a new company, I was laid off, started a new job, had to quit that job because the supervisor was unbareable and found another new job. I also got my BA degree. This past year has been very stressful for my husband and I and I think it has brought us closer together.

Both my brother and my wife's sister are expecting their first children in November. This has made me think more about having children of my own. I am almost 34 years old and for the first time in my life, I feel like time is slipping away. I don't want to slip to fast without knowing what it is like to be a father.

My dad had 2 surgeries for melanoma. This has brought my dad, myself and brother closer together.

I am not sure. I have a tiny and distant family. My parents coming to my wedding was a huge milestone.

My grandad had a stroke. A mild one, but still a stroke. We were all so worried about him, and mom had to go through some bad days 'cause she had to take care of him and granma all by herself. Grandpa is all better now. :)

I'm getting over the fact that we're not going to have kids. It's just not going to happen. It was probably denial that I ever thought it was going to happen. I'm just moving on with bits of my life. I think P is too.

Again, the death of my husband in January. My answer to number one is the same as the answer to this question.

My daughter moved to boarding school closer to me. This changes the way I am a parent to her and my responsibilities. I am glad that she moved but the transition is challenging at the same time.

my mom became an email user and this has opened up an entire new dimension for our relationship and also the joint relationship for my sisters and i with my mom..there's a different openness and window into each other that we reveal through this mode of communication..

No milestones. No family. These questions are all very family oriented. That's great, but not everyone has a family.

Julian took a leap forward from being a little boy to being a bigger boy, his wisdom and intelligence and athletic ability grew wonderfully and we found what seems to be a great school for him. He and I grew very close this summer, bonding through talking and traveling and biking and swimming.

Nearly losing my grandfather's land made me realize how connected I am to that land and nature as a whole. It has helped me to think more clearly about the kind of life path I want to follow.

Cancer diagnosis. I became a survivor. Made all the "little stuff" just little stupid stuff.

My sister moved to New Mexico and I moved to NYC. My mom stayed in Wisconsin. For the first time, the trio was fully divided (only in a physical sense, of course). This makes me feel old and scared.

My mother moved back home after being away for seven years. She had been gone so long that I forgot how nice it is to have a mother around even when you are an adult. I feel such a sense of warmth and security knowing that she is here if I need her.

my grandpa moved to assisted living. it is difficult to see him age and to see how one particular family member doesn't care.

The fact that all my family is grown up we are no longer kids and adults all of us are adults. Its hard to belive that time has gone by so fast; when we look around we dont know where it has gone. Though we look foward to the future and the many years ahead of us.I has affected me by wanting to claim a stake as an accomplished adult with in my family.

I don't know that it's a milestone, per se, but having my mother get in a bad accident certainly shifted responsibilities and transitioned me more into a parental role. I've had to handle hospitals, doctors, the healthcare system, and my parents' finances temporarily. I'm not happy about it, I'm not ready to be the responsible one, but I feel very much obligated to help out and do so with love and gratitude for everything they've ever done for me. But it's still been rough coming to terms with it and also thinking about how children will similarly change my roles, responsibilities and daily freedoms. I'm not ready for it yet, but apparently it's ready for me.

The balance and distribution of power in my complex family has shifted, and that has been both difficult and freeing.

My son graduated from High School and started the Junior College. This has made me aware of how quickly my children are growing up. I am now thinking about what I can do for myself for the future. I can come first soon, which is quite interesting and also a little weird. I'm not quite sure how to proceed. I feel like I am in a void.

My sisters understood that my care of our Mom in our home was the best thing I could have done. It is good to know that they now realize that my intentions and instincts were heartfelt and right.

Divorce - affected myself, my ex, and my two children. The boys are dealing with it well, although not liking the idea that Daddy has a girlfriend that's NOT their mom. I'm comfortable with where I am now, and happy that it worked out the way it did.

It's been tough accepting some realities about circumstances. It's made me feel at times lonely and at times liberated. But somehow still always lucky.

Thats just it. We became a family. Having a baby has changed the dynamics of my husband and I's relationship. We thought we were a family before but now we have this child, that is dependent on us, that we both look out for and worry over. its bonded us to each other in an amazing way. You would never know until you know? you know?

My divorce from my wife became final. It gave me an opportunity to close the legal process and spend all my time on the emotional closure.

My brother has finally made it to the fire academy. He has been working on this for 10 years. The downside is that he is stressed and is taking it out on everyone in the family.

My sister got pregnant. I feel like life is moving on with or without me.

The death of our daughter has rocked us to the core. Thank goodness that we have two healthy boys and that our relationship has such a strong foundation. It affects me every day in different ways and will continue to the rest of my life.

My parents celebrated their 45 wedding anniversary. I kind of can't believe they made it. I wanted them to get divorced when I was about ten. Until I was about 30.

My grandmother died on the second day of Rosh Hashana and ended an era of family with a matri/patriarch at the center holding things together. It's now up to me to define the relationships I want to have with my cousins and aunts/uncles. Another step toward real adulthood - whatever that is.

My family is pretty vanilla. As my father frequently says, "no news is good news". That said, my (Great) Uncle died of a heart attack this year while on the toilet. This image made me think a lot about mortality and the inevitability of death. Both my Grandmothers are older and it is sad knowing that soon my parents will each have to deal with a major loss. This kind of emotional vulnerability is not something that is common in our family, a rather emotionally repressed German family.

The first thing that comes to mind is my uncle being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a few months ago. It's a very debilitating disease, though luckily right now it's at a beginning stage and he's doing okay. This news came at a time when my cousin was being treated for depression, and soon afterword my aunt had surgery to remove a cancerous growth. I hope they all know that I care a lot about them and hope that their lives get easier soon.

