It’s almost Christmas, and I’m just not sure about you. I’m not sure if we’re friends. I don’t know that I’ll be sad to see you go. Some days you’ve been kind to us, and others you’ve brought torment and I hate you.
At the beginning we were on good terms. In many ways I felt like you were going to bring with you great things. We had our minds set on making you our year of YES, thinking that would be completing classes to become foster parents with our eyes set on adopting down the road. We thought getting rid of the majority of our remaining debt would be accomplished with you. We had so many amazing ideas for you.
You had other ideas. You brought fear. You brought incredible uncertainty. You brought major changes.
To start, in February we found out my dad was going to need open heart surgery. What we thought would be a stent or two, was scheduled to be a quadruple bypass. Fast forward three weeks, and the surgery happened. Only it wasn’t a quadruple bypass, but rather a quintuple. He essentially had his own heart transplanted back into his body. Seeing him right out of surgery is a image that I likely won’t ever forget. He was in agony when he awoke, and it didn’t end there.
Eight hours after surgery he was still intubated and was losing a lot more blood through his drains than he should have. So at 10 o’clock that night he had an emergency second surgery. Thankfully, they located one. missing. stitch. It was put in and the excess bleeding stopped.
A week later he came home with a long road to recovery. This, 2017, is where you were kind. He has recovered exceedingly well. And despite having had “the widow maker,” he’s still here.
In May, you pulled a fast one, 2017. I was in Baltimore on the senior class trip fulfilling my duty as a class advisor when I got a frantic phone call from my hubby…his employer of just eight months decided his position wasn’t needed any longer and let him go. No warning. Just, gone.
Not cool. Not cool at all, 2017.
You see, I talked a good game at the time, but inside I was in knots because of the fear and anxiety I suddenly was living with. I desperately prayed that God would open a door quickly, and thanked Him for giving me a tiny inkling that somehow left us financially “okay” for what we thought might be a few weeks or a couple of months.
Instead, it sparked John to begin his career in real estate. He spent the better part of three months studying long into the night as he completed the courses online. Something he hadn’t done in over 15 years and left him doubting himself and whether the money it took to do them was worth it. He passed every class, and despite being anxious beyond words about the licensing exam, he passed his first try at the end of August!
We’ve come to find he LOVES being a realtor and he’s quite good at it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t automatically translate into money in the bank. And after many, many hours invested, the return simply hasn’t come quite yet.
Christmas. It was coming fast. We were just getting by, and our savings started running low. How in the world could we do Christmas, 2017?
Then you decided to suckerpunch us once again. John had three bad cavities that had to be filled. Not one, three. You left us no choice but to use a credit card. A card we worked so hard to pay down.
And you didn’t stop there, 2017. Nope. You decided to add insult to injury.
L had his three year well visit in mid-November. We had raised concerns to the doctor about him not talking for 18 months prior, and each time she reassured us it was still within normal range as the youngest of four. The story in November, however, brought a different end. Or rather, an entirely new beginning. An audiology appointment had to happen first, then we were to see a speech language pathologist for evaluation. From there, we’ve been referred to see an occupational therapist and have a neuro-cognitive development evaluation.
2017, we’ve heard the words “sensory processing disorder, autism, apraxia of speech, and significant impairment of expressive language.” I’d be lying if I said they didn’t sting. As a teacher I’ve spent the last 11 years working with kids who have (or had) each of those diagnoses, and because of that I know that early intervention is essential. So the fact that the one appointment that we need most out of them can’t even be scheduled until after the new year, and the fact it won’t even happen until June at the earliest is a hard pill to swallow.
What does any of this mean for my baby boy as he gets older, 2017?
Then, Thanksgiving came. You were particularly cruel on this day, 2017.
Our emotions were already running high and fragile after the SLP evaluation earlier in the week, so what better time for the events that followed, right 2017?
It all started out just fine. We enjoyed lunch with extended family and had a good time of fellowship. We decided to go back to hang out at grandma’s since she was finally home after an extended hospital stay following surgery. It was time to relax and veg out with family.
Then L did what he likes to do oh so often. Start throwing things. Not tossing, throwing, like a MLB pitcher. He threw some toys and tried to throw some ceramic lighthouses. And then, it happened. He threw B’s water bottle right. at. the. TV. The “she just bought it two months ago” TV. He didn’t end there. Nope. He chose to do something else he does all the time…knock someone’s cup off of the end table. A cup that was full to the top with red Kool-Aid. And why not top it off with a layer of Diet Coke on top of it?
I lost it. I ugly cried. A lot. It broke me, 2017. I guess I should be grateful it happened on Thanksgiving when TVs are marked down the lowest they’ll be all year, but somehow, thankfulness in that moment escaped me.
And then, last week, we got our first bill for the first of L’s appointments. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I don’t know how we’re going to cover all of the costs associated with each of these appointments we need to get proper diagnoses. I don’t know how we’re going to cover the months of speech therapy we already know is needed. Or the developmental preschool.
It’s been a lot to process, 2017.
Do you know what I’ve realized? Through my tears, through my fear, through my anxiety, and through all of the uncertainty?
You aren’t in control, 2017!
God is. And I believe He has a plan. And I believe that when we chose for you to be our year of YES, God knew that our expectation wasn’t going to be the reality. And He knew He was going to test our commitment to YES.
He knew He was going to be our stronghold. He knew He was going to be the rock we ran to when we just couldn’t keep it together. He knew. He knows.
So, you see, 2017, I may not look back on you fondly for what happened while you were here, but I will look back on the many lessons we’ve learned through you with gratitude.
I can honestly say that because of you 2017 you have allowed for me to see beyond any shadow of a doubt that through Him I can do all things (Phil 4:13).
Tell your friend 2018 to bring it on. Because I unequivocally know that if God is for us then nothing 2018 throws at us is too much for Him to guide us through.
So as we part ways 2017, I still don’t think I like you, but I thank you. Because without you I wouldn’t have the fresh perspective on what matters and how big my God is.
See ya later,