I don’t think I could have ever anticipated the speed with which life would move at times as I was growing up (you know, back when a 30-minute TV show felt long and summer vacation was an eternity). Not only is life moving ahead at warp speed, it is changing and evolving and turning in circles continuously x5.
This year, with its (many) moments that felt as though they were going to drag on for much longer than I preferred, is almost over. Our family has experienced heartache, uncertainty, happiness, laughter, adventure – but regardless of the experience I’ve made it my priority to count it all joy.
It was really freaking hard to go through three miscarriages in a row. To feel like, despite the beautiful girls I have, my body was broken and I was weak. It was almost harder to feel confidence that the fourth time would be the charm – I still have my moments of doubt and nervousness but the more this baby kicks from the inside, the better and more excited I feel.
Mike lost his job this fall, that has been hard for obvious reasons. But it has also been a change that isn’t all bad – there is a bit more lightness in our house (job stress can be hard on everyone), a bit more togetherness (for better or worse) and a shifted focus to find something that might fit our family life a bit better regardless of financial sacrifices (it’s all just “stuff” anyway, right?). We are making it work and praying for the next great fit to come along soon!
Gianna has struggled with school but she has never struggled with her desire to try as hard as she possibly can. We have been navigating these waters for 3 years now and I think we are on the right path for her. She might get discouraged sometimes, as anyone would, but she tries and what more can you ask of anyone in any area of life?
Aleesia has some of the biggest emotions i have ever encountered, and I thought Gianna had big emotions (which she does!). Parenting those emotions and making strides with how she can control such emotions has been a challenge this year – we are getting there, slowly some days, but we are learning together what works for her and what doesn’t. Aleesia also has a wicked sense of humor, which makes you forget about those big emotions sometimes!
Vivian has an imagination that rivals Gianna’s – when I watch her play I sometimes forget how young she is! She is at the age where she picks up everything with her spongy brain and observant eyes. She also doesn’t love to sleep, which can make everyone slightly grumpy and irritable. We’re working on it (thank you, essential oils, for giving us some relief in recent days).
Our Cleveland Cavs won the NBA championship and our Cleveland Indians took the World Series to game 7 – those were big deals in this house in 2016!!
We have had other family things to navigate with our extended family, scary and not-so-scary alike. I have yelled too much on too many days. My patience has been used up before 9am, again, on too many days. There have been many moments where I needed to adjust my focus and priorities. There have also been moments that took my breath away because they were so fun, enjoyable, relaxing (okay, only a few of these!), memorable and special to make up for the ones that weren’t any of those things. But it will be alright in the end, the good/happy outweighs the bad/frustrating because I say it does!
Our village of friends and family has supported us through every crazy part of this year and I truly hope they have felt supported by us as well.
There has been a consious effort to cut back on our social “obligations” to focus on what is important and enjoyable to us as a family rather than always doing what we feel like we need to do (because why do we need to do something we don’t enjoy?). That has been a welcome change and one that has changed our social-calendar dynamics – allowing us a little more down time. It’s hard to see and keep in close contact with friends when everyone’s lives are moving in equally changing directions – which is something I need to remember when I’m craving time with my favorite grown ups!
I think my biggest reflection and take-away from this year is this: We all go through things, we all have a storm to weather on any given day – sometimes it might be a drizzle and some days it might be a hurricane – but we have to keep in mind that we are all human, only capable of so much on our own before we need to lean on our village (& our faith) – on those who can lift us up when we need it, make us smile when we don’t want to and just understand that it’s going to be okay even if we don’t know what “okay” looks like yet.
Of course I hope that the next year has a few less bumps in the road, but even if there are more bumps than we’d like, I hope that I can continue to find joy and grace (admittedly this isn’t always easy to do and sometimes it’s a bit of a delayed reaction) in all things – good, bad, scary, exciting, and everything in between.