In two days I fly down to Florida to say goodbye to my Grandmother. Grandma. Jeanne Iseman. She was, is and always will be a hero to me. She is one of the strongest, most forthright people I know. Sometimes to a fault. A true matriarch, she's led our family with steadfast love and fairness. She has so many stories, I wish I had been able to spend more time with her to hear them all, but I know the spirit in those stories is carried on in me. When I went to Israel in August 2008 for the first time, I brought her back a salt crystal from The Dead Sea. Arrest me if you must, but I had to get that for her. Grandma never got to go in The Dead Sea when she went to Israel because the sun had heated the sand up so intensely that it was literally impossible to cross to the sand without literally burning your feet. Fresh wounds don't do so well in that body of water, I can attest. I could tell she always regretted that, so I had made this my main mission for my trip. I forgot to bring her the salt last year on my annual visit so my plan was to bring it to her when I went down to Florida this winter. Unfortunately she entered hospice yesterday, the liver cancer is winning and she won't make it to winter, maybe not even next week. I'm visiting my mom in MD right now and am not at my apartment in CA, so my wonderful roommate has shipped the crystal down to Florida for me so that I can give it to Grandma when I see her this weekend. I'm going to tell her everything I have going on in my life right now, a life that I finally love, because she's told me how much she loves hearing about my "adventures" as she's called them. I'm going to hug her. I'm going to give her the salt crystal and explain it's origin. I'm going to cry. And I'm going to love her. Forever.

We recently celebrated my son's bar mitzvah. It was a wonderful triumph for my husband, myself and our children, my little family. We were all loving, warm and very personable. What we portrayed to others is that we are the perfect family. The next day, when the usual sibling rivalry started and I started to wonder about the great lie we had shown others, the following thought struck home. Yes, we are the perfect family- it is true and not a lie, but we are mulifaceted and there are so many sides to our family, all of it true.

The major milestone is I left my sister and her troubled world behind. My children are growing and changing beautifully. I'm saddened by my sister's irreversible depression. She's gone too far and she will never come back. It's like death while my children are life, hope and possibility. Am I a bad person?

My youngest daughter completed her 1st year of college and I am so very proud of her, she also traveled to Israel with Birthright. Out of my 3 children, she seems to be on the right path at the right time-- having amazing experiences that she shares with me

My family dispersed across 3 different states, with anchors in the Midwest and West. Now I'm living nostalgic, with a smile on my face- though uncertain if I'm happy, however I find myself happy with the past (as if to find a working happiness with anything reminiscent of familiar and experienced). My family is supportive, is amazing- and strong, but I wonder if my mind and distance has imagined our connections to be stronger than reality. We are making do, and I have started to learn to smile at everything.

My sister graduated from Grad School and moved back to Chicago. We are now closer than ever.

My brother gave birth to my beautiful nephew.

My boyfriend became an integral part of the family this year. While I'm studying abroad he has maintained a close relationship with my parents. They had to put our poodle of 15 years down this month. This weekend he is bringing his dog up to stay with them for the weekend.

My cousin Adam graduated middle school with the help of my mom advocating for him after he got suspended. I also tutored him at this time, but I think that only helped shore up his self-confidence while out of class. My family made a big effort for him and my aunt, who made a suicide attempt during his suspension. Although we were able to help them through that tough time, it exhausted our supply of sympathy and charity for them, considering that my aunt then went on to lie to get money from my mom. Adam's a decent kid, and it's a shame he's in such a shitty situation at home.

My father was diagnosed this week with prostate cancer as a result of pre-op screenings for back surgery (which he had in August). Thanks to this other problem, the cancer was detected early. It's made me realize how important each day is and that all things *do* happen for a reason; even when we're not sure what that reason is at the time.

I almost lost my apartment and the economy sucks. I work hard every day but why?

Ken becoming ill and Helen's death-took the concept of parents mortality from the theoretical into the real. Intentionally visiting every 6 weeks or so, no longer feeling it as obligatory (if I ever did?) but rather truly important. No longer resenting anything, really, about them, but just accepting wherever they are at and loving them unconditionally.

We are all so independent now, I am realizing. And we all can land on our feet. My parents are rediscovering each other in this empty nest phase of their lives, and I think they still like each other. My cancer was a huge milestone, and the family softened and changed around the challenge.

We went from a couple to a family! It has changed my life forever and for the good. It is teaching me to give and give more. To be present and vulnerable. It is helping me deal with the past and live in the present. Eliana is the greatest gift G-d could give me.

Land that was given to us in community, was lost as a friend declared bankruptcy.

My whole life has changed. after landing my dream job in Indonesia one of my twin daughters was diagnosed with a brain tumor. two surgeries later, a move back to the US and leaving the dream job and starting her on chemotherapy -- I'm struggling with who I am and what I believe more than ever. I've always defined myself by my job and commitment to public health-- but now it seems irrelevant. I want time wiht my girls, i want my marriage to improve-- we are so stressed and scared that we are angry at eachother. What will I do with my life-- I''m only 30, and feel like I'm 50. how do you live knowing the tumor could grow or not respond to chemo and she could die

My parents' 4oth wedding anniversary -- I raided their stash of old photos to help my siblings (and siblings-in-law) create a photo album to commemorate the event. We gave it to them while vacationing together at a cottage. Though I don't have (more like still looking for) a long-term partner/Basheret, the walk through their history inspired me to (once I/future We get there) work for the kind of partnership and full life they have had together.

My second son is now independent. The nest is growing emptier.

