Happy New (old) Year

I’m reading lots of blogs and articles about how to go into the New Year.

Leave behind the past.

Move forward.

Let go.

But, I just can’t.

I can’t and don’t want to let go of this past year and the memories I’ve made.

It has been a dynamite year.

It has been a difficult year.

And its in both – the heartache I experienced and the boundless joy – that I can enter into the New Year – 2014 – with hope.

2013 for our family was amazing.

2013 for our family was difficult.

It was filled so much normalcy – so many days of mundane, of regular, of monotony – days that I longed for in 2012.

And 2013 delivered.

I can’t forget, though, that those days didn’t come without some work.

Evan had his huge 12 hour cleft lip and palate surgery in March.  A recovery where he stopped breathing 3 times.  A recovery where we had his first emergency room visit and stomach infection.  And a lot of tears and hard work to get him to eat and drink like a regular kid.

But, then…it was.

It suddenly just was.  It was suddenly a time of normal.  Where I didn’t hook up feeding tubes to his stomach…count every milliliter of special formula…calculate and weigh food to get calorie counts…do daily weights to make sure he was gaining weight without the help of his feeding tube.

He ate.  He drank.  He played.  He walked!

And slowly, we – the rest of the Hounsels – found ourselves fall into the normal that didn’t seem like a strange normal but just plain, vanilla normal.

Our best girl was allowed to go back to school and was taken out of isolation we put her in for the sake of her brother’s health.  She found friends, laughter, schedules, alphabets, counting, backpack, crayons.

I found joy in grocery store trips and pre-school drop offs where I toted around my boy on my hip and held hands with my girl as we looked both ways to cross parking lots.

I found joy in climbing stairs and slides and wood chip filled shoes on the playground without stares from strangers wondering “what was wrong with the little boy whose smile was so wide with a feeding tube coming out of his nose.”

Craig and I found normal in a vacation.  An actual vacation.

Our family experienced trips to the beach, the Happiest Place on Earth where Mickey, Minnie and The Princesses surrounded us with magic at every turn.

But, intermixed with all these joyous experienced were moments of grief.  Of heartache.  Of hardship.

I said goodbye to my grandfather.  I watched as my Dad stepped up to take the role of Patriarch of our family.

I fought insurance companies (and lost) and watch (present tense) climb higher and higher with each postman delivery. And bank accounts dwindle as we find ways to pay them.

My husband lost his job with a company he had been with for over 12 years and take a job for the sole reason to provide for his family and get insurance for his son…even if it meant less money….less prestige…

I answered tough questions from my girl as she comes to the realization that her brother isn’t “normal” and her inquisitions about all his hospital visits become more pleading…..like she needs me to reassure her that all will be well…when I can’t.

I watch (present tense) a slow and obvious decline in Evan.  With heavier breathing, lower oxygen numbers, bluer tint to his lips, his fingers and his toes I tickle and kiss..

We sent our boy in for an invasive heart catheterization just a weeks ago.

We were (are) faced with life altering decisions for 2014 for our son – our family.

I watched families in the Heartland lose babies.  I witnessed as friends – near and far – battle with illness, cancer, death, everyday life.

For some, 2013 was probably the hardest year…ever.

So, 2014.

Letting go of the old?  Moving forward.

I say, “No.”

I say use the weight of the heartache and the pain and the anger and the disappointment be a reminder to all of us that there is still hope and joy in those moments.

I say allow the sad memories to stay with you – as reminders that you came out of those moments stronger – just don’t let it linger.

I say remember the disappointments and don’t wish them away…but look at the step right after where the disappointment yielded something better than what you had anticipated.

Before you start spitting at the computer and shaking your fist at my picture saying, “This girl’s an effing joke…this year effing sucked and she has no idea what we have gone through….eff 2013.”

I just hold onto pain and to the crap as much as much as I hold onto the joy and the good because I know that one can’t exist without another.

I know that perspective isn’t about seeing the good…it’s about the seeing good despite the bad.

I’ve experienced things in this lifetime that I don’t wish on my worst enemy…yet I wouldn’t change my life for the world.

As our 2014 is shaping up to the be one where we will plead and beg for miracles….I know that in those miracles I may experience hardship, pain, and difficulty.  But, at the end of it…I know that intermixed in those  dark days will be days of light and hope.

So, let’s ring in the New Year, let’s bring in 2014 with a new found hope…and for some…as the beautiful “better” you have been needing and praying for.

Thank you 2013 for getting us to this day.

Happy New (and old) Year!