2016. What a year. WHAT A YEAR
I have this awkward feeling that I’ve had the same conversations over and over this year and between this blog, Instagram (both pages), and my brief fling with Snapchat, I feel as though I have thoroughly dissected 2016, ad naseum. But just in case I haven’t, and for the sake of my future self, who will surely look back on this post with the hopes of a wrap-up, here is 2016 in a nutshell:
Pregnant with Sibby, N began interviews all throughout IN and TN; sometime in May, N received a job offer in TN. We were thrilled until communication began drying up and we received word that some changes had been made in administration and all new hires would be un-hired and reinterviewed at a later point. I gave birth to Sibby, my parents moved to Nashville; Sibby got really sick (still don’t know the cause or what to officially call it) ;thankfully she made a full recovery; while we were in the hospital, N received a a job offer in Nashville (from a different school than where previously hired and after many, many more interviews); we came home, put our house on the market and two days later left for vacation in Rosemary beach; on our way home from vacation, we dropped off N in Nashville to begin his job; the girls and I went back home to show and sell our house (important to note Sibs was 6 weeks old at this point); MG started kindergarten in August and went to live with my parents and N while Bea, Sibby, and I stayed back in IN to sell our house and buy a new one. We found our TN house that month after several misfires with the crazy-hot market, including being outbid by way over asking price at least once (a house would hit the market, N would go look at it that day while Facetiming me. If we liked it, we would be prepared to make an offer that night). In July we celebrated 10 years of marriage! It was supposed to be a big trip somewhere, but after the year we had, we threw together a little celebration in Nashville somewhere (we were just happy to be in the same city at that point!). We moved in on Labor Day weekend and my sister told us she was expecting!! (we would later find out it was a BOY!). Things finally began to calm down a bit but we still hadn’t sold our house until November when we got two offers within 48 hours, had some extensions and back and forths, but we finally signed the closing paperwork early this month. We thought we were done, in the clear, and then we received the terrible news that my very good friend Amy had passed away.
That was, quite possibly, the longest paragraph I’ve ever allowed on this blog and just reading it makes my throat constrict in anxiety just a little bit. Those are just the facts, the bones if you will. It doesn’t include the meat of this year.
What it also doesn’t include is… the times N would go south to interview. The stress of the interviews and how we never knew (but had to be prepared for) where we would end up.
It doesn’t include the pressure of having to get the house show-ready after coming home from an unexpected week stay at the hospital and leaving for vacation two days later (thankfully my mom was there..WHAT WOULD WE HAVE DONE WITHOUT HER).
…The way Sibby had to be forced out in an induction & her birth was almost a mirror image of MG’s, minus the 3 hours of pushing and the pushy doctors. This came after months of praying it wouldn’t be this way.
….The immense sadness and dread I felt at being alone for 8 weeks with the three little ones (including an unpredictable infant). (Like that time a tornado came through and came as close to our house as ever before) Add to this, the showings at all hours of the day and weeks of trying the shuffle my rag tag team around by myself while also getting and keeping the house in show-order.
…Sending MG off to kindergarten tore me up and not being there for her for the first few weeks was AWFUL. Then with a new job came growing pains and new stresses as you take on, not only a new school, but a new district, a new state, culture, and climate as well.
It doesn’t include that we had to say goodbye to some solid friendships, church, and neighbors, and start completely over, knowing it would take a year or more to find our footing.
It doesn’t include the back-breaking move and how this year HURT financially as we met our deductible between birth and infection (followed shortly by changing insurances—ughhh), moved on our own dime, set up our house and all the many expenses that came swooping in right away, and spent 3 months paying two mortgages. This was stressful at the time but I don’t want to remember it as a negative because somehow, I don’t even know how, He worked this out. Somehow it all worked out.
It doesn’t include that kindergarten has brought a pervasive undercurrent of sadness. Oddly, it’s exactly what I expected but I also expected it to be better by now. The household just doesn’t feel with same without MG in it at all times. I miss her. The other girls do too.
It doesn’t include that I still don’t feel recovered from having a baby. Amidst everything else I’ve been doing this year, I’m still trying to make my body, hair, and skin behave after what they’ve been through. I know it’s only been 7 months so that is normal of course, but still 16 months (7+9) is still a long time to feel like you are living in an unfamiliar body. And when I find myself looking around and taking stock of my new life, new house, new state, it would be nice to have something familiar, one thing that personally belongs to me that I could count on.
It doesn’t include the election, which is more of a national thing than a personal one, but I was blindsided by and unprepared for the emotions that the election results brought about and I think I spent a good week in an emotional fog.
It doesn’t include that we had to fire our first realtor and our second realtor was a GODSEND because we ended up having some drama with the sale, and had to make some hard decisions that he navigated us through.
It doesn’t include, what I feel is, a brush with death for our dear Sib (the sepsis infection), and then the very real death of my friend Amy that completely shocked me and terrified me and kept me in a state of fear and sadness for much of the remainder of this year.
This year was HARD. In so many ways. And probably the HARDEST one I’ve lived through, definitely the hardest one of our marriage. But the things that came out of it were good. Very good. We have Sibby. We have a wonderful job. We have MG in school at, what we would consider, our DREAM school. We have a house with all the amenities we could ever want. We have my parents. We have my sister and brother-in-law (and soon to be NEPHEW). We have the south. And more importantly, we have a better sense of God’s love for us, a testimony of how He redeems us, and a story of His faithfulness.
And I know I experienced an intimacy with Him that I hope will not be soon forgotten. I can remember how He took my fear away when I was living by myself (a true miracle because I am prone to fear so often). I can remember PHYSICALLY feeling His presence with me at times which I can’t ever remember feeing before in my life. He spoke so clearly to me during this entire year, right from the verse He gave me on December 31, 2015 which stopped me in my tracks,
Isaiah 43:6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
to the support system He gave me through friends and our neighbors when I was weak and vulnerable on my own.
I don’t like to reflect too much on this year because it instantly induces a leap of panic, but I do want to purposefully remember how loud and clear His voice was and how He just kept showing up with more and more love for us.
2016 took a lot out of me. I feel wind whipped and like I’m still catching my breath after a(n unplanned and untrained for) marathon. But It also gave me a lot. Probably the most any year has ever given me. So for that, 2016, I thank you, but I am eager to move ahead into your (hopefully) PEACEFUL and RESTFUL brother, 2017.