My siblings and I are realizing that our parents are slowly changing--not just in the limiting of their abilities, but in other ways. My dad had a minor stroke 2 or 3 years ago. Not a big deal then, but in the last year, he has slowly been losing his ability to speak thoughts fluidly. He was always an adult of few words, but when your sparse prose is your choice, that's different. When the gate of communication starts to close, slowly but inexorably, every word carries more weight. Even though it's still about the weather or the Vikings, we find ourselves listening more than ever to every hard-fought word.

I am turning 45, and we adopted a 7 month old baby girl. I am torn between being a mother (a job clearly meant for youth!) and moving forward with my own goals for the second half of my own life. It affects my family in that I am in two different places mentally and emotionally and haven't yet found a balance.

Both my parents and my in-laws are dealing with more and more age-related problems. My husband and I are worried about their well being and what the future holds. I think this has made us both focus on being closer to the four parents/in-laws. To some extent it has muted conflicts that we have had in the past. But it makes us worry about the future.

I can't think of a major milestone that DIDN'T happen in my family in 2009. Sara had her first baby - and the first grandbaby of the next generation - Scott got married (a major milestone for the universe), Taylor got ENGAGED (an even more surprising event), David and Ann got pregnant. There were big birthdays (25 for me, 50 for Mom and Dad), big tennis matches and big wedding showers. In all of these, I think they've affected me because I feel like I can't keep up. Like the events in my life don't compare in magnitude to the decisions and changes happening all around me. I feel as though I'm stagnant in a lot of ways, and that the only real activity or changes that happen for me are through work. It's frustrating because I DESPERATELY want to change that.

My dad's fiancee's (of 15 yrs) son got married. It was a big family affair, and I felt, as always, an outsider. Even the Rosh Hashana dinner last week, it is so apparent what a misfit I am. At least now, my husband is a misfit right along with me.

I will be turning 40 at the end of 2009. I hope that my family and friends celebrate this milestone with me, since I am the last in my group to turn 40. My birthday will be a true test of who my real friends are.

My son's Bar Mitzvah was a true family affair and touched all of our lives in many ways. It took all of us to make it happen and brought us together in a very special way. It was a time I will never forget.

my mom went out to AZ to see my brother and his family. i hadnt realized it had been 2.5 years since she'd seen them. we live in florida. they never come. neither do i go out there. i havent seen my niece and nephew since my grandmother was dying in 06 and i went out for a few days to see her for the last time. the milestone was, my mom went out there a couple weeks ago and called me. she's like, hmm, almost no connection. and she kind of let go. she let go of some guilt and some pain. guilt, i think. i mean, love is really a two way street. it doesnt have to be even, but there has to be SOMETHING returning. she returned on monday. on friday my brother called to "see if she got home ok." this is a facing. a facing that whoever's "fault" it is, we are not close.

my mother's 70th birthday i had a fight with my sister. we were very angry it made me deeply sad and it raised many questions about the family and my role in the world.

Both my half sister and my brother got married this year, within a year of my wedding. I am so happy to see both of them with such amazing partners who make them so happy. I'm scared for them too, in a way - marriage opens up a whole other world of possible ways to be hurt. My own marriage isn't going quite the way I thought it would, so I want to protect my siblings from that.

I got married! That really shaped so much of the year and is still shaping me. I am learning more about it and how to decide things and the impact of that every day.

My husband and I finalized our divorce, which has been difficult for both of our families. My parents are very worried about my future plans and well-being.

We had to put my Grandma in a home a couple years ago. At first she seemed okay and she would talk to us, read her books and be able to still go out with us. Now, its becoming worse. She isn't able to go out anymore, doesn't remember a lot and cries all the time. It's very hard and am afraid we are losing her. It's definitely brought me and my family closer and are able to be there for each other and talk about it.

We had finally painted the house and it is a beauty. It feels like you are coming to your house, and you can enjoy all your hard work!

Due to a health issue my wife had, we decided not to have anymore children. I think it helped us refocus on the life we have, not the one we could have.

A major milestone was my Uncle's unveiling. I didn't realize just how much of an influence my uncle had on my life until after his death. He was a very unique character, and showed me how you can make whatever you want out of your life. Everyday for about 3 months after his death, I wore at least one article of his clothing / jewelry, which I thought would remind me of him. It worked, but I was also amazed at just how many places and sights around NYC reminded me of him. It was a privilege to have him in my life. I am so glad that I was able to spend as much time with him as I did (especially both as bachelors in NYC), and am comforted in knowing what a blessing it is to have had someone who is impossible to forget.

My younger sister had a baby. It has been an amazing experience becoming an aunt, watching her become a mom, and my parents become grandparents. It only makes me want to have my own kids more.

I was able to, with aid from a very special friend, pay down serious debt and am now realigning my priorities. I am downsizing and being a great deal more circumspect going into the future.

My ex and the father of my children had to go to rehab as a cocaine addict; and convicted felon for drug possession. It affected every part of my kids lives; so ultimately mine. We have worked through it...it has been a lot of long, hard work...but my kids are doing great. It breaks my heart that my 9 year old knows about crack cocaine and needles and jail.

My father was taken into hospital for treatment on his worsening prostate. Visiting him every day there for a week or so, until he was released after his operation, made me more aware of his fragility and mortality. I considered what it would be like for him to die.

It has made me appreciate family and the larger family of civilization, how important we are.

I think this counts: A birth! My older sister gave birth to a baby girl. It's the first grandchild on our side of the family and we absolutely love our new addition! I have noticed already that this baby has brought us closer. I see my sister and her new baby every other week, where as before I was only seeing my sister and her husband once or twice a year (and they only live an hour away)! I have opened up to my sister in ways I haven't before and I have realized that as I get older we have more and more in common. It makes me happy because there is a 7 year difference between the two of us, and I always thought we would never be able to have anything to talk about. I am glad to know there is hope and that it is never too late to rebuild old relationships.

