January 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
2015 has been a big year. A memorable year. A year that we’ll look back on decades from now and say “that’s the year Lucy was born!” But not the most fun, or easiest year.
We found out in early January that I was pregnant. And cue three months of worrying: will [she] make it? (We didn’t know it was a girl, but we had our suspicions.) I worried. I worried a lot. I didn’t feel pregnant in those first few months, in which most women said: and why are you complaining?! It’s true — I felt pretty much normal except for the occasional feeling of being seasick. I was ecstatic when I felt those first tiny kicks.
We redid our floors in March and April. Okay, I can’t really say “we” because I had nothing to do with it. Between my dad, my uncle Gary, and Ben, hardwood floors were laid in the kitchen and living room. And then the entire top floor was sanded and sealed. During this time, we had to move our entire top floor into the garage. Ben lived at my sister’s place for a few days, while I ran away to the cities. It was worth it: we love love LOVE our new floors. Although I feel much less enthusiastic about sweeping and mopping them.
In May we went to Savannah, Georgia. Ben likes taking vacation after Easter. The Easter season — Lent and Holy Week — is a long (and busy) stretch in the church year, so we’ve decided to take a vacation shortly after Easter Sunday every year from here on out (please, hold us to this). Our criteria this year included: somewhere warm, somewhere we haven’t been, and somewhere with a beach (an ocean, really). We picked Savannah. We spent the first part of the week on Tybee Island, and the second part in Savannah. It was lovely. We took long walks on the beach, kayaked to a lighthouse (sadly did not see any dolphins), and strolled through Bonaventure Cemetery made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Also it was the first time I saw Baby Durbin kick. And the first time people commented on me being pregnant. One of my favorite moments was at a B&B at which we stayed, and a woman who was staying there eyed me from head to toe, and said in the most delicious Southern drawl: “Y’all have any kids?” Best coy way to ask a girl if she’s pregnant.
June, July, August: The summer flew by as always. We moved out of, and sold the condo. I was finally ready for that (it took a full year after moving out and to Fergus before I was ready to say goodbye), and even though I miss it when we head to the cities, I figure we’ll be condo people again someday. For now, we’re fixing up our little green house on the hill. Speaking of, we remodeled our bathroom. Again, by “we” I mean, Ben and his parents demolished it, and then my dad built it up again! All I had to do was show my dad my Pinterest board, and he told me what to buy at Home Depot, and that was that. I returned the favor with bowls of hot homemade soup and good bread from the bakery in town when he’s here for lunch. (That’s fair payment, right?) Smack dab in the middle of summer, we went to a music fest — Eaux Claires in Eau Claire! — on the hottest weekend of the year. Perhaps not the wisest thing to do while nearly eight months pregnant, but I’ll never forget running from the portapotties to the Sufjan Stevens show, in the dusk, with my friend Stephanie, giggling all the way: magic. And of course, the summer is always book-ended by the garden. Ben’s parents were here for a week at the beginning of summer to help plant, and then again towards the end of the summer to help harvest. They are saints I tell you!
And then September came. The month in which our sweet baby girl was born. I’ll save another blog post for my birth story (what, you don’t really want to hear about my mucous plug?), but I love remembering those hours and days both leading up to her birth and right after. I had an emergency c-section (she came out butt first, the doc said “oh shit!”, and shoved her back in), and I woke up from surgery only asking “is it a girl?” The doctor said yes, and I fell back asleep only to ask the same question when I woke again. Ben got to spend Lucy’s first hour of life with her, which he loved. He got to change her first diaper! We were also so thankful to have a doula to help us navigate this journey. Leaving the hospital was hard for me. I felt really safe there. Plus, we had visitors galore, people brought me food whenever I wanted it, HGTV was always on, and I got to lay in bed with my baby. It was bliss! The next few weeks at home were not so blissful, but we got through it.
In October, Ben’s grandpa (his mom’s dad) passed away. It was unexpected. Death is always painful, but all the more difficult when it’s unexpected. We flew out to Saginaw for his funeral, and it was the first time I met many of Ben’s relatives and the first time we could introduce Lucy to her great-grandmothers, great-aunts and uncles, and other family members. Funerals have a special blessing, of being part-family reunion. This was no exception, and I’m so grateful we could be there in that time.
In November, my grandma (my dad’s mom) passed away. We were able to introduce her to Lucy about a month after Lucy was born. By this time, my grandma had nearly lost her ability to speak. She could get two or three words out at a time and would say “tiny feet”, “beautiful”, “so sweet.” She died on my grandpa’s birthday, while we stood around her bed singing. It was a beautiful moment with family — a moment I’ll never forget. Her death was not unexpected, nor sudden. While I was helping write the obituary, I read (in an article on obit etiquette) that one is never to use the word “sudden” since all deaths are sudden. I disagree. Death did not sneak up on my grandma. It was there, hanging around for weeks, making no attempts at being surreptitious. And so, when it came, we rejoiced as much as we grieved.
And now December. I went back to work part-time (still working from home), so that I can still stay at home with Lucy. I feel as though I have the best of both worlds (for now, anyway). But December felt like a blur, full of holiday activity. And then my aunt died the day after Christmas. She had been sick for so long, that it wasn’t a surprise, and there was part relief in her passing. There are many things I will miss about her, but I grieve mostly for my uncle who lost his wife, and my cousin who lost his mom. Life is forever changed without her.
And then the world. This year has felt heavy. With all of the mass shootings, the racial injustices, and the crises abroad — especially in Syria. So much death and loss all around. And I have this survivor’s guilt sometimes, like: why have I gotten to live this great life? I still haven’t come up with an answer, except that this Bible verse springs to mind: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Maybe the answer to “why” is not a philosophical one. Maybe it’s a practical one. Don’t bother with asking why. If you’re given much, give much. Give to your family in need, give to your friends in need. Give to your community, give to the world. Give your time, your money, give your self. At least, that’s what I’m preaching to myself these days.
Lest I end on a total Debbie Downer note, I sit here in the glow of the lights on our Christmas tree. The girl just went down for the night (well, at least for a few hours anyway). And I think — last year I was pregnant, but I didn’t know it. I had no idea what was around the bend — the love I’d feel for this tiny, squishy human. How, when I hold her, I never want to let her go. She is my light, my Lucy. And now, with just a few hours left of the year, Ben and I shall make our way to the basement, enjoy a glass of wine (for me) and beer (for Ben), and put on a movie. Netflix and chill. Ha.