Every new year brings the prospect of new beginnings, a chance to have a fresh start and hope for the future. As Christmas ends, many turn their attention to New Year’s Eve which for many is a party night. For me, it is a chance to reflect on the year past and anticipate the year ahead. When 2018 dawned, many, including myself, called it the year of change. And what a year of change it has been. It was filled with the changes I was expecting and a few changes that I wasn’t expecting at all. It has been a year of tremendous joy and a lot of tears. 2018 has brought a new baby, a new home and new personal growth.
Right off the bat, an unexpected change was that my husband and I learned that we were expecting a baby. After many miscarriages in recent years, our hopes were cautiously optimistic. Cautiously optimistic may be an understatement. We were excited but feared getting too excited. We looked to our due date as if it was so far away. Given our loss history, my doctor recommended a cerclage and weekly progesterone shots, which I did. I had the cerclage placed in March and started the shots shortly after for 20 weeks. With each shot and each doctor appointment, our baby was growing, thriving and it looked as if we would hold another precious child in our arms. Even though things were going well, I still looked forward to my due date with trepidation. I was still afraid to let my hopes get too high. However, God had us in his hands and on August 22, our beautiful baby girl was born via c-section at 36 weeks 1 day. And despite being born late preterm, she is a healthy four-month-old. She is the greatest, happiest and joyous unexpected change of 2018. I look forward to watching her grow in the future.
An expected change of 2018 was that my husband and I moved our family to a new home. We knew we wanted to move and finding a new home proved to be more difficult than we anticipated. We settled on an area which some would consider to be undesirable. However, we found a small but beautiful complex hidden among the “weeds” of the area. We have met amazing and very welcoming neighbors who are quickly becoming friends. Our oldest daughter is thriving in her new school and she enjoys going to school every day. I want to shout out to the family and friends who helped us with this change in our lives. As many know, moving is a great undertaking and no one moves without help. There are so many people who offered help especially with the heavy lifting since I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I know they wouldn’t want me to name them directly, but they know who they are. “Thank you” sometimes just doesn’t cover the gratitude my husband and I feel when we remember the help and support we received.
2018 has been a year of great personal growth on my part, particularly with my commitment to establishing boundaries. It hasn’t been easy to set those boundaries and I have been met with anger, guilt and silence at my boundaries. However, I realize that I cannot control how others react to my boundaries, I am only responsible for my reactions and responses. I have also learned that many people talk about boundaries but when you set a boundary with them, they get angry as if to say, “boundaries with others, not with me.” Everyone gets boundaries from me, yes everyone, and I have learned to respect boundaries set by others. If you haven’t read Boundaries by Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend, I highly recommend it. It has been an eye-opener for me and I have learned where I let others take control of areas of my life without really realizing it. It is easy to talk the talk and difficult to walk the walk, but once I started to walk it, the easier it became to continue. Personal growth is always a work in progress and it is important to learn from any failures, pick myself up and move forward.
In conclusion, every year has the potential for great change in our lives. With each new year, we can make the decision to better ourselves, to learn from the year’s mistakes and treasure the achievements. 2018 has been an amazing year with extreme highs and happiness to extreme lows and sadness and everything in between. However, life is about enjoying the happy days and learning from the sad days. I look forward to 2019 as it will bring continued growth and happiness. One of the many things I have learned in my life is that happiness is part of the journey and not a destination. I’ve learned to deal with the things in life that I can change and leave the ones I can’t to God.