How do you say goodbye to a year that was the most life-changing one of your life? I hope you don't mind if I wax poetic for a bit.
It seems a strange thing to say (maybe), but I think 2006 was actually a more difficult year than 2008. Becoming a new mom with a baby who was the world's worst nurser brought out the worst in me. Truly. Just ask my husband. And anyone else in my immediate family. I wasn't very excited about motherhood nor did I accept it or its ups and downs with God's grace.
The next year, 2007, was a much better year. Matthew and I bought a new house, went to Barbados, and got pregnant with baby #2. Things were going great.
By the time 2008 rolled around I was in fine form. Or so I thought. God knew differently. He knew that I was simply gliding around on my own strength, looking to myself for answers, and ultimately ignoring Him. He knew that 2008 would present me with a choice. Follow Him or wither up and die. Thankfully, I heard His voice and am now closer to Him than ever. Enter Benjamin. My sweet baby. His birth threw me for a loop. Well, actually, his birth went quite well.
After his birth but before I found out he has Down syndrome, this picture was taken. Looking at it is very bittersweet for me. It makes me think of my mindset then. It reminds me of my old self. Much happier in a surface-level kind of way. But much more ignorant of what life is really about. Much less secure with herself. Less kind. More reliant on herself and less on God. Less accepting of others and their faults. Not that I've arrived in any sense of the word. I just feel like 2008 has caused me to grow about a decade in only eight short months. Oh, here's the picture:
And here is a picture of the "new" me. Only nine days later. Buckets of tears and millions of prayers later. Oh, how my heart still ached in this picture.
And now. We embark on a new year. I'm not really making any resolutions, though the same old ones are always here. I'd love to eat better (and less), exercise more, read my Bible more, and try not to talk about others as much as I do. We'll see. Those are all pretty unsurmountable tasks on my own. Know anyone who can help me? ;)
Now, onto the fun stuff. Here's a end-of-the-year questionnare I read about on Monica's blog. It looked fun. I do love to talk about myself. :)
What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Ooh, this is a hard one. It wasn't my first baby. I didn't take any trips. I know there is an answer for this but I just can't think of one.
Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I really had any. I don't really believe in them.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Uh, yeah. I did. Oh, and JOYCE!! My best friend since sixth grade. Oh, I love her! She and her husband struggled for years to have a baby and sweet Zachary was born just a few weeks ago. And my friends Juliann, Diana, and Marina all gave birth to their second babies this year.
Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully. That may just have pushed me over the edge.
What countries did you visit?
None this year! (And probably not any for the next few years...)
What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A size 12 waist. (A girl can dream, right?)
What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 24--The day Benjamin was born
October 3--The day of his open-heart surgery
I think both of these speak for themselves.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I think becoming a mommy of two and not losing my mind was pretty big. I even clean my house on schedule.
What was your biggest failure?
Probably just not living for God the way I should.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Does my C-section scar work? I'm still trying to pull the whole "Could-you-do-this-for-me-I-just-had-major-surgery" schtick over on people, but it's losing its effectiveness.
What was the best thing you bought?
My new laptop that I'm typing on right now. LOVE IT!
Whose behavior merited celebration?
I think that for being two and having a new brother born, Andrew has behaved wonderfully this year. Sure, he has his moments, but he really, truly is a good kid. I only hope 2009 will not prove me wrong on this!
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My own at times. I feel like such a hypocrite sometimes.
Where did most of your money go?
Did I mention open-heart surgery? It's a good thing that Matthew works for CIGNA Healthcare, because we helped them out a lot in 2008.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The NKOTB reunion!!!!!!!!!! Takes me back to 1991. :)
What song will always remind you of 2008?
"I Saw God Today" by George Strait
This song was popular right around the time Benjamin was born. I remember hearing it the morning he was born as we were getting ready to go to the hospital. It convinced me that I was going to have a girl. Little did I know the impact of that day would cause me to hear that song in a whole new way. Click here if you want to watch George sing it live on the ACM Awards this year, but don't forget to go to the bottom of this page (ctrl-end) and pause my music.
Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Hmmm....Kind of both, actually.
b) thinner or fatter? I weigh about the same now (give or take five pounds) as I did before I got pregnant with Benjamin, but things still don't fit right. Gotta love what pregnancy and childbirth do to the ol' hips.
c) richer or poorer? Ummm...open-heart surgery ain't cheap, y'all. (Though to be perfectly honest, we're not having to pay for a lot of it b/c we've got pretty decent insurance.)
What do you wish you’d done more of?
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Pick from this list: complaining, emotional eating, gossiping, wasting time on the computer (this doesn't count...)
How did you spend Christmas?
With my family. I love them all so much, and I'm so blessed to have them all living right here.
Did you fall in love in 2008?
Not in the traditional sense, no.
What was your favorite TV program?
Oh, wow, there are so many. Probably Lost. Or The Office. Or Project Runway. Or Top Chef.
What was the best book you read?
Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years With Down Syndrome by Jennifer Graf Groneberg
What was your favorite film this year?
I think I saw "Dan in Real Life" in 2008. I really liked that one.
What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I was 31 in March and stuffed myself silly at Provino's with my family.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Better seats at the Harry Connick, Jr. holiday concert.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Lounge pants and nursing bras. 'Nuff said.
What kept you sane?
This blog. Seriously, it has been very therapeutic.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None really. Though I really like Matthew Fox. Hubba hubba.
What political issue stirred you the most?
I suppose the election. Pretty monumental, even if it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to.
Who did you miss?
Joyce. I don't see nearly enough of her.
Who was the best new person you met?
Well, technically, I'm sure I "met" Stephanie before 2008, but it wasn't until this year that we ever really talked. She is amazing.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
It's not all about me. And God is bigger than anything you think you can't handle. Don't spend all of your time waiting for things to be the way you want them to be. You're gonna miss now. And now is really cool if you'll let it be.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast. These are some good times. So take a good look around. You may not know it now...but you're gonna miss this."