2009 - My mother turned 70. I am very lucky to have had her around for so long and I hope I have many more years of her in my life.

Mom's death, of course. It has affected me in more ways than I can say. And strangely, and very unpredictably, I feel my siblings and I are getting closer, even though there would be plenty of "legitimate" reasons for me to be angry at them, and for us to become alienated from one another.

I had my second child this year. It was a humbling experience because of how he came into the world. I learned that it is possible to love both of my children equally and completely differently. It's amazing.

My son joined the army. This has turned my life up side down. I am proud, I am worried. I am hopeful I am scared. I am angry that I let him. I am amazed at who he has become. I feel alone as a an army mom. I have to trust the people who make the decisions that affect him.???

Having to adjust to living on a 1/3 of my career salary, due to retirement has been quite a challenge. It's been a tough year, and I'm really just starting to get a handle on it.

it's not exactly a milestone, and my sister has a daughter that is almost 2 years old. i have gotten to spend time with her 2 times this year and she is truly amazing. i simply love being around her, and being around my sister and her husband since lauren was born. i have also gotten to experience the joy that my parents feel around her. she's getting especially more fun now that she is growing up a little. she can talk and she says my name and i just love being with her.

My Dad is getting ill more often and I'm finding this really upsetting. We are very close, we speak and get together fairly regularly, and I realised I am scared that one day he won't be around any more to share my life with and to give me advice. I'd like to use this as a catalyst to make even more effort to be around him, and my Mom. It also makes me think how important it is to be doing what's really important with your time - personally and professionally

Debt is enormous. My wife doesn't know it yet.

My brother and his wife had their first child this year, a healthy baby girl. He's 44, I'm 47. I'm happy to see him as a father. I love children, but not enough to want to have some of my own. For my parent's sake, who've never voiced their desire to be grandchildren and pressuring me into having a child, I can see that my brother's baby girl has added a sparkle to their lives at a time they most need it.

My husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows in front of our children and families and close friends. I am facing the journey ahead with a restored and renewed sense of love, respect and admiration for my husband. Its nice to remind each other and ourselves not to take one another for granted.

3, Emma graduated from high school, and Molly graduated from college. We are now empty nester and are figuring out how to be without children around to think about caring for. It has been 23 years since we did that.

my best friend went through a painful divorce. being 1,000 miles away from her was really hard on those nights she called me crying--needing me closer. months later, we've both proven how important our relationship is although we live far away, and i believe that because i love my friends so much, i will always be able to make it work, despite the distance.

I guess the biggest "milestone" was the resurgence of Millie's cancer and dealing with the fact that she will not be with us much longer. While I know that I am somewhat saddened when it does happen, it also makes me treasure the time with her, even when she is driving me crazy. It has also made me closer with my mom, as she really needs the extra help and support to get through all this

My 31 year old brother was committed 2 times. The last time resulted in him moving across the country to live with our parents. He still has a lot of things he needs to work through, and everyone often wonders if he's going to kill himself. It's depressing all around. I've stopped talking to him for the most part because I realized I'm unable to help him.

My dear aunt got progressively more ill with cancer and then died and it has made it very hard for me to juggle all of the balls that I am juggling.

I got a new job and broke the 40K mark. My wife graduated graduate school. I convted to Judaism. We got engaged and married. It was a year of change and of growing up. Things don't really feel all that different. These were things that were planned and when they actually happened the feeling was not that exciting for me. I really don't celebrate all that much in general, anyway. Maybe I should step back and look at the things that have happened and appreciate them.

Thank goodness, the family has been good this year... I hope it stays this way!

I think my partner and I became more honest in our marriage--honest about our own flaws--and it has affected us for the better.

I can't wait for the mothership to land so I can have a concrete answer to this question. I'll keep watching the sky, specifically the twenty-second quadrant.

My sister in law's pregnancy. I'm really jealous. I feel like everyone around me is pregnant and I really want to be too! I hope it happens for me this year.

I got married! I love being married! It was the scariest and safest thing I've ever done. I've never been so happy about my future and I really feel energized about building a life together with my husband. Experiencing the depth of our love for each other has opened my eyes and heart to just how much love this incredibly messy world can hold.

My 2nd divorce was final in May bringing major changes to all our lives. I have felt stronger, more centered and more present with my self and with my children. For the first time in my 24 yrs (since I married@21) I feel independent and am enjoying my newly found "alone time".

My son and his long term girl friend have recently broken up. It will be a challenge for my husband and me to step back and allow our son to make whatever decisions are needed without implying he could change careers, go to grad school etc.

My inlaws moved into an assisted living facility and got out of that awful house. Living with actual medical and mental health care validated the existence of the pathologies we had endured for years.

My mom came down with Swine Flu and pneumonia just recently. She was traveling in Virginia, and I was called to go take care of her. I saw how I would put a hold on everything to help my mom, but it also terrifies me. I'm young. I want to travel the world. I'm terrified of my mom getting so sick again. I don't know who would take care of other than me.

My husband's infedelity caused me to leave my husband and start a new family of sorts, one with a house of women who all needed and learned from each other. Mostly it has helped me work on myself and grow closer to being a more actualized, extremely happy being.

Jay's decline triggers the questions of action, inaction, duty, protection, respect ...

This would be our wedding. I didn't think that much would change with getting married, but the enormity of our wedding gave my partner and I the opportunity to really take a step back and take stock of our relationship. It brought us closer together, and solidified our conviction that we have become family.

