A good year. The title of one of our all-time favorite movies. And a sentiment that’s not close to befitting the kind of year we’ve had.
More like overwhelmingly emotional. Excruciating. Beautiful. Soul searching. Full of extreme highs… and lows.
When the year started, the term “basket case” doesn’t even do me justice. I was a shell of a person, yet I had to leave my seemingly fragile first born child and return to work. We had just started therapy and added feeding therapy. How could I leave her and focus on anything else other than her needs. How could I sit at a desk and not sob daily? Only with the intense love of my colleagues did I find my way back again. Find out how to use my brain for other things other than research. I learned how to exist in two worlds- work Eloise and new special needs mom Eloise. I felt bipolar. Emotional wreck and stable, productive worker bee.
I had already started blogging about her on here. I had put our story out into the ethos and the bubble of love had begun to form around my heart. Protecting me from those awful appointments in cold doctors’ offices.
The frozen tundra of Central Park began to unfreeze just as I started to come out of my shell. As winter subsided and welcomed a New York City spring- our new life started to feel more comfortable. This is who we are. This is our life. Those words felt less terrifying.
Until… we started planning her first surgery. Not the most major she would ever have. Not the scariest. But… signing some of those documents, watching her being taken for anesthesia. Cuddling her post-op with marker on her face and almost purple complexion. I came so close to the brink emotionally. With my family and friends’ love… I didn’t go over that edge. It was the second biggest hurdle I’ve faced in my life. The first being her birth. Watching her thrive afterwards though was the first time I truly understood how much I was going to learn from my daughter the rest of my life. She would teach me strength. She would show me how not to dwell on the terrifying… just find the resolve to move on. Start a new day with a huge smile like nothing happened the day before.
By summer we truly had a routine. A life that felt natural… telling our story was second nature. I could tell anyone anything they wanted to know with full confidence. No shaking voice. No hesitation. I was certainly forever changed, but I’d returned to myself. I could focus on other things in my life. And.. upon a trip south with the family… we made a plan. We had the conversation seriously this time about leaving our city. Venturing to imagine a different life than we’d known for a decade. We chose Charleston and started madly making plans.
Amidst the rolling hills and winding roads, we celebrated bug’s BIG birthday in September. We gathered at my alma mater to celebrate so much. Our survival for one. Lacrosse another. And family. How our tapestries as individual families have begun to really weave together. New traditions and old going hand in hand. And I got to share a significant piece of my heart with my daughter. I dreamed of what it would be like for her to go to W&L. For her to follow in her momma’s footsteps. That weekend was the most special I had this year. It’s made me dream of Lexington ever since and reaffirmed that a smaller town was the best choice for us. It was clearly our destiny.
With the promise of a new life for our new family, we focused on Charleston. We told our friends. We told our jobs. We picked a date and it rapidly approached. All too soon, boxes littered our small Columbus Circle apartment and a future house was closer to a reality. Then came the goodbyes. Within both of my worlds- the mother and the worker… I had found such nurturing homes. At Clarke and at work- I had friends who helped piece me back together. I hadn’t a clue how to extract myself from such nurturing places. How to leave these people… for essentially one or two friends in my new life. I was leaving a city I loved and a decade of memories to stay for a year in a town of retirees and off season beach goers. I didn’t want the city life anymore but was I crazy? My closest set of friends were over an hour away. But… this was a choice for Landon. For my family. For future dreams. I didn’t come first anymore. And off we went.
Our life here has been transformative, frustrating, love-filled, memory making, challenging and full of growth. Our marriage has been stitched back together. Our family has learned how to coexist in this sleepy town, during winter of all seasons. I feel more hopeful for our future than I ever have. Our dreams are closer to a reality. Our hearts brimming with pride over how much Landon has grown here. With freedom to roam… literally.. she’s taken off.
As this year comes to a close… I am in awe at where we started and all that’s happened. As we all should, I have reflected on my own personal growth. I learned how to be a warrior. I learned how to run towards the challenges. Embrace the would-be pain and turn it into love. I’ve learned to believe in myself. Trust my instincts as a mother and a wife.
2014 feels daunting- building our first house, building a business and a nonprofit. Building a new life in a new city. If this past year has taught me anything though it’s that we’re capable of hard things. We can succeed at anything if it’s done together.
So.. dear readers… our little family wishes y’all a very happy new year. I hope your time of reflection gives you peace and resolve for this next chapter in your own lives. Thank you for the love. Thank you for the support. We can’t wait to start this new journey with you.