Looking back isn’t something I like to do, but 2008 is a year worth remembering. It was a year filled with happiness, sadness and trials. It was a year that taught me how strong I can be.
In the earlier part of the year, I found out I was pregnant. Mind you, my baby was eight years old at the time and the whole baby thing was so overrated for me. I was to take my LSATs in the spring, start law school in the fall – well so much for dreaming. I found out I was pregnant with my now four month old when I was three months along. As surprises come, I was surprised. My eight year old had asked for a baby brother and even wished for one on this birthday. My eight year old taught me to dream in ways unimaginable and he had taught me how to be strong. My pregnancy was horrible and I can’t deny that I didn’t hate every minute of it. But he was my rock and whenever I needed help, he was there. It made me feel a bit guilty, but he loved being such an important part of his brother’s life. He has loved being a big brother everyday and he gives me hope and he makes me stronger when my days feel like they just won’t end. Having a new baby around can really be a stressor, but I honestly can say that I count my blessings everyday.
As far as trials go, my husband and his mid-life crisis would top the list. This year taught me how to be patient with my marriage and tested my faith in God. I let my husband make decisions with our finances that put us in major debt because I wanted to be a supportive wife. At first, I tried to stop him, but it only made him resentful so I let go. We are now knee deep in debt, but what I can say is that no matter what, our marriage is strong and we can get through this crisis one day at a time. I won’t look back nor will I play the blame game. That is not who I am.
This past summer, I finally got to my see my younger sister. She was my best friend growing up and I had not seen her in well over nine years. The last time I saw her was her wedding day. Life took us in different directions, but finally we were together. For the first time in nine years, all four sisters were together in one place. It was wonderful. We had our laughs, we cried and we fought as sisters do, but it wasn’t until weeks after she went home that our convictions and commitments to God, to family, to love and to life were tested. It was three weeks after her leaving that she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her prognosis continues to be good and I have to thank our strength, our patience, and our faith in God as family for the outcome.
Also, my husband and my brother disagreed about business and I had to intervene teaching me a lesson in not putting family and money together. I also angered my brother and his wife even more by standing up to them about their discipline attitude (to be nice) towards their young children and they haven’t talked to me in several months. I stood my ground on what I felt was wrong and I was willing to pay the consequences since I know in my heart that I have made the right call.
My little one was born in mid-September and reminded me why I am here. It wasn’t to be this important career woman (not that I don’t want to be, I just know where my priorities are) nor was it to stand out in the crowd, it was to love another person and to be loved back so unconditionally. I had forgotten what it was like to be needed so much by another human being.
So many other factors contributed my life this year, including two that are more recent and stood out for me. One was that I finally stood up for myself when it came to my ex-husband’s family. I made it clear that they were not a part of my son’s life if that is what he so chose. And second, I picked up the phone, called my ex-husband and made it clear that my daughters were a part of my life and I had a right to be in theirs. So I reconnected with my daughters after eight long (too long) years. Nothing could I have been so difficult and so emotional than speaking to them for the first time.
I also found out I had Rheumatoid Arthritis and I have dealt with pain all over as well having problems with my hands for the last six months. Finding out was life changing for me, but despite feeling like I had no control in the beginning, I accepted it and came out stronger because of it. I only have one lifetime and I am not going to waste it dwelling on things I cannot control. I want to enjoy every moment of it with the ones I love. I also started a support group on Twitter Moms for Moms Living with RA, just my way of giving back what has already been given to me.
2008 has taught me so much, but mostly, I know that I am truly blessed. I am not perfect and no human being is. I love my husband and my children more than my own life. I have sisters and nieces and nephews would do anything for me, a mother who thinks I am indispensable, and friends who would be there for me in a heartbeat. Yes, I have it tough sometimes and I have a tendency to take on more than I can handle. I have been tested time and time again and I always manage to come out stronger. (I can really roll with the punches!) I am a strong woman and I believe I can handle anything life throws at me. I may not always handle it well, or gracefully, or even correctly, but I handle it.
So 2008 is gone, but I won’t forget what it has given me. Now, 2009 is for me to control, to make memories with and to continue believing and yes, dreaming. I thank God everyday for the lessons in my life. These are the ones that have made me stronger and I do not wish my life was different or, in some way, better than it already is. What I have been through in my life, I would never wish upon any human being, but I do not have regrets because what I have been through has made me the woman I am today. For that, I am grateful. I try everyday to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and neighbor and that is all anyone needs to be. Moreover, I count my blessings everyday so I do not for once ever think that the grass could possibly be greener on the other side. After all, it doesn’t get any better than this.