I think the major milestone (if one can call it that) is moving my husband's 102 yr. old aunt into a nursing home closer to our house. Before that my husband would be away 2 nights a week so he could stay with her in her house. Once we realized she could no longer live on her own, she went to a nursing home about 2 hours away, close to where she lives. Then a spot opened up closer to our house and we had to take it. It was causing my husband a lot of stress (as well as wear and tear on his car, and gas!!) this has affected me in that he is home all week. I got used to being alone those 2 nights, something I loved. It was certainly an adjustment for us to be together every night (except when he plays poker Thurs. night). For a while i resented the change...but I'm better with it now, since he still is ok with the space I need in the evening. I'm lucky to have a wonderful husband.

My dad had prostate cancer, which, surprisingly, had very little effect on me. Because it was detected early and removed, his prognosis is excellent. I remember when i first heard, i looked up prostate cancer in my med-surg book and read that, when diagnosed early in men his age, the survival rate is nearly 100%. Now that I think about it, we were lucky that it was prostate cancer- other forms are far more deadly, and the treatments more taxing. It did reinforce in my mind the importance of early screening and detection, which is something hope to convey to my patients.

Finding out that I'm going to be an Uncle! Pretty awesome, first grandchild born of all the cousins. Looking forward immensely to this - can't wait to see the kid. Slightly surprised by how much.

My Father was buried in January 2009. Up to his death, he and my Mother had influenced my three children not to stay in contact with me because of my coming out as a lesbian. So I felt as if they had taken my past/history and my future from me. and the present had no value any more. But on the funeral, I saw my Grandchild for the first time. And my Daughter started to visit me and my wife from that day on. So, I am able to grieve about the past, now, and let it behind, and if I play with my Grandchild, I see the future, and the present is worth to live and to celebrate, again.

My semi-estranged brother had a mental collapse earlier this year and somehow became delusional, convinced that someone in the family sexually abused him and making up all kinds of grotesque stories to basically explain away his complete inability to take responsibility for his extremely poor judgment. That sounds harsh because I am still very upset with him. He's made my parents miserable - especially my mother. They have thrown their effort and a considerable amount of money at his "treatment," and he still insists on creating these paranoid / ridiculous stories about them and the rest of us. If it weren't a time of atonement, I'd say I wish I could punch him in the teeth. One thing that this has done for me, however, is remind me just how important my parents are. And, of course, I try to understand what is happening with him and what I could do to make sure something like this never happens with my own children. I honestly have no idea. But I am glad that I've been able to reach out to my parents early and often to remind them how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I only hope my brother will come around soon and realize the damage he's wrought. It's very difficult to watch.

My parents took me, my husband and our kids on vacation. With my dad's declining health, I realized that these vacations are so important to my parents. I was feeling guilty for allowing them to pay for everything, but it gives my parents great joy to travel with my family. As my parents get older, I want to share these moments with them as long as I can.

Father died. Mother is adjusting at her pace; I am able to help in small ways that allow her to feel that her last years of life will continue to involve the family she has so loved. First grandchild: an inexlicable change in my outlook. Greater fulfillment; unconditional love. A remembrance of things to come.

In May my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Later that month she had surgery in an attempt to remove the tumor, then the size of a tennis ball. The surgery was not successful and she contracted a life-threatening infection. She was on a ventilator for nine days but recovered enough to leave the hospital and come home. Since that time she has had a number of procedures to drain the infection from her liver. She was initially unable, and later did not choose, to pursue chemotherapy and/or radiation. I visited her and my family in Chicago during the weekend of her surgery in May, and was there again two weeks ago now in September. During that most recent trip my aunt, a hospice nurse, told me she believes my mother has between a month and two months to live. I am struggling now with feelings of shame about not feeling a deeper grief. My mother and her actions brought great pain to my life and in some ways, once she passes I will be free to become my true self in ways I haven't been while she was alive. At the same time it is incredibly painful to watch her illness progress, and even more torturous to see the effects it is having on my father. I know that when I read my responses to the 10Q prompts in the fall of 2010, when 5770 becomes 5771, my mother will have been gone for quite some time by then. I am trying to find ways for her memory to be a blessing to me. Maybe by the time I read this writing and these thoughts again I will have discovered a way for that to be possible. It is hard for me to say that I love my mom, but I do thank her for everything--good and bad, easy and hard, positive and critical--that she has brought to my life because all of it has made me who I am.

This year we decided to try and start a family. It's been difficult and taken nearly 8 months so far. It's been very hard seeing friend get pregnant and feeling jealous. I don't like these feelings. I've been focusing on trying to feel grateful for what I have rather than longing for what others have or comparing myself to others. Someday we'll have a family, it just may not happen as quickly as we'd like or how we planned.

Dad's 70th b-day. Partner moving in / meeting parents. We had a wonderful family reunion on the Shapiro side, with all the Shapiro sibs and some others. V remarked on how many couples had stayed together for so long -- said he didn't have examples of that in his own family. Made me really appreciate all the good role models I have had. Also appreciated how V made such an effort to be there and how well-liked he was. It's unusual that both my brother and I are in relationships at the same time.

We joined a church in a small town in GA. We have gotten really plugged in and more connected than we have in any other church we've ever attended. I've seen myself grow. I've seen my kids grow. I've seen my husband grow. It's a wonderful thing when we listen to and obey God's will for our lives.

I reunited with my father after nearly 15 years. It made me realize I couldn't even adequately verbalize why he and I fell out in the first place. The warmth that he, my sisters, and everyone else has welcomed me with has been very grounding and given me happiness and peace amidst other bits of chaos.

i got marred which impacted both me and my partner tremendously but also shifted over relationships. several old friends have become close again. my complicated relationships with my brothers has changed- i'm still understanding what those changes are. but everythin has changed, i feel a different capacity for love- more love- and a different sense of compassion.

