This morning, Charlie wet the bed. The distress call came around 3:00 am, and though I shot out of bed like the house was on fire, I arrived too late. Moments later, we had a clean boy, clean sheets, and a mama with insomnia. So here we are. And since my brain won't stop chattering, I find myself at the computer, sorting it out.
John Steinbeck was quoted as having said, "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." ...... Meh. I'm pretty sure I could live on the Equator and be perfectly happy without experiencing Tundra like temperatures. But whatever, Steinbeck. I get the point.
After all, Steinbeck is talking about life, right? Without enduring struggles and hardships, we might just sail through life and all it's blessings without a passing thought. Here's something: 2013 was a difficult year for me. I struggled with parts of my j-o-b, I struggled with being a mama to a challenging three year old, I struggled with my own ideas of being a good wife and what that even means. I struggled with the loss of our family dog, and wondered if normal people felt like their world collapsed when they said goodbye to their four-legged friends. And on top of these "daily struggles" I had the experience of enduring two first trimesters of pregnancy, only to be sent home with plummeting pregnancy hormones and pamphlet titled, "Miscarriage; A Shattered Dream". Sheeesh, so much for looking to brighter days.
On more than one occasion, I was ready to say "Good Riddance" to 2013. I remember wishing the whole year would just end. By April, I was begging Mason to move somewhere, anywhere, closer to the sun & warm weather. I honestly felt like the continual grey sky and frigid temps were taunting me, daily pointing out that I'm stuck here in Iowa, like a turtle on a fence post. In 2013, I decided I hated months that began with the letter "J"--for they were beginning to be associated with bad things in my life. (January pet death, July due date...January miscarriage, January due date...June miscarriage.) And of course, this was an intentional act of the Universe as well.
But slowly, as six months of collected pregnancy hormones declined, I began to open my eyes to the blessings of 2013. At first, seeking the blessings was like looking through Vaseline-covered reading glasses, but eventually the things in front of me began to come into focus.
Overall, we are healthy in Spahnville. We have every need met, and most of our wants. Often, when I'm dodging harried shoppers through Hy-Vee, I'm overwhelmed with the availability of food and amenities at my fingertips. I realize that this luxury is far from reality for many people in the world. We live in a clean, friendly town, on what may be the nicest block in the county. We have caring neighbors who share the squash and tomatoes from their gardens, and bring us cookies for no reason at all. We have a beautiful pool and several parks, all within walking distance from our house. Our air is relatively clean, and maybe some day the farmers will get the memo to stop dousing our fields in chemicals. We have endless enrichment opportunities for our son, and last year we watched him participate in swimming lessons and soccer for the first time. We have the ability to travel, and have done so every year-- exposing Charlie to new places and sights and sounds that are so different from our own. (Imagine! A state where it doesn't snow in January! Yes, my son... that is the beauty of California.) We have family and friends who call and text and email, ever reminding us that they are near and we are loved. And in our home, we have singing and dancing and running, tickling and laughing and jumping. And lots of farting. We have soup made out of craft balls and rescue missions being conducted from door knobs. We find plastic super heros under our pillows, and ragged Bunny in the pantry. We have dozens of cozy blankets and more books than some small countries. We have Despicable Me 2.
And at the end of the day, we have each other. We have you. Though 2013 wasn't the easiest year, it had plenty of blessings, none of which have been lost on me. And though I firmly believe that I could get used to a world without snow, Steinbeck was right. The scars left from 2013 may serve as reminders for how sweet life is right now.