This year will go down in my personal history book as one of the most awful years ever…and also as one of my favorites.
Really awful because I blew out my back in January, then blew it out even more in February, and it was so bad that I had to have back surgery in March. And nothing’s been the same since.
Everyone asks me if the back surgery was worth it, because all we ever hear are the horror stories, and I will honestly admit that it was totally worth it–my back was in such bad shape that I couldn’t use my left leg; I was dragging it behind me and crying non-stop because it hurt so much, and my prescription pain meds barely touched the pain. I remember thinking the day before the surgery that if the surgery did not get rid of the pain, that it would be better to be paralyzed because I just could not fathom continuing on while hurting so much.
When I woke up from the surgery, that pain was gone. BUT…in order to make one of your legs not work, you have to do some serious injury to your spinal nerves, and there’s only so much that can be done to repair an injury that extensive. So, yay for the surgery, but the consequences of that injury have changed our daily lives in many ways, and mostly for the negative.
But we chugged along, and have done our best, and when I look back on this year and see everything that has managed to happen despite recovering from back surgery, my husband working in a different hemisphere, a kid’s broken foot, my own broken foot, and my husband going through three months of unemployment after finally being able to “come home,” I’d say we did a fantastic job this year.
So, yeah, a whole lot of “difficult” came our way in 2015.
But everytime I start thinking about all the “difficult,” I can’t keep myself from thinking about all the awesome that came with it.
My husband was in Australia when I blew out my back that second and brutally awful time in February. I couldn’t feel my leg from my knee down, and I was home alone with four young children. And we were OK because our church friends swooped in and took care of everything. From driving me to the emergency room, picking up my prescriptions, arranging childcare, bringing in meals, and scheduling mothers to come over every evening and morning to help get my kids ready for bed and school, doing our laundry…everything was taken care of. Everything. Michael couldn’t get home for days, and we were OK. Days.
I cry every time I think about it. And that help didn’t end once Michael finally got home–there has been so much love poured out on our family throughout this year in the form of service, food, friendship, and financial support. Forget a safety net, we had an enormous safety pillow.
And it feels like we all grew this year; each one of us started pushing out on our own individual paths a little.
Bluebird was selected to go on to the District Science Fair, she tried out for the school play, she completed an robotics class, and she was invited to join the “Mathletes” team at her school.
Penguin was baptized, her softball team won the City and State Championships (oh my gosh, the amount of time our family spent at the baseball fields this year!), she started attending ward choir, she’s getting straight A’s, and she was also invited to join the “Mathletes” team.
Junebug has had a hard time adjusting to attending school, but she loves her teacher and going to school. We’ve done a lot of work on her reading abilities, and her level tests before Christmas Break show that she is definitely improving. We took a “Mommy & Me” quilting class together over the summer, and she’s so proud of her quilt. She started piano lessons this year, and she’s enjoying them.
Monkeyboy, after spending the entire summer telling me that he was NOT going to go to school in the fall, loves Kindergarten. He asks me every morning upon waking whether or not it’s a school day–and if I say that it’s the weekend and there’s no school, he immediately frowns and mumbles, “Ugh, worst day EVER!” He played T-Ball this year and really enjoyed it, and cannot wait until baseball starts this coming spring.
I can’t even imagine what this year has been like for Michael–gone for months at a time, severely injured wife, medical bills, unemployment…and yet, he also remarks often about how blessed we’ve been, and how thankful he’s been that he was unemployed so he could be home and help me. His unemployment started a few days after my broken foot was diagnosed in September and I was placed in a boot for six weeks. Between that stupid broken foot and my back, I was pretty useless for that time, but he was home and took care of everything.
But, finally, he was offered a job at a seriously cool company, Rustica Hardware, and he has come home every day since starting and told me that he really likes this job. He hasn’t said that he likes his job in years. It’s wonderful to see him come home happy again.
Being all busted-up back and all, I’ve been rather useless for most of the year, actually. But, I can sew and cut paper, and I’ve thrown myself into those activities in an attempt to make up for the fact that I can’t load the dishwasher, can’t move clothes from the washing machine to the dryer, or pick up things from the floor–all of which are at the top of the list of a homemaker’s duties. If I’m going to be honest, it is kind of nice to not be allowed to do chores…but I miss doing them; I miss feeling like I’m “creating” our home. So I do the next best thing, and try to make really nice things with the abilities that haven’t been affected by my injury.
Which led to some nice opportunities this year, from being called to serve as the Activity Days Coordinator at church, and being asked to test patterns and create projects for the Fat Quarter Shop and Calico Cat Fabrics store. I’ve really enjoyed these opportunities, and hope that they continue to come my way in the next year. It’s a fun way to spend my days.
So I can’t feel blue about 2015 for very long because I always think about all the really wonderful things that happened alongside the difficult things. And once that feeling of gratitude starts to swell in my heart, it pushes out the sad feelings. Light is more powerful than darkness.
I cling to the hope that my back will improve in 2016, but if it doesn’t, we’re going to be OK. And knowing that it can be OK…means life is good. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did; and we’re still doing good.
So…we’re OK, and we’re optimistic about what 2016 will bring our way. It’s not a bad way to end an awful/awesome year.
Happy New Year to you, and may 2016 bring you great blessings and much for which to be thankful.