I don't really know. This question makes me realize that I'm not nearly as connected as I should be to my family. Damn.

My Mom was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and it was hard for me to see my Mom in so much pain. It was hard to understand that she had turned 50 and that she was getting older. It was hard to accept that there was nothing I could do. My Mom was getting older, and she will get sick and things will happen and yes, even someday she will die. I think it was the first time I ever really thought that this could happen. I think I've accepted that it will happen but it doesn't mean that I have to just sit and watch. I've decided that with what time I have left with her I will make sure she knows how important she was in shaping me as an individual and how much I love and adore her and how so very thankful I am for her that my life would have been less than for not knowing her. If I could just be half as great...

Probably my sister getting gastric bypass, it's been awesome seeing her come into her own now and we've been able to get closer over her new healthy habits. And it's also interesting to see how the rest of the family is supporting or maybe jealous of her weightloss. And I guess maybe how awesome they've all been to help me out in my time of unemployment, it fills me with gratitude for them, especially since I know they are dealing with their own stuff.

It is hard to think of one really. I think what has affected the family the most has been the economy, but that is not an event singular to my family. My brothers band has had several big shows and our parents have flown in for a few of them this year. Overall, it is wonderful to have the whole family together, but also can create stress and tension. In the end, I feel that our family learns and grows through these experiences.

My parents divorced before I was old enough to remember but I've never been close to my dad for a variety of reasons. This year, though, I met a lot of my dad's side of the family for the first time during a family reunion in Chicago. My dad wasn't there but it was probably less stressful for it. It was interesting to meet them and hear their stories about other family members. I also learned that colon cancer runs in the family - something to look out for in the future.

Dad's Parkinson's Disease and financial situation have caused a ton of stress on him. I try to help him as much as possible from so far away. My family is learning via him that a person's finances are so important and it's very important that it be managed properly and responsibly. Terrible things can happen to people at any moment and we need to be prepared if something happens.

This summer was the season of many milestones for my family. The formal: my mom's mother turned 90, my dad's parents both turned 80, and my parent's had their 30th wedding anniversary. And the less formal: coming home to Pittsburgh for the longest amount of time since I left for college, reconnecting with my story and building adult relationships with my family.

My younger brother graduated high school and left home for college and I graduated college and left home/Florida/America for Ukraine: my parents became empty-nesters. It certainly remains to be seen how exactly this will affect us -- however, I know we're moving into a totally new stage in our family life and that the past can never be re-lived or recaptured. I hope we can find a way to transition into this new way of being that will help us to appreciate, value, and really love each other in ways that will help us grow and ways that really fit with our lives today. I hope we grow closer even if in certain ways we're further apart.

My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary and the family was altogether for the first time in 10 years. I think it was important for us all to reconnect.

Went right to the edge with my marriage. Turned inside for answers and doing something about myself. My marriage may or may not survive this. If it doesn't, I am okay with the outcome. I will be a better person for this. I have much to work on within myself. By the grace of God, I will get there.

My father suffered a stroke in October of 2008. So for the last year we've been making due with so much that comes with not being able to speak with words, and learning to listen through years of knowing each other. But now the simple things I do like calling during lunch, or going to calloway gardens with the family for the weekend have made him happier than I've ever seen him. It's going to be hard when I get married, or graduate from grad school and he can't give any speeches. I will cry when that happens.

My sister broke both her legs while I was half-way across the world. There was nothing I could do to help her rehabilitation. I felt terrible and useless. We talked more than we ever have in the past though which was a nice change. This might be bad, but I think it actually made me more independent. Like, things will happen that are out of my control. That's it. Deal.

Two things: 1) My wife is moving into a home office on the third floor of our house and I'll be using a room up there as my writing studio. I hope both of these places give us the space to follow out passions. 2) My daughter has started kindergarten this fall, and I found myself having a hard time with it. It is great to see her on her way, growing, learning, changing. But I find myself struggling with what every parent has do a little bit every day: letting go and letting their child find their way.

Nothing major changed in my family during 2009. We're healthy and still together - which is amazing, comparing to other families. We are close and communicate pretty good. Peace and communication are important things for me.

This is the wedding of my son that I gave up for adoption. It brought all of the family/parties together, and reminded us of the bonds between us. Also, my young daugther's engagement blew up, and she's come back to live with me. Both of these things has brought me close into the "family orbit", though I never really was that far away from it. Reminded me how much I love my kids and how much they mean to me.

We haven't had any major milestones other than my parents continuing to age and continue on in their craziness. I am concerned about them.

New baby for my brother, return of my sister from Edinburgh, new onset of depression for me. My other brother dumped by girlfriend. I feel more alive and more lost than ever.

Aging. My father-in-law turned 70, my father's turning 60, my g-dfather's on the verge of dying of pancreatic cancer and my brother's cat is pretty old. All around me, people (including myself) are feeling their mortality more. I'm trying to worry less about it and act on it more, to take better care of myself, to give more back to the world instead of waiting for tomorrow to do so, and be more proactive in how I shape my career (e.g., making the projects that will define to others what I can do, rather than relying on others to bring them to me). It's all part of getting older... realizing that what you did in the impetuousness of youth can also work for people covered with Lawry's Seasoned Salt.

My mom lost her job, just as my dad was beginning a new one. Sometimes you can't have too much of a good thing...at the same time.

My niece turned a year old. I'm so proud of my sister and the wonderful mother and beautiful woman she has become. I can't help but smile everytime I see my niece or hear stories about what she's done or is doing. I'm just sad that I can't be there all the time now that I'm living out of state. :(

My dad got diagnosed with a serious illness and we are currently waiting for the test results to see if its even more serious and life threatening then we thought.

