2018 and Free …

2017 was a year filled with so much LIFE … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I started 2017 in full recovery mode. My second round of meningitis at the end of 2016 was no less devastating than my first ten years earlier. I knew the healing process I had laid before me. At times that knowledge made it worse. Other times it made it better because I knew what to expect. I think in a way it made me more compassionate to myself. A rarity, indeed. But I wasn’t myself and I loathed it. I spent months in a fog. My days were filled with naps to combat the unrelenting fatigue and lists because my memory was so poor. My anxiety was at an all time high. I dealt with a significant amount of PTSD that came with an intense amount of anxiety. I was frightened I would have another recurrence. And that pain is NO JOKE. Understanding the severity of my encephalopathy was unnerving. No one can figure out how I was functioning “normally” with the amount of brain swelling I had. But I believe that the terrifying drug reactions I had after I got home really pushed me into a whole new level of fear. I literally thought I was dying. I don’t think I had ever been that scared in my life and sadly it has stuck with me. I can still get to that level of panic with even the smallest of triggers. Yes, healing is a long process. But I am happy to have to the opportunity to do it all again. This could have gone a different way for me and my precious family. And I refuse to be anything but grateful. Refuse.

In January 2017 I somehow convinced my doctors to let me train for a marathon. I truly believe that this was a huge part of regaining my strength again. As the days passed I got stronger and stronger. My memory improved and my fatigue got better with each passing day. If ever there was a time in my life to redefine myself, this was it. And it was incredibly liberating. Who could have ever imagined that the very illness that confined me gave me so much room to grow?!?! Definitely, not me!

When I look back on 2017 it is with mixed emotions. My illness and recovery made it hard. But life still happened. And that made it WONDERFUL. I was able to celebrate George’s high school graduation and watch him plan out his future. I was in awe of the growth that I saw in all of my children. Being a part of their daily lives is a gift from God that I will never take granted. NOT EVER. Summer was just straight up FUN. Having all four kids home for the entire summer was something I needed more than anything. Family heals folks, family heals!

Traveling was also a huge part of my 2017. We took lots of little trips and I was blessed with an amazing trip to Alaska. We celebrated birthdays and accomplishments. YAY, I was there and healthy enough to enjoy all of it! In 2017 I even managed to complete all 16 CEUs to keep my nutrition certification. Now THAT was a miracle having struggled with memory issues, HA! There was so much more too. The privilege of having these experiences and all the others often left me feeling overwhelmed. Like “WOW, thanks God! I’m here, alert and actually living this life!” Words can’t capture how I have felt time and time again. “Humbly blessed” comes to mind but it still falls gravely short.

Anyway, my point of writing about all of this is that regardless of the underlying need to heal and recover, life amazingly still engulfed me and took me with it. Despite the tough times I faced I felt an abundance of joy. I loved every difficult and fantastic moment of 2017 and everything in between. And surrendering to my new journey released me and allowed me to redefine who I was … again.

2017 was hard, but it was also beautiful. THAT sums up life in a nutshell. And as long as I have breath I will cherish every moment of it. If 2017 has taught me anything, it was that I do not have to remain tethered to unpleasant circumstances. That my mind, body and soul can still seek and find the freedom that hope gives us even in our darkest of hours.

So I guess that brings me to my 2018 New Year Mantra. Here goes …

Well, I hope you all have a year where you feel FREE!!!

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Taking the sting out …

Libs has a tennis tournament this morning. It started yesterday and her opponent defaulted. So we went to lunch at a place near the tournament that we don’t get to go to a lot. It made the 40 minute drive AND the 40 minute wait time (we got there early) for the match to be called not so frustrating. Yesterday she also didn’t need to be there until 2 pm, which is WAY better than having to be there earlier and not get to play. This morning 2nd Round begins at 9:30. I had set my alarm on a vacation day! Ouch. But thankfully I woke up before my alarm went off. I love it when that happens. I feel like I didn’t miss out on one of the biggest perks of winter break. SLEEP. I can’t be 100% sure but I think I see a recurring theme happening over the past day.

Well, I hope you all have a day where the sting gets taken out!!!

A lot of baggage …

Flying two kids home from college with all their STUFF is a lot to manage and can be quite stressful. They have finals to deal with and I’m excited to have them home and want their travels go smoothly. So it can be a big cluster of anxiety to say the least. But this morning after thinking about it and trying to convince myself that there is nothing to worry about, I made myself giggle (alone at the carwash).

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t have a lot of baggage!!!

Like a tornado hit it …

Between Thanksgiving, two kids coming home from college (then leaving again), traveling and Christmas shopping our home looks like fallout from a natural disaster!

Well, I hope you all have a day where your house doesn’t look like a tornado hit it!!!

Bright …

Today we witnessed a solar eclipse. It was pretty amazing. Since my girls and I are spending time together in San Francisco I "googled" the best place to see it. One of the places happened to be walking distance from our hotel. Libs really wanted to experience it so we decided to make the walk over to Crissy Field. Except one thing stopped us. Common sense. Well, that and the swarms of people standing in front of our hotel. It never occurred to me when I "googled" this morning that pretty much any place you can see the sky would be a good place to see the eclipse. Some days I wonder how I make it through the day without adult supervision. HA! I did however feel a lot smarter than about 95% of the people out there who where looking directly at the sun. Yikes!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel bright!!!

The sound of four …

This morning I woke up in another hotel room. It's been too many to count this summer. I'm not complaining, it's been fun. But there is an unfamiliarity you must overcome each and every time you travel. You look for ways to make it feel like home. For me, it's in the little things.

When you travel with kids it can be challenging. When you travel with 4 kids, it's REALLY challenging. But I love it. I love doing anything with my kids. They make life fun. And they give a familiarity to these very unfamiliar places. As a mom I know their every sound. I can tell who-is-who in the dead of night just by the sound of their breathing and moving. It is the sound of my life for almost twenty years now.

This morning I woke up before everyone else, as usual. As I wandered around quietly from room to room, getting myself ready, I could hear my children sleeping. And while these sounds were familiar, I got a little sad. These sounds will change soon. Very soon. Two will be gone. They will be off to college and sleeping in their new rooms away from home. I know this. Heck, this is the whole purpose of this trip. But it hit me all at once … even the sound of our lives is changing. I took a minute to sit and listen. To take it all in so I can remember what it sounds like to have them all together with me. Again, as they get older, I know that moments like these will soon be a thing of the past. And that's OK. It's life how it should be. And I wouldn't want it any other way. I can't deny that it hurts. There is pain in this process, but for them, I'll endure it. And for one more morning, I'll just be thankful for what life sounds like now.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you hear the sweet sound of family!!!

Restored and ready to go on …

After all our short trips and our crazy busy summer schedules I was happy to fall into MY bed last night. With nothing planned today I think my body finally allowed me to just CRASH. I slept for almost 10 hours. That is HUGE for me! And my mind and body surely appreciated it. With over 3 weeks left in our summer I now think I can make it to the end, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel restored and ready to go on!!!