But what about all the Christmas memories? Like Jena falling out the window right before Christmas dinner? Or our spaceship earthesque Christmas with my sister attending via Skype, even though it was two in the AM there? What about our trip home from the funeral that ended up taking two days, instead of 5 hours? Or Santa’s phone call? Or? Or?
I can’t help thinking about this year though. It’s been a doosy. In college I was used to my world being turned upside down every few months. I’d take stress tests and be under ‘unberable’ amounts of stress every time. I had always ‘just moved’ or ‘just changed jobs.’ Then there was the whole getting married thing, that brought a little stress. Then there was all his changing jobs and both of our changing school situations. Crazy was the norm.
But then Grant was born, we moved to Orlando and things actually settled. For about 2-3 years things were relatively calm. Sure Jena came, but she was planned. We both had steady (non-commission) paychecks! We’d lived in the same area, even the same house for two years! We were obviously getting bored.
So to spice it up a bit we decided to start the year with an unplanned pregnancy. SURPRISE!
Immediately following that, my sister decides to move HALF WAY ACROSS THE WORLD! Running away from the mayhem that my family now brings everywhere we go, no doubt.
The very same month my sister takes off Neil’s Uncle Steve dies, while we are there with the family in Gainesville. Meanwhile my sister has been quarantined in South Korea for Swine flu at the peak of the pandemic.
A few months to deal with the shock, grief, try to catch your breath and Jacob arrives! Early of course, this being the year of unexpected EVERYTHING.
Starting to feel that life is returning to normal and oh guess what? Jacob has a dairy intolerance too. What? Not just milk like Grant? ALL dairy this time? Oh that’s just swell! I always wanted to be a vegan! Just in time for the holidays. Good thing I have no use for casseroles or baked goods OF ANY KIND!!
The my Grandma dies, and off I go with Jacob across country. As if dealing with grief weren’t enough add scouring every airport and covered dish for food I can actually eat, FUN!
Three days home from the trip that took 10 times as long as it was supposed to and the Christmases begin. The first was great, though the absence of Uncle Steve was a gaping hole no one wanted to address. The second was great, though the kids were getting a bit worn. By the third they were delirious and screaming. Add the musical instruments the recieved for gifts and Neil and I were beelining it for the door. By the fourth we just let the kids open theres and ended it, finishing our gifts to each other after they were in bed.
Reading it all again exhausts me, doing it all exhausted me. In fact the one over-riding feeling of this whole year has been exhaustion. There has been good, there has been joy. Watching our big kids grow closer to each other and now their new brother has been an amazingly unexpected joy. Watching Jacob period has been blessing beyond measure. Above all I’ve learned, no matter what I plan, God directs. I tattooed it on my foot so I’d never forget.
It’s been a stressful and grief filled year, but I look at the pictures below and my heart is full. Many thanks to Jon Shuler for capturing my family so perfectly, every time I look at these I smile. This is what I’m remembering from this year.
Notice the two sets of legs in the background. You didn’t really think we’d leave poor Jacob with those two did you?