I met the man that I am going to marry. It has shown me that I can still be the princess on my childhood dreams.

The death of my grandfather made us see him and each other in a new way. It gave an appreciation for being able to lean on each other if we need, and to honor one another more. It also brought into relief the complexity of relations in families and the ultimately we are lucky because in our family the bedrock is love.

The most significant milestone in my family was the sudden death of my step-brother. It reaffirmed the need to live every moment and not take anything for granted. For me personally, it also made me recognize that family is something that comes as people decide this is what they want and not just because of marriage and/or blood.

There have not been any "major" milestones. I think something that has been hard for me but good for my family is that my sister moved back to Cleveland. This makes me feel left out quite often, but I remind myself that I chose to live in California. More recently, last week my Grandma was diagnosed with cancer. She had ovarian cancer about 15 years ago, and now she is 85 years old. She is afraid, but I have to remain hopeful - what is the alternative? I wish I wasn't so far away so that I might bring her some comfort or cheer.

the passing of grandma paula. she was such a vivacious force and so full of laughter and smiles and pink lipstick and overwhelming love. i miss her, and she will be missed in our family but remembered with deep fondness.

I guess it would be my parents putting my grandmother into hospice. But really, it's probably my 96 year old grandmother ceasing to eat, drink or talk, thus prompting the hospice care, and essentially deciding to die. I am not particularly close to my grandmother. I don't feel sad really that she is dying. Old people die. But the act of shutting down slowly has turned my mind to thinking about being ready to do so myself. I don't want to start my decline with regrets and what ifs. I want everyday to be fun fun fun and to get my point across so that I can feel complete when my time comes.

major milestone? hhmm i paid for a divorce so now i am officially free~ cost me a lot..its not a major milestone though guess the break up was major and all the twisted wreckage along with it it has shown me what i did for love and what i imagined to be love--showed me that i have to work on my moral structure,my pride and love of myself and my resolution to do something better with my life

this one is hard to answer since we have experienced so many REALLY big milestones during the past 10 years...new kids, cancer, infidelity,etc...this was finally a down year...

My mother turned 69 on January 1st. When I asked her how she felt about it, she responded, she was sad that she could not accomplish much in her life. I found myself instantly reacting and thing, you had 5 daughters and raised them on your own and very well! But I caught myself and saw that she meant her own individual promises, hopes, and dreams. These were not accomplished. Now at 69, she felt she was towards the latter part of her life, looking back and seeing that her life wasn't as she had completely wanted it. And it pained me that she felt this way when I saw her as a mountain of achievements, full of love and kindness and good things. My sisters and I plan on initiating "Operation Senior Citizen" shortly where we will take her on adventures she did not ever imagine taking. We are currently in pre-planning mode and will move into implementation shortly. :)

My uncle got cancer, and I have coped with my feelings about this better than I thought I would. I am stronger than I thought...

My son was born. HIs presence changed us dramatically. It's worn me out! It's also stressed my marriage and my relationship with my daughter. Though I would do it all again, having a 2nd child in these economic times has brought to light weaknesses in my family. Very scary. And yet, I'd rather know now and work on those weaknesses than have them surprise me later when I might not be as positive.

My little boy started to walk and my older boy has started to talk in full sentences, really expressing himself. Watching them on their path into true humanity, the physical and spiritual expressions of their selves, is probably the most exciting and satisfying experience of my life so far.

I noticed my father's hair was white. Very disconcerting. This may not be a big enough deal for this question, but you should have seen it: completely white.

I took a reduced contract at work and opted to home school my daughter for 8th grade. Having so much time together set the stage for our relationship through her teen years (she is now 15). Although last year was hard, I am sure I will reap the fruits for years to come.

My dad made Father's Day dinner reservations for 4:30pm. Even though the early time was chosen to accommodate someone else's plans, it was the first time I began to think of my parents as old. When my mother battled cancer, I had to realize that I was going to lose her someday (not yet, thank goodness) -- but now I have to learn to accept that I'm going to be an orphan someday.

35 years of marriage...it feels good to realize that while we didn't go into explicitly stating it was forever, it's certainly grown into that. It's a big milestone.

My nephew was bar mitzvahed. I now have only 1 niece/nephew left to go through that rite of passage. It made me acutely aware of the passage of time and also brought up my sadness about being childless.

My dad having treatment for cancer. We have talked and I know he is at peace with whatever comes next, but for now he is feeling well and enjoying life. It has really made me value him being here for now.

Family got together in Michigan for a wedding. It has grounded me back into familial roots, where I want to be.

My son is now 15. He's now a high school freshman. I am constantly rethinking and readjusting my relationship with him. He's no longer a child, but not quite yet an adult. I see my obligation as his dad to be keenly aware of who he is as a person each day and to relate to him in ways that resonate with him; balancing the various roles of parenting through role modeling, setting limits, enjoying shared activities and engaging in meaningful conversations on topics that interest him.

We have celebrated both a bar and bat mitzvah of grand children. I was able to travel abroad to the first one, and have bought tickets to travel to the second. Combined with the way my sons and daughter came here in turns, to be with me around my surgery and during the beginnings of my recovery all make me realize that though we live continents apart we are here for one another to celebrate and to assist one another on extraordianry occasions.

Losing my job in April has literally destroyed my family's financial stability - loss of home, depletion of bank accounts, loss of credit cards, and a onerous debt.

I turned 50. I think I have relaxed a little and am less concerned by what others think of me or what I do.

My brother's bi-polar [drug addicted, manic depressive...] wife attempted suicide in an incredibly dramatic and horrific way. At first he seemed ready to finally force her to get the help she needs and in turn move on with his life for the sake of himself and their four children. But as I feared, though, this did not come to pass and he is back where he started and now she's even more dependent on him than before. I've been trying to find the way toward building back a relationship with my brother for several years, but the more damage she causes in his life, the further away that seems to remain.

