Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: looking back and hopes for a new year

Narrowing 2015 down to nine pictures was hard. A lot of good was left out. But these nine probably sum my heart up pretty well. 2015 hit us hard. HARD. It has hands down been the most difficult year of our lives and we are entering 2016 with a lot of hard, still, but are praying that as the days pass and we get further into the new year, the hard becomes easier and our days are filled with more and more happiness. A dear friend picks a virtue for each friend for the upcoming year; mine was fortitude {mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation, courageously} I remember her picking that for me last year and thinking, “Fortitude?! Really? I know life is tough, but this seems a bit much.” Well, NEVER in a million years would I have EVER thought I would need this virtue like I did this past year. Earlier in the year we found out scary news about our sweet baby that had not joined us yet. I thought that was where the whole fortitude thing came into play and I thought to myself, “Ah, yeah that makes sense. I am going to have to be stronger than I ever knew I could waiting to make sure my precious babe would make it and survive!” Then came May. Well crap. That knocked all the “hard stuff” off the grid. I lost my father-in-law and it pretty much beat down every single member of the family. I will never forget that absolute awful day. Our lives are still incredibly difficult because of that and will continue to be for a long time. And from May until now, “fortitude,” has never been so important. That little surprising word I received in January became my lifeline. And then came July. While we were already feeling so weak, our little Button arrived WAY too early and small. Our days and nights were filled with visits to the NICU to be with him. We didn’t know what his future was going to hold so we cherished every single minute of it. Through it all, I kept that word in my mind, having faith that even though this was another tremendous struggle, we would get through it. Back shortly after my father-in-law passed away, the Hubs developed a health issue, which months later would be come more and more serious. It has been something that has been a daily struggle for him, and for our whole family. It is something that will follow us into 2016 and something that we are trying to find a solution to every single day. {keep him in your prayers!} We thought his Dad's passing was a huge blow to him, and then to have this health issue to process has been too much to feel like we can accept some days. 

Now it is New Year’s Eve, and I am reflecting on the good, the bad, the joyful and the HARD. The hard that made me rely a lot on that important and so significant virtue. - Top row: My father-in-law called me up on a Wednesday and asked if we’d be up for a trip to Charleston to meet them... on Friday. My answer? "Hell yeah!" And I could never be more thankful, that even so spur of the moment with three kiddos, that that was my answer. Little did we know, it was the last vacation we would spend with him and it was a GOOD one! When Mami and Papi visited us in April, one of the last nights, our whole family went to eat at our favorite little spot and it ended up being our last meal all together. It may not be a perfect picture, but we were all together and that is what I hang onto. Our first and last vacation as a family of five. The boys loved the beach. Zelie didn’t know what to think of it and my soul was energized in my very favorite place. Second Row: The news was spread that our little David was going to join us in the Summer. And that middle picture. Darn that middle picture. There is nothing special about it, but for some reason it is the picture that hits me hard to this very day. It’s raw to me and all my emotions of losing my father-in-law are felt in it. I took that picture the day or day after we arrived and seeing the four of them standing there, trying to get through our family tragedy, just pierces me. And then my Button. He came early and oh so small, but healthy. He was with us, and I had faith that he would thrive! Bottom row: After a month in the NICU, our tiny, tiny boy would come home and we would be together as a family of six. David’s journey still continued with surgery, a time that also brought a lot of hard for me. It is NEVER easy to see a loved one hurting or in such need. And to end my nine on a happy note, our first trip as a family of six. We were finding the smiles amidst our new hard. 2015’s word is easily “HARD.” We had a lot of it to get through and are still finding our way. 

While we are prepared to carry some of these difficulties with us into 2016, we are looking forward to moving past some things and trying to embrace health and happiness on a whole new level. We will continue to suffer the loss of our Papi, we will continue to find help for the Hubs health issue, but we will look for the good, the happiness of our everyday. We are hoping to make some fun changes for the kiddos and for ourselves. I'm looking forward to a fresh start to simplify, find a better routine for our family, make some changes to add more time for prayer. I'm hoping this can be a serious fresh start, a fresh and new step in a good direction. 

2016 also brings my 30th birthday. While there will be no grand celebration, I do hope it is a memorable year, in a good way. I am looking forward to my thirties and I hope I can grow in my areas of weakness in these years, spending my days being a better wife, a better mother... filling the moments with more virtue than I have held thus far. 

2015, if you didn't bring my sweet baby boy, I would despise you with every bit of my being, but I am thankful for that blessing and I am thankful for the strength God gave us to get through these hard days, even though most days it felt like we were hardly getting through it. 2016, bring on the GOOD!!! Bring on more smiles with the kiddos and less tantrums. More date nights in and out with the Hubs. Some family getaways. More prayer, more health, more love.