on being new this year

Last year, around this time, was not an exciting time. It was not very hopeful. It was not very happy. I was very sad, and tired, and frustrated, and overwhelmed and also full of mourning.

Last year, in January, being nine months pregnant (really ten, but who's counting) and having a husband you would rather have in the hospital than out, and not knowing how much longer he's going to be around, and how much this is going to cost, and how are you going to parent one child, let alone two, especially by yourself, does not lend a good outlook on the rest of the year. The Hoosband was in the hospital initially until January 4th. That night and the following two days at home were terrifying--when something goes wrong in the hospital, people who take care of other people professionally are around. At home there is me. And my daughter. And my mom, who is a nurse as well, but without the aid of anything life-saving around her.

Would I wake up with my husband dead next to me? What does a stroke really look like? What does it look like when someone has blood clots in their heart? What if he dies in front of Birdy? These were my thoughts constantly while he was home. I never thought that he would get better.

Then I went to work on Sunday. Then I got a call from him, sounding terrified, because he couldn't feel his feet. Or most of his legs. Then I ran home (one of the benefits of working and living on a college campus mean you really can RUN home), and nearly lost it while we were getting his stuff together, which made him freak out a little, and he asked me to stop. Then I did. I did the full face-wipe and willed myself to stop crying. I pulled it together, and to this day I have no idea how I did that. My mom and I got him out of our apartment, down the 12 concrete steps, and into our car. And I drove him to the hospital.

Then he had two spinal surgeries in a week.

Then he didn't come home for over a month and half.

And he couldn't walk.

Also, they discovered he had cancer, but that was the least of our concerns. I don't think many people have that experience with cancer.

But the best part, the single best part of last year was when I had my son. My baby. I love him so, so, so much. It's so scary loving someone so much; having Birdy was terrifying like that too. And the Hoosband got to meet him, in his magic chair-transforming hospital bed, with all of us in our hospital gowns and blankets, in the L&D room. It was one of those "is this MY life?" moments.

When you are saying your marriage vows, when you are 21 and have led a comfortable life with parents who love each other, things like the "worse" part and the "sickness" part are very distant probably-not-going-to-happen-to-me things. But sometimes they do happen, and most of the time they happen hand in hand. And very, very, very infrequently they happen alongside the "better" things, and the "health" things, and that's when it get really strange and hard and confusing.

But we got through it. I got through it. And I wouldn't have done it as well if it weren't for our parents, and the incredible people in our lives.

Last year was a year of things happening to me and my family, some very serious things, and some things that were easier to just have happen than to do anything about.

But this year is different. There were a lot of struggles last year, but there were so, so, so many blessings. This year, this is the year of amazing things.

The first thing I did was get a hair cut on December 31st. I haven't done that since June of 2013. Yep. Moving on.

Then I bought some lipstick. Red lipstick. Well, a "lip crayon," really, which does sound more approachable than lipstick.

Then I signed up for a lecture at my local REI on walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It doesn't matter that I won't be going for years. I'm doing it anyway.

Then I joined Weight Watchers (again), but also added the meetings. I went to my first one today. I can't stop smiling about it, though I weighed in at 243 pounds (real talk), which is the heaviest I have ever been. But I don't care. My goal weight is 80 pounds from here, but I don't care. If I lose nothing at all, it doesn't really matter, since I'm me whatever I look like. I'm me. I'm me!

And I kind of like me, and I'm working to like me more every day.

Guys, I'm excited. I'm looking forward and not behind or at my feet, and I'm not afraid (maybe a little apprehensive, but not afraid) of the future.