I think of a milestone as something good, I can't say that we had a major milestone.

My Mom died of a sudden Heart attack last February, she was 59. she went to the doctors because they thought she had bronchitis, while she was there she keeled over and died. The last time I talk to her was a 11:0o O'clock that day for a whole hour on Skype.

i've become to be more responsible and to finally understand how dad felt when he was far away from home for work. i remember us siblings being so nasty with each other, fighting, yelling and all those nonsense. it's weird to know now that the whole family seems to be closer nowadays.. perhaps it's work that keeps everyone apart and makes home seem so quiet and lonely..

They finally resolved a legal issue that had us on a very bad spot for over two years. It's a great relief to see my dad sleep and smile again.

I discovered Judaism and become more spiritually religious...I attend Shabbat services, i wear tallit, am learning hebrew, wear a kippah and am somewhat shomer kashrut...I know what my path in life is, even when I can't really forsee where I'm going, because I know who I really am, stripped of everything else.

My mother turned 55. Seven years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and 6 months to live, every day that dawns with her still in my life is a milestone. But for the first time since she was a kid, she had a party to celebrate her birthday. I gathered former co-workers and friends, and we spent a day in the park laughing and reminiscing and making her the center of our world for an afternoon. She deserved it.

my sister's wedding. it brought into focus how far she and i have come in our relationship, and made me realize that i myself may never end up getting married. while companionship is great and all, i'd rather be alone than settle. not that my sister settled, not at all. but it's give and take, and there is just some things i will never give, nor ever take. and unless i find someone that loves me as much as i love myself, i'll be the cool, single aunt to my siblings' kids and call it a day. my nana's death. sucks. 63 yrs of companionship leaves you wanting to commit suicide in the end. worth it? i'll let you decide

I can't think of any major milestone that effected my family...such as it is. The most significant milestone for me, personally, was my experience with my lover and the challenges brought about by his situation. As for my family, my cousin Rick decided to start playing rock 'n roll again after more than thirty years. Bravo Rick!

All that comes to mind is all the tragedy we have experienced this year- from divorce to illness to legal issues. We have had a tough year. I am not sure what the affects will ultimately be. I think I was able to shoulder much of it, but it hasn't developed into strength yet- not yet. I pray that my best friend and father will have the strength to quit smoking.

My brother moved back to London from Italy. Around the corner. It's lovely. He's wonderful with me ('with me'? I sound like an invalid) but I would be happier in Tel Aviv, I think, then he wouldn't have to call me concerned about my working too hard, not seeing him etc. I'd be free! Oh dear...banging this drum rather hard. I guess the major thing is that he and I have got a lot closer and he - and my whole family - understand and respect me much more, and don't expect me to have all the answers. I am allowed to be confused and upset and not top of the class all the time with everything worked out. This is a huge milestone. Hurrah.

My grandma & mother went to retrieve me from jail after being in there 6 days. It made me realize that my grandparents are still there for me even after I've been distant with them all these years.

My sister graduated from college, that made me feel old... My little sister is not so little anymore.

My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary. I guess this affected me in many ways: 1) I realize they're not going to be around forever, which sucks as I love them and would miss them in my life and 2) I realize they're getting old and losing their shit a bit - my dad especially - which is scary. I went through a lot of shit with my sister. She is very wealthy and when I was going through the toughest of the tough times, she wouldn't give me (or loan me) a nickel. She thinks I'm irresponsible, and has deluded herself into thinking she'll be my enabler if she gives me a dollar - even if it would help me from losing our home. It's bullshit. It's just an excuse for her and her husband to hold onto their millions. And for what? To buy bigger mansions? A gilded bed for her beloved cat while my wife and I face foreclosure? While our mental and physical health decline to the point of death? Look - it's not her or her husband's problem we're in the situation we're in. Some of it is of my own creation - but some of it is just life. We are not here just to feather our own nest. Take care of yourself, sure, but then see how you can help those around you not as fortunate - and start with your family. She didn't do that, and doesn't do that. I will never understand why she wouldn't offer help alleviate suffering in the way we need the most when she could do so without compromising her lifestyle even one iota. I don't know how she sleeps at night. It reminds me of an old life magazine photo of a plump and smiling rice merchant in china sitting in front of an emaciated beggar child with piano ribs. If I were the plump rice merchant, I would give a little bit of rice to the kid. My sister? She would tell the kid that if he didn't like the way life was treating him, he should clean himself up, get a job, make some money selling rice and his problems would be solved. Maybe she's right. Then again, maybe the kid just needs a little rice so he can think clearly and get a good night's sleep. Or maybe, if you ACTUALLY care about the starving kid, give a little bit of rice so he doesn't die in the process of cleaning himself up, getting a job, etc. Whatever. You get the idea. My sister and her husband are tightfisted misers with icewater coursing through their veins and tiny hearts. They would bristle at the accusation that they don't have empathy, but the sad fact is they do not. They have so much and don't share with their closest family members who are struggling mightily. (Yes, I'm still close to them - but the resentment from their Scrooge-like Miserly Ways keeps us from growing closer.) They say that the gift of giving is the ultimate gift - one they will never receive. Ultimately, it's too bad for them, but right now it's too bad for both of us.

A major milestone for my family in 2009 was that my mom went back to school to get her Masters in teaching. This affected me because my family is more successful and soon she will have a great job.

Leah graduated. Our family is very different now, we are much quieter, but I fight with my parents a lot more, and there is a lot more pressure on me.

No major milestones this year.