I have been hearing so much over the past few weeks how glad everyone is that 2008 is over. That the economy sucked and people are losing jobs and that we have lost loved ones. All of that is true, but for me 2008 brought so much more than lost dollars and grief.
I have been thinking a lot about all that I have been given this past year and how blessed I have been. Even through the loss of people we have all loved, I realized how incredibly blessed to have known them for the short time that I did. Our dear beloved Uncle Jimmy passed in March, which was very painful for all of us. And it has been difficult watching Billy mourn someone who meant the world to him. And although I only knew Jim a very brief, but fantastic 9 years, he has and will continue to make a huge impact on my life. And I am not sure that I completely qualify to speak on anothers death, because I have been fortunate enough in my life to lose only one person that caused me to mourn, my Grandmother. But I have not lost a parent or sibling or spouse and I really don't know the deep pain that people who have lost that type of loved one feels, so maybe I don't qualify.
But I have watched my husband deal with the pain of his brother's death and my best friend deal the with the shocking sudden death of her husband and I guess I do feel the pain of their pain. And for that I am glad 2008 is over.
But really 2008 was a miraculous year for me. After years of trying to have another child and facing the painful reality of yet another dream possibly being dashed, I actually did get pregnant in late 2007. I had prayed for 4 years for a daughter, 4 long years. And even though I knew in my heart the baby was a girl, I was still shocked and shaking when the tech told us at the ultrasound! The pregnancy mostly went off without any problems, just the usual being tired, hot all summer long, etc. But unlike with Connor, we are now in a house and could paint the walls of a nursery, heck- this baby actually got WALLS! So I chose red as the main color, which seems quite odd to most people who know me and my long love of pink. But I felt red would suit this baby, it's a bold, strong color and that is what she would be- bold and strong.
When July 28th arrived and I went into surgery, I felt what all women feel in that moment, anxious, excited and very relieved that I would be able to breathe again! Then we had some tense moments when our little Missy wouldn't come out when the doctor requested and her arm broke in the process. All of that was a bit hard, but as Bill and I do, we take it, get as much info as we can and move forward. It was still a miracle, the child who wasn't supposed to be- was. And Regan Jamie Marie entered our lives with as much commotion and red hair as she could.
In the days after, I couldn't tell if it was the narcotics or if something really had changed. As I began to heal and we brought Regan home, I really felt different- really different. I healed from the surgery and Regan's arm did as well, Connor went back to school and Bill went back to work. The DNC was here and the Rockies didn't perform as they had in 2007. But suddenly for the first time in 10 years I felt as if I was awake!
The last 10 years of my life have been difficult, very difficult at times. I am not going to go into all that has happened, but for those of you who know, you know I had changed for the worst in some ways during those years. Suddenly I let fear run everything. I wasn't social anymore and aside from one or 2 friends here in Colorado, I didn't have any real friends. But all of that changed after Regan was born- all of it. Now that is not to say that I didn't have huge blessings come into my life, I did- BIG ones. It began with Chase, then my sweet Billy and my lovey Connor. But I felt like some part of me that I found at 21 had been lost forever. And after having Regan and turning 35, I found her! Older and wiser, but still a bit hot-headed and all Melinda.
And even as I continued to work with my Dad and my brother from home and took care of my little ones, I knew I needed more. We had begun attending a church close to us last March, shortly after Jimmy passed, I think he is the reason we went back to church as a family. I really began to like the church, it is Methodist and having been raised Catholic and married in a non-denominational church, I had no idea what to expect. They have a wonderful welcoming community! The first day we went we received a welcoming bag later that afternoon with a loaf of bread and info about the church- who knew people still did that in this day and age? And in this very white, suburban area! Instantly I felt welcomed. So we kept going throughout the spring and summer and decided that we would like have our baby baptized there. After Regan was born, I joined the Moms group there and met some great women, even a Pi Phi from CSU! Connor was getting involved in the children's program and I began to come out of my shell!
So as we moved into the fall, I began volunteering for things at Connor's school. Another Mom and I plan the 4 parties throughout the year. I also wanted to join the PTCO, but was beginning to stretch myself a little thin. I also thought about working outside the home, even with a 4 month old! I found out our church was looking for a Childcare Coordinator, so I filled out an application and sent in a resume! The interview went very well and I was called and offered a different position, one that initially I was bummed about, because I had wanted the first one, but this second one suited my personality and skills better. So I went back in and talked with them about being the Children's Ministries Assistant. It sounded great, it was close, I could work between the hours that Connor was in school. The only hitch was that I had this gorgeous baby and I would have to find daycare for her. Talk about massive maternal guilt!
So Bill and I began interviewing home daycares and we found one that was absolutely perfect! Her youngest son happened to have been on Connor's baseball team this past year and she has five boys (yes FIVE!) and I had seen her with her boys over the summer and she was always so calm- I would not be so calm. But she has been wonderful! She is right around the corner from us and her kids are all in school, she takes care of a four year old and another baby just a few days older than Regan. I knew she was the perfect fit when I walked in after Regan's first day and saw the two babies on their tummies just staring at each other in wonder! She was so happy to be there!
So I continue to work with my Dad, but also have a new job. I work with a lot of wonderful people. Especially the woman I share an office with, she is my age (well almost!) and has three kids (her oldest is Connor's age and actually played on his t-ball team back when they were 5). Anyway, Lisa and I are similar and she hasn't complained yet about my music choices on my iPod!
My life has done a complete 180 in the last 6 months and even though we are incredibly busy and have to plan in our downtime. I wouldn't trade it! This isn't the life I planned on at 21, but then again I hadn't planned on the curve balls I was thrown either. But out of those curve balls, I have grown up, learned to have compassion for others and found myself again.
And that is why 2008 will always remain my favorite year. Happy New Year friends, I hope your 2009 may turn out to be as exciting and changing as mine has been.
See ya, Melinda