Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Year in Review, Means a Year in REAR VIEW

This time last year,  I promised my husband that 2013 (because 13 is one of my favorite numbers) would be our best year yet...flash forward to the present, and we know that wasn't quite the case.  Though it wasn't our best year-it has been the most eventful.  I've been chomping at the bit to get out of this year and into the new, but in my time of reflection, I have remembered the good, the bad, the ugly, and most beautiful moments of the year.

We started 2013 off with a bang. A nonstop, fun-filled trip to Las Vegas with great friends and the opportunity to cross and item off our respective "Bucket Lists." Cage-side seating at a UFC event, prefaced with a sushi dinner-quite possibly Dow's dream date.

In early March, we were back in the swing of international traveling and deep in the crystal blue waters of Honduras.  A two-week trip to Utila/Anthony's Key focused on diving, whale sharks, and a deserted beach. Perfection.

3 days after returning from Roatan, Dow gave me a hug, and he knew.  He urged me to take a pregnancy test and we were elated to find out we would be expanding our family. Later he said, he could just feel it when he pulled me near. I'm convinced it was just the extra lbs from our over indulgent vacation, but he insists otherwise.

By late June, the headaches and light sensitivity had started and our lives were forever changed.  We ironically spent Independence Day shackled with a devastating brain cancer diagnosis.  Determined to still celebrate the holiday weekend, we shot fireworks with family and friends and tried to maintain some normalcy the weekend we returned home.

After establishing our "new normal" we conquered brain surgery, several rounds of chemotherapy, and radiation.  Never knowing what lie ahead with the next step, the unknown has at times been paralyzing.  With each step, Dow has amazed me in every way with his strength, attitude and will.

This November, we experienced the most beautiful moment of the year.  The arrival of our perfect baby boy.  That moment is quite possibly the most emotional experience I have ever had.  Unabashed joy pierced with fear, anxiety, guilt, and sadness.  Then just hours later, the threat of losing him.  Two weeks in the NICU will definitely make you thankful for the sleepless nights with a healthy baby.

Sixth Months ago I wasn't sure I'd get to ring in the new year with my husband.  A disease process with a grim and sporadic diagnosis among it's patients, we braced for the unexpected.  Dow set a short term goal of us experiencing  a normal delivery for our baby boy.  That meaning him by my side, catering to my every need. Healthy, with no protective masks or gowns for his or Brandt's safety. We accomplished this and so much more.  With the unexpected curve ball of Brandt being septic, Dow was back in his element.  He managed to be involved with every aspect of Brandt's care, soaking up every bit of NICU knowledge he could and being an absolute rock for me.  At a time when I couldn't even walk into my son's hospital room because I couldn't bare to see one more loved one sick, Dow was there by his side and also mine.  That two-week period proved once again what I have said from the day we met.  Dow is one in a million.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season compounded with a newborn, two year-old and the beginning of a medical trial has taken a toll on Dow's energy. He remains very active, but we are cognizant of how he's feeling and try not to schedule too many things.

Analysis of the past year has put so much into perspective.  While I would typically be stressing about the not-yet-lost baby weight and what I might wear for a New Year's Eve outing, I am instead thrilled to be sharing an intimate dinner with good friends and content to pull an old dress from the closet.  I won't spend this evening worrying it will be the last New year's Eve we spend together-I will instead enjoy it and be looking forward to a fresh start because I can say with confidence that from my soul I feel we have many more to share.

The only resolutions I plan to make are to do my best to keep my family happy, healthy, and enjoy every moment.  Though I have learned so much about myself, love, family, and relationships, I am ecstatic that this year in review puts this year in rear view.