I've thought of many ways to write this post, as a reflection of 2009 by the month or as the decade by year. I thought about rehashing my goals for the year and implementing new ones. But honestly, my heart is just not in it. Don't get me wrong, 2009 was a pretty awesome year for my little family and it's nice to see I met a lot of my goals in addition to having the privilege of getting pregnant this year. But for all of the positive events we saw this year one heavily weighted negative is perched on my mind as the year comes to a close.
I've talked about my best friend Hannah many times on this blog. We lived together for nearly 8 years through college and beyond, were each other's maids of honor, shared part of our first pregnancies together, and then she had beautiful baby Matilda on Thanksgiving Day this year. Throughout our friendship we've gone through many life events together but I never expected to go through the loss of a parent this early in our lives. Hannah's mom, Ann, died on Christmas Day from breast cancer complications. It was unexpected and words fail me during this incredibly sad occasion. But what I can say is this: life is too short, it can be unfair and it doesn't always make sense. It's easy to get caught up in our monotonous daily routines, drifting from months to years, taking it all for granted and planning for the next 5, 10, 15 years as if they are guaranteed. All too often I let unimportant details take precedence, I'll lose sight of the present moment, and focus far too much on future plans. Plans--as if we have any control over what life brings to us.
How many times do we have to hear the phrase 'Live life to its fullest' to really understand what that means? Can anyone truly be present in the current moment on a consistent basis? Don't we all take our blessings for granted?
Ann was an amazing wife, mother, and although it was brief--a grandmother to Tilly. To say that she will be missed is the understatement of the year.
When Hannah told me the news on Christmas Day I was in shock. Although I only see my mom a few times each year, I was lucky enough to be with my own mother and grandmother for this bittersweet holiday. Mourning the loss of Hannah's mom with my own immediately made me realize how blessed I truly am, and that I should never take it for granted. Every email or phone call, every hug or laugh, every 'I love you' needs to be fully appreciated. I think we can all use reminders sometimes, and if nothing else Ann's death will always serve as a wake up call for me: to cherish every moment with my own mother, because nothing is guaranteed.
We spent an extra day in Missouri to attend Ann's visitation and I'm so glad we decided to stay. We also got to meet the most gorgeous little baby in the world, Miss Matilda, and although I was convinced the timing of her birth was awful now I realize it might be the biggest blessing throughout the ordeal. Sure, Hannah has a one month old baby to care for which brings on hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, and a general feeling of chaos. I thought that Ann's death would be too much to bear even under 'normal' circumstances, but with a brand new baby? Way too much. And of course, it's not going to be easy for Hannah by any means...but Tilly is just such a bright spot in the world, a reminder that life can indeed be good. Tilly will keep Hannah busy and hopefully she can bring a smile to her face every now and then, too. One birth and one death all in the matter of a month. Yes, life is a roller coaster of unknowns, so buckle up for the ride.
To focus on the positive side of things, let me present to you Miss Matilda in all of her glory:
Holding Nate's fingers....makes my heart melt a little bit:
And I swear I'm not looking at the baby with crazy eyes. I was telling a really good story, of course. But this picture is too funny not to share:
I guess if I reflect on the year and life in general, I would have to say that my only goal for 2010 is to be present. To live in the moment. And not to take a second of it for granted. I hope you can do the same.