Friday, February 26, 2016

A Very Good [Bad] Year

I know it's February and we are waaaay past the standard new year posts, but I have this on my mind, and it's not a new years post per say, but rather a reflection of the past year and how perspective changes everything.
I was reflecting on the past year recently, prompted to do so after someone pointed out what a terrible year we had and oh, aren't we glad to start a new year? They didn't mean any harm, and none was taken, but it did make me stop and think. When I think of 2015, I remember most of it rather fondly. I think of the early months, January and February, and how it was the first winter ever that I didn't hate. My midwife told me I needed to get out and walk every day if at all possible, for my mental health if nothing else, and so I did. And I started to enjoy the crisp, cold, fresh air and the almost eerie silence of snow falling upon layers of snow, the only sound being my boots crunching with each step. Winter for the first time wasn't depressing. I remember March like it was yesterday, when God gifted us with our third baby girl, Isabella. I remember the sleepless nights yes, but mostly I remember that she was an extraordinarily snuggly newborn, who loved to nuzzle her whole face in the crook of my neck and fall asleep for hours just like that. I remember we had a surprisingly early spring, and we would go for walks in 70 degree weather in March and April, stopping at the park to let the girls play while I fed Izzie. I remember that it was my favorite Mother's Day yet, how I decided it's officially my favorite day of the year:) I remember taking both strollers, Brad pushing one and I pushing the other, running a 10K together as a family and how amazing that felt after years of no races. I remember exploring new parts of Helena, finding new trails and new places to roam on lazy summer days. And how we had a birthday party for Addison at the Gym Trix and how much fun she had, and Izzie being dedicated at Spring Meadow Lake, and packing a picnic for a last minute drive to the lake. I remember the girl's sweet Halloween costumes and taking them trick or treating for the first time and how much fun it was; sledding on Thanksgiving Day and cooking a big feast for just the 5 of us because Lily had had the stomach flu and we couldn't travel; and a lovely Christmas at my parents house, everyone together and happy and healthy (besides an awesome case of pinkeye virus that made the rounds)
That's the 2015 I remember.
Maybe I choose to remember the good, and I think that's not such a bad thing, because really, when I really stop and think about the nitty gritty details of the past year, I shudder a bit.
I was two miserable weeks late with Izzie, and the day before she was born, Addison was diagnosed with pneumonia and Lily with RSV. I was a sobbing mess before leaving for the hospital, so worried about my girls that I just wanted to be at home taking care of. Izzie got to come home, but we had to spend days isolated in the bedroom to protect her from all the sickness. I had a stubborn sinus infection for the first 8 weeks of Izzie's life and remember crying from the pain of it, and feeling like I wasn't going to survive the sleepless nights, sickness, and nursing difficulties. Everyone's health eventually improved, except for mine, which I spend the rest of the year struggling with. Pregnancy had taken a huge toll on my body. We moved out of our rental and in with our pastor while we tried to buy a house...multiple times things fell through and we moved from house to house 8 times. We finally bought a house and spent countless exhausting hours working on it, and when we were close to finished and finally feeling settled, the bombshell dropped that it was a meth house and we had to move, leaving most of our belongings and all of our effort behind. Having to explain to Addison that we were moving again, even though I had promised we were done. We've since moved three more with friends, to a rental that sold, and now to a farmhouse we love. My health is just now starting to get under control, thanks to some dietary changes and the help of a naturopath, an amazing chiropractor, and physical therapy.
Do our brains subconsciously forget the bad details? Last year was HARD, and yet even though I wouldn't want to do it over again, I wouldn't trade it. I grew in ways I wouldn't have grown with out the hard times. I learned things about myself, about Brad, and about my kids. And I guess the main thing I realize looking back is that no matter how much bad there is, God, in his infinite grace and love for us, gives us good things, if we would just look. Sometimes it's pretty hard to see when we're right in the thick of things. I had some really, really low moments last summer. Moments of near despair and feeling like I was going to go crazy, but as I look back, I see the good; I see God's grace carrying me through. I think it comes down to being thankful for the small things and looking for beauty everywhere, and acknowledging the Maker of it all, and learning to lean into him and just keep on saying thank you.

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