As 2011 comes to a close, I feel it is only appropriate to do a year-end recap.
Looking back, I would think I'd say 2011 was a great year, considering it was 2010 that Leslie had her cardiac event. But now that I have gone through all of 2011, I have found that 2011 was likely harder than 2010.
I think any time a family goes through a tragic event, it is only natural that stressors will arise, especially with relationships, and my life was no different.
Jay and I have been together for a long time, and have been through a lot of sadness. I think our first "loss" that we experienced as a couple was back when we were still in high school and my beloved pet rabbit, Floppsey, died. I called him and told him to come over. When he did, I was standing at the sink doing dishes. He approached me, not knowing what was going on, and I turned to him, eyes full of tears, to tell him she died. He held me as I cried, never once making me feel silly for crying over a rabbit.
We have been through losses of other beloved pets, his dog, Daffy and my dogs, Lady and Mya. We have been together through family member and friend losses: his grandparents, my uncles, a friend we graduated with. But the tragedy we experienced with my sister really changed me a lot. I hit the lowest of lows, and honestly, I will say that I was pretty hard to live with. Yet he stuck by me. I won't lie and pretend it was all perfect...we had some really rough patches and lots of arguing and bickering. But at the end of the year, we are still holding strong and more in love than ever.
This year was a year of changes and challenges. The biggest change was probably my job change. It was (is!) a huge change in our lives, but we are all adapting fairly well, and I still fully believe that it was the best for me and us as a family.
Financially, we have been challenged. Money is tight and it is a constant stressor in our lives. We still struggle with balancing schedules...making sure everyone is where they need to be, homework is completed (Jay does math with Ethan, I do English/writing/creative projects) and due dates are met.
Stating all of that, you might think this has been a difficult year. Well, it has. There have been hurt feelings, tears, anger, and resentment.
However, there has also been a WHOLE lot of love and peace. Do you know how incredible it feels to know that even at your worst you have this solid group of people who forever have your back? Amazing. Our kids are happy and healthy, and the light of our lives. They make us laugh daily, and there is nothing we love more than spending time with them. Even if we are able to sneak off to have dinner or lunch without them, we spend the whole time talking about them and sharing stories. We are SO thankful for them.
We also have a nice, small home, two reliable, safe cars, and job security. Our fridge is full, our beds are warm, and even if the credit card bill is cringe-worthy every month, we are still able to pay it off. We have plans for the future and we are both so, so optimistic about the years to come.
So with that being said...2011 was no walk in the park, but it was a year of learning and growing. It taught us just how strong we are and how even when the going gets tough, we keep chugging along.
I have no clue what 2012 will bring. Leslie's incident taught me that you can never predict what not only tomorrow will bring, but even the next hour. Nothing is guaranteed. But I can say that we are ready for whatever it brings. New memories, new challenges, and new opportunities.
Happy new year!