Monday, January 1, 2018

Here's to another new year...

Well, here we are on the first day of the New Year and I have so many thoughts and feelings.  As I've gotten older the focus has been less on what exciting plans we have for New Year's Eve and more wonder at what ungodly hour my children will wake us up on New Year's Day.  We hang out with great friends, usually play some goofy card game, snack, and call it a night shortly after the New Year rings in.  Then I wake up New Year's Day and feel like I should experience some sort of enlightenment.  I personally don't care for resolutions, but it's hard not to feel like this day is a new start to cleaner living (mostly because all the excess of the holidays is over), a re-dedication to my workouts, and a hope for a better handle on my mental well-being.

As I look at my TimeHop and Facebook's On This Day, I see all my previous posts from the first day of the new year.  Reflections on what the previous years had brought and curiosity as to what the new year had in store.  When Tera was younger, it was a lot of observations on what she had accomplished and what we were hoping she would soon be able to do.  It was remembering major life events and how, for better or worse, we survived them.

This past year seems to have been one with less excitement, but it wasn't without its struggles.  Tera continues to learn how to navigate her surroundings and has made huge strides.  She has met several of her goals, and had an incredibly successful start to the school year.  Zoey's vocabulary, language, and comprehension have exploded and she is loving and excelling in pre-school.  I had a fantastic summer with them both and it was first one I felt like I was really able to enjoy since they play so much better together and, in general, are more independent.  Zoey is potty trained and Tera is doing great on her new bike.  Most notably, the girls had no overnight hospital stays! We went to a water park for the first time last spring and we went on our first family vacation to Door County.  We were also able to visit our good friends up in Wisconsin over night and they were flower girls in one of my best friends' wedding. Now these things may not seem monumental to most people, but each one presented its own potential obstacles for Tera and us as a family.  Fortunately, overall, they went very well.

When I look at the big picture, as a family this year was a lot better than past years.  But again, not without the standard Theodore girl challenges.  Zoey had five or six ear infections from last January to May.  Tera had pneumonia (number seven) and a double ear infection in the spring and strep throat for Mother's Day.  Zoey got strep throat in August and then again just before Thanksgiving.  She also had pneumonia on Halloween.  Both girls had the stomach flu at different times this fall.  Tera had some chronic skin issues and bad bout with her stomach.  And then to top it all off, Zoey had an infected toe the week before Christmas.  I'm sure there are other viruses and issues that came up in 12 months, but those are the "highlights".

I've been told in the past I shouldn't dwell on the negatives and focus on how things will get better.  I stand by my belief that that doesn't help my ability to cope with life.   Depressing or not, I go into a lot of situations (medical, holiday, etc) with the idea that something can and might go wrong.  If it doesn't great, but if it does, I at least don't feel blindsided by it.  Optimism does very little to help my anxiety and so I go with reality.  When I look to the year ahead, I don't hope that it will be the best year ever.  I know it will be difficult at times.  There will be plenty of times when I will wonder once again how I will manage it all.  How we'll deal with it all.  How I can keep my heart from breaking when I hear those familiar coughs.  How we'll help Tera with her meltdowns and how we'll manage trying to predict and prevent them.

This year brings one exciting experience and one potentially very difficult experience.  In June we, along with my inlaws, will take the girls on a Disney Cruise.  It will bring their first plane ride and then of course, Disney.  And in two days Tom and I will meet with Tera's cardiologist for another echo and he will tell us whether or not she will have open heart surgery.  It's something we've known about for a year, and have prepared for, but I need to have that final decision so I can deal with the idea of handing over my baby to have probably the most crucial surgery of her life.  And so when thinking about what 2018 has to offer, with the exception of vacation, it's hard not to be a little apprehensive.

In past years this is when I start to feel a lot of holiday letdown.  But I've already started de-Christmasing and I still have one more week with my girls.  I'm going to try and make the most of my time with them and deal with every new challenge as it comes, the same way we always do.  In the meantime I'm going to stretch every day, drink more water, exercise six days a week, meditate, write a book, live in the moment, become a vegan, make all my kids clothes....just kidding.  I'll workout, and exist mostly on coffee and wine.

Happy New Year family and friends, we hope it brings you health, happiness, and laughter.


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