Change…that seems to be the only constant in our lives. I hit upon this topic briefly in Time Marches On, but now as the end of the year is fast approaching I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the events that made up 2012.
…a year of change: Most notably my career. After almost 10 years at my job it became apparent in May that the kids, mostly Brendan, needed to have a stay at home parent, more than we needed the income from my job. It took some juggling, and some sacrifices on our part, but the past 7 months have been worth all that we sacrificed.
…a year of travels: Matt traveled for his job more this year than he has in any past year. We knew when he took the job three years ago that travel was going to be a big part of it, and were ready to deal with the hardships that come from being apart. We’d been very lucky during the first two years of the job, as his travel was limited to once every couple of months. In 2012 Matt traveled just about every single month and a couple of times twice in the month. It was very hard on the kids to have him away so much, and made me more thankful than ever that I’d left my job. Dealing with the kids alone was a whole lot less stressful when I wasn’t trying to juggle a full time job on top of it.
…a year of illness: Colds…flu…you name it, we had it. Having the whole family come down with the barfing flu the week of Thanksgiving was pretty rough, especially on the days that Matt and I were sick with healthy children running amok in the house. But the worst illness by far this year was back in June when Brendan had pneumonia. I have never felt like a worse parent than I did when I took my child (who’d been coughing for close to three weeks) into the doctor and found that he had a fairly bad case of walking pneumonia. He never ran a fever or had any other symptoms, just the cough. We have coughs running through our house so often that I don’t routinely take our kids to the doctor for every little cough. Now, after that experience, I watch every cough with increased fear and awareness; wondering if it too will turn unexpectedly into pneumonia.
…a year of scares: I will never forget the day that the daycare called me at work to notify me that they’d discovered a lump in my baby’s neck. That began a three week saga of late night doctors visits, and a desperate search for a specialist that could get my little girl in for an appointment on 24 hours notice. We have never been so fearful for one of our children as we were the night we watched as the small lump in her neck doubled in size between dinner and bedtime. The lump, which turned out to be an infection in her lymph node, swelled to the size of her little baby fist before we were through, and she was forced to endure the painful procedure of having it punctured and drained. I’d never been through an experience like that before, and hope to never again.
…a year of friendship: Brendan discovered in August that, for the third year in a row, his two very best friends would be in his class. He also got the opportunity to rekindle his relationship with his all time favorite teacher as she moved up to teach third grade this year. I’ve never seen him so happy in school as I have this school year. Meanwhile, Cameron moved into pre-school back in April and became close friends with a little girl in his class. Although they go to different pre-schools now, and live in different school districts, he still speaks of her often and very fondly. We communicate with her parents as often as we can and make sure we get them together whenever both our schedules permit it.
…a year of growing up: In February, Brendan completed most of the goals that had been on his IEP (individualized education plan–it’s what the school uses to identify the needs of students who qualify for special education services) since he was in pre-school. And now with his questioning the very existence of Santa, it becomes even more real that my little boy is growing up. Cameron got his first taste of “real school” when he started pre-school in August. Because we changed daycares, he was put into a class of students most of which had been together the previous year. It’s taken most of the first half of the school year but Cameron finally seems to be cracking his way into the cliques, and is finally coming home talking about his two buddies. Kaylee has transformed from a baby to a toddler. In January she was just starting to walk, and a bit unsteady on her feet still. Now she can walk, run, and climb with the best of them. Her vocabulary is amazing, as are the coherent sentences that come out of her mouth. There are days that it’s more like talking to a teenager than a two year old.
…a year of patience: Getting to the root of Brendan’s distress always takes a bit of patience, and by the time second grade ended we were at our limit. Brendan had formed some very bad habits at school which we recognized as signs that he was stressed out but his teacher was unable to see that anything was bothering him, and without her eyes and ears at school it became nearly impossible to identify the problem. Cameron has always been a bit difficult to handle, but this year he took his stubborn and contrary nature to a whole new level. It’s hard not to lose your patience with a child who will say no they don’t want something that you clearly know that they do (such as ice cream or some other treat.) All the while, Kaylee was working to discover the wide world around her and getting into everything….and I do mean EVERYTHING. Early in the year we had to vacuum the carpet every single day because if we didn’t any little crumb on the floor would go directly into her mouth. Over the summer she learned to dismantle anything and everything she could get her pudgy little hands on. Then, once the boys went back to school, she discovered the joys that crayons and markers can bring and began to color on everything she could reach.
…a year of reflection: With all that has happened this year, I’ve come to appreciate all that I have more so than I ever have in the past. I have three wonderful children, whom I’ve gotten to know and understand more this year than I ever have before. A loving husband who’s given so much to allow me to stay at home with the kids. A supportive family who’s helped us countless times throughout the year. And great friends who have stuck with us through all the ups and downs of this year and many years to come.