There are years that go by a little less noticed, some that seem amazing, and some like 2015 that were just hard. During the past holiday I looked around and saw some new faces. New friends and new babies are always such an exciting joy with a future filled with possibilities. I also looked around and was sad to not see faces of people no longer around. Some (my dad and Bret's grandmother) have passed and I pray are celebrating in the Lord's glory reunited with other loved ones gone before. Others have just faded from our lives and I am learning that is OK too.
This past year felt harder for me personally than it did as a family or even as a couple. Usually our trials are so linked together that I have always felt we were clinging to each other during difficult times or dragging the other back up when one of us falls. However this year I felt very alone in my struggles.
We decided that four children completes us. On most days I am whole heartedly in agreement but every now and then I am so saddened by this. I have thought a lot about it and my feelings are for all the wrong reasons. For so long I have identified myself as the mother to young children who desperately need me constantly. I feel very lost not bringing a new life in to watch over. It's not that my kids don't need me but with three in school fulltime I feel panicked as to what I am going to do when all of them are in school. Who am I if not a stay at home mom to small babies. Should I still stay home? If I work what am going to do and is it worth the cost? Before my dad died I thought I would spend more of that free time continuing to take care of him.
Grief is such a new feeling for me and one that I don't think you can really understand until you experience it. I have lost loved ones before but not so close and not so suddenly. It comes in waves and so unexpectedly. It truly is a process that you have to work through and just keep going.
We lost our beloved dog, Sadie this year. Compared to the grief of losing my father it is nothing but yet it is so much. She was my daily companion and constantly showed such loyalty and love to us all. She is missed.
Besides all of the sadness and worrying there was such joyful highlights in our lives this past year too. As each of our children grow and mature there is so much fun and new adventures to discover. Our kids are becoming their own people and it is such a blessing to see who they are becoming.
Traveling is such a joy for Bret and I. Last year we went to Dallas as a family to watch Emily compete in cheer. It was a lot of fun for us to get out of town and to see her excel at something she loves so much. We took the kids to a midevil times restaurant and to this day it was such a highlight of their year. In the spring we took the kids and Bret's parents and went on a Carribean cruise. It was a blast and so many memories were made. The kids loved the kids camp on board, the trip around Cozumel, and of course swimming with sting rays and sea turtles.
Bret and I were so lucky to get to go on an amazing dive trip with friends to Belize and had a blast. I have found that time in Colorado, at the lake, on vacations, and just experiencing things in our lives gives us all so much joy and has their weight in gold.
So goodbye 2015. I hope 2016 has less heartache and more experiences of joy.
PS Sorry for the photo dump!