I had lots of great photos to add to this blog post, but as I’m attempting to post this on my phone in Florida, it’s giving me a heck of a time! So I’m only including two and I apologize in advance if the formatting is weird on this one. :)
On this last day of 2019 I find myself reflecting on all that took place over the last 12 months. It was a busy, full year, and while many are ready to bid 2019 adieu, I find that I am wanting to hold on a little bit longer.
In the last 12 months we’ve enjoyed travels to Minnesota multiple times, trips to the Oregon coast, and currently a vacation in Florida with some of our best friends, people we can go months without seeing and yet pick up right where we left off. Time with family & friends and exploring the world are things that are important to us, and we were able to have some great adventures in 2019.
This is the year that I was able to devote time to my writing, to finally claim it as a part of me and what I love to do. Writing is something that’s always felt very personal to me, a secret I never wanted to share with others. I’m slowly overcoming my fears associated with letting others in on what I have to say. I may continue to guard my words, may never share beyond this little blog, but I’m okay with that. I’m happy with the work I’ve put into various personal projects, and how they’ve helped me grow as a writer and as a person. I finished a book in 2019 and started another. My goal for 2020 is to continue writing; whether for myself or for a broader audience is yet to be determined.
2019 had some lows. We said goodbye to our sweet Zoey girl, our fur baby who we had loved for 14 1/2 years. We miss her every day but feel so lucky that she was ours. We also had some cancer scares in the family, and have been thankful for positive outcomes.
There were some great highs for us in 2019. Brad ran a marathon, crushing his goal of beating the time set in his first marathon by his 23 year old self. We were able to give the greatest gift we’ll ever give when we helped a family grow through surrogacy. (Mini surrogacy update: Surrobaby is doing great! He’s five months old now and eating his first solid foods. Adorable!) Arabella, Teagen, and Finnegan all enjoyed a year filled with new and deepening friendships, and successes in academics and sports. Watching them grow has been such a joy for Brad and I.
2019 also marks the only year that we’ll have Baby D with us the whole year. This is the part that makes me want to hang on to 2019 with all that I have. She came to us in September 2018 at four months old, and is tentatively set to leave us in March 2020, two months before she turns 2. That’s in 11 1/2 weeks. But who’s counting?
I’m counting. And I’m dreading it with every inch of my being, every little molecule of my heart. People say it’s great that we do foster care, but honestly it is the other way around. Foster care has been a gift to us. Baby D is a treasure that I will forever be grateful for. Like my own children she has changed me, and she will always have a piece of my heart. I’m grateful that (if she can’t be with us) she will be transitioning to a loving family with her biological siblings. I’m not worried about where she is going - she will have a good life with good people. That is a relief. I know she will be safe and loved. I’m just not sure what to do with the hole she’s leaving behind, with the fear that in some way I am letting her down by letting her go. Sometimes the sadness of it hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m not sure how to let her go.
So while I may want to hang on to 2019, I know that it doesn’t work that way. Tomorrow will come, and 2020 will be here. It will be up to me how I accept it. Dig in my heels or embrace it? I’m choosing happiness and joy. I’m choosing to focus on the good, because like 2019, 2020 will have many shining moments. There are several big things we’re already looking forward to in the year ahead, and while there will undoubtedly be lows, it’s the anticipation of the highs that propels me forward. And it’s the way we handle those lows that builds character, that helps our kids learn what to do in the face of unavoidable adversity. We will get through them, together.
My hope for 2020 is that we all (this means you, too) have more highs than lows. That we act in kindness toward others, and feel the spirit of kindness from others in return. That we all have a year filled with things that bring us happiness and joy.
Thanks to all of you who have followed along as we have shared our adventures in surrogacy and foster care. It’s been a busy ride!