Friday, January 6, 2017

Lessons from 2016

2016 brought with it a lot crap: some good, some bad and some of it being the worst junk I've ever seen. But it also brought with it a lot of opportunity. Opportunity to learn, grow, fight and love.

Although there's probably too many to list, here a few of the biggest lessons I learned courtesy of good ole 2-0-1-6:

  • I love my family. I've always known this, but watching my mom withstand a year of emotional and physical turmoil and then watching the rest of our family care for and rally around her makes me love everyone all the more. Dad, you were a rock star throughout that year and I've told numerous people how in awe I was and am of your strength, love and upbeat attitude. I know not everyone is blessed with a close-knit family, so I count mine amongst my greatest blessings!
  • Speaking of moms...Mom, you have taught me to keep fighting when you want to give up. I love you and I'm so proud of you for pushing through your year-long journey, and now your daily journey. Nash is so glad to have his Lovie back in action, as is his momma! You, too, are a rock star of great proportions!
  • It can take a while to make new friends as an adult, especially after a huge move, but if given time and energy, you can form new bonds with new people that make you finally feel "at home" again.
  • The terrible twos is not some term that parents throw around in jest. Two is not for the faint of heart. Granted, lately, our good moments outweigh the bad ones by a landslide (thank you, sweet Jesus!), but the bad ones, when they strike, can be very, very bad. Like "who are you and what have you done with my child" bad.
  • I've learned that two years in, I still look at my son in awe sometimes. He is beautiful, smart, funny, fearless and never met a stranger. He has brought me so much joy and I thank the Lord daily that he is mine. Except when he throws food on the floor that I just cleaned, but I digress. He is a miracle, as are all children.
  • Marriage is hard. Like harder than the terrible twos, kind of hard. Loving an imperfect person while you yourself are also a hot mess simply isn't easy by design. Throw in loss, health issues, toddlers and life in general...no wonder it's freakin hard. But some things are worth fighting for if love remains.
  • Finding out I was having a daughter was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I have never wanted anything more and my heart was granted that wish. And although I will never get to know her love this side of heaven, nothing can take away the moment I knew she was mine. Nothing.
  • Doctors and nurses are the most amazing humans ever. I am forever indebted to mine. To have them care for my body and health is one thing, but to have one of my nurses call me to check in on me emotionally and to have her tell me she loves me, is something so far beyond her  "duties as assigned". The heartfelt conversations I've had with my doctor were some of the things that saved my heart and mind from backsliding into depression, and for those moments and raw conversations, an acreage in my heart will always house that team.
  • Miscarriage is a dirty thief. It robs you of so, so much. It steals so much joy, so many dreams for what your child would do, become, experience, look like and the list goes on. It robs you of a lifetime of moments, milestones, first steps, birthdays, school dances, mommy and me shopping days and pedicures, weddings, future grandchildren... It steals confidence in yourself and replaces it with doubt and what did I do wrong. It steals almost all hope of medical answers and replaces them with questions that no one can answers. It leaves you with holes that no one or nothing can fill. It's honestly the biggest jerk I know.
  • Pregnancy loss isn't always quick. I knew the emotional healing would take the rest of my life, but I never imagined the physical loss could take almost 4 months. Yesterday was officially the first day that my body realized it wasn't pregnant after our loss in September. The biggest lesson I've learned is that you never know how long someone takes to heal, so even if you think your friend, wife, sister, etc...has had a few months to start moving on, their healing journey may have not even started yet. Don't leave them alone in this healing purgatory. This harsh lesson has changed how I will respond to and talk to others who experience a similar loss.
  • Me. I've learned so much about myself in 2016. I've learned that I can be strong one minute and a quitter the next. I've learned that I can love the Lord and curse Him all in the same breath. I've learned I can love someone I'll never get to know more than I ever dreamed possible and that love can feel crushing at times when it has nowhere to go. I've learned that I find healing in sharing and that the sharing part terrifies me at times, but can also give me closure if I open up to it. I've learned to put on a brave face when I'm sobbing on the inside, which if I'm honest, I'm not sure is a good quality or a bad one. Either way, I've perfected it in 2016. I've learned that my new, personal mantra is "live to fight another day" and I tell myself that every single morning. No matter how hard 2016 was, my life is a gift and I'm going to fight like he@# to make mine count.
  • Lastly, I've learned that I could not and would not want to go through this life alone. The Lord has placed some of the most amazing, genuine, loving, uplifting, Godly, encouraging, ready for battle people in my life and that alone has helped me survive this past year. I've never felt more love in my life and it's made me a better human with a more empathic heart, no doubt. If you are one of the people I'm writing about, thank you. You are a gift more precious than anything I could ever ask or imagine. Thank you.
I hope as we head into 2017, that you'll take a moment to reflect on the lessons you learned over our last 365 days. Good, bad, ugly...they've all shaped who we are as we head into another year together. And because Isaiah always seems to have the right words for whatever life throws at me, I'll leave you with this:

Isaiah 43:18  (NLT)
18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
 
Preach it, Isaiah!