At the end of every year, like many people, I go to the site called “Best Nine” to check out the nine Instagram photos of mine that got the most “likes” that year. I don’t normally post my “Best Nine” though, because in previous years, it’s always been the moments where my kids looked the cutest (unfairly weighted towards Harlow since she’s smaller, I think) and not really representative of the moments that were the most meaningful to me.

This year was different though, as you can see by the grid that the app spat back out above.

In a year where I questioned everything from the direction of our country to what I wrote about on my blog, my “Best Nine” really does reflect the chaos of 2017 for me. But it also gives me a certain degree of comfort to know that the uncertainty I am feeling is a shared feeling. The worry and the disbelief and the desire to make a difference, at the very least when it comes to raising our children, is something we all went through together last year. Our country might be divided, but this community (which is an international community), for the most part, is not.

We likely have many of the same goals for 2018.

Here is the meaning (for good or for bad) behind each photo in my Best Nine:

1. The Women’s March in New York City is in the middle of the grid, which should assure all the people who advised me against getting political on my account that I’m doing just fine, thank you. I remember that moment exactly.

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It was late in the day, right when we passed under the bridge at Grand Central Terminal. You could see the people watching from above and on all sides. The crowds felt massive and energized and right then, a marching band started playing. They were the Hungry Marching Band, which was a band I recognized from my single days in the East Village. Every once in awhile you’d be walking home late from a bar and find them playing in the streets like Pied Pipers with drunken revelers following behind them, who did not want to go home quite yet. Seeing them was always the mark of a good night. I turned around in that moment because I wanted to see one last glimpse of the bridge and realized how much more powerful the March looked when you were walking backwards with all the signs facing forward. There were actually two of those Carrie Fisher signs next to each other (one happens to be behind the other in this picture) and it looked like the Carrie Fisher army was coming personally, back from the dead, to get Trump. It was a gorgeous thing. You can read more about my experience at the March here.

2. The picture of the Obama family was posted on Inauguration Day. I posted it because on that awful day, Obama was still the person I looked to for comfort and sanity.

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Obama was an excellent leader, a great role model for our children and a wonderful example of an involved and loving father. I know he wasn’t perfect but I believe he was always well intentioned and informed. I believe he truly wanted the best for the people of the United States. I trusted him. All year long, every time something happens that makes me feel like our country is at its lowest, I have looked to his social media accounts for words of reassurance. He is still delivering with grace and dignity and heart.

3. I shared the Statue of Liberty picture when I told the story of my mother being born in a German displaced persons camp after the Holocaust, as a cautionary tale about where hatred can lead us. I shared this photo right after Trump’s first attempt at the Muslim Ban.

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My mother came to America through Ellis Island with her parents at four-years-old and it was an amazing experience to take my children there to see their names listed on the wall. We told them that what makes America great is that people have come from all over the world to live here. We haven’t told them about the Holocaust yet but those days are coming soon. I had hoped to be able to tell them about it in a political climate where it felt unlikely to ever happen again. But these days, I am not as convinced. You can read what I know about my grandparents’ experiences during the World War II here.

Thankfully, there were some lighter moments too.

4. Bottom right was when I won Blogger of the Year at Mom 2.0.

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It was after losing the other two categories I was nominated for— Best Instagram and Best Sponsored Content and was ready to go home with nothing. Then to my total surprise and delight, I won the last category of the night.

5. Top left was when Mike surprised us as the Evil Queen on Halloween.

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The kids were Mal and Evie from Descendants (a movie that has totally dominated our year) and I went as Malificent who is Mal’s mom. Mike going as Evie’s mom made it the perfect family costume.

6. This was Harlow’s first day of kindergarten. I still can’t believe my baby is SO OLD!!!

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7. This is a video of Harlow dancing in hip hop class. She’s got a few more months of class under her belt now and the next video should be even better!

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8. This was the watermelon dress that was featured in Time Magazine and then on Live with Kelly & Ryan before the whole phenomenon went viral…

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9. And thankfully, there was one super adorable picture of #mazzyandharlow that made the cut too. This was taken in the infinity lights room at the Museum of Christmas on Harlow’s birthday.

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It’s been one roller coaster of a year for everyone and the worst is not behind us yet. But if my “Best Nine” told me anything it’s that we are all paying a lot more attention to our history, our collective community, our planet and our future than ever before.

I truly hope we are all in for a better 2018. Usually those wishes are for myself, my family, and my friends but I think we all know that I’m talking about a lot more than that too.

What was your biggest lesson or most memorable moment from 2017?