16 to 17

“I…I did it all
I…I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived” – One Republic

Dear 2016,Let’s look back at you for a minute.  Let’s talk about all the crappy things that you sent my direction last year and remember something.  We survived.  I survived.  My dad survived.  We came out alive and are here to kick you out the door and not look back.

You were a year of scary shit.  And I don’t use that term loosely.  You were a year in which we spent more than 2/3 of our days dealing with cancer and everything that comes with it.  There were days in the year that I honestly thought my heart couldn’t take anymore pain and my eyes had no more tears to cry.  Starting in January, we were fighting with my dad. In late May and early June, you tried to break my dad but he didn’t let it happen.  He got busy fighting harder for his life  and we rallied around him.  You dealt him a shit hand of cancer and he never once complained.  He checked in and out of the hospital for days at a time for chemotherapy.  He had to skip a dream trip to the Masters because of his treatment and only to be told after his final chemotherapy treatment a stem cell transplant was necessary if he wanted to live.

But guess what we’re here. He’s here.  He’s strong and busy living.  And yes, I will probably always remember you for the really crappy things you did to us but, you weren’t all bad 2016.

You gave my oldest a lot of firsts.  It was his first year of school- a kindergarten experience you dream of complete with a Disney princess as a teacher and a group of friends that are still “his people”. 2016 was the year that he conquered his fears.  It was the summer of diving boards and water slides and the year he tied his shoes and wore his first pair of high tops.  2016 was the year he learned to ride a bike and he’s never looked back. 2016 was the year he will always remember his beloved Cubs won the World Series.

2016 is when my youngest turned in to a little girl. 2016 is the year she learned to write all her letters and recognize sight words. The year she lost the shyness she’s always carried around unfamiliar faces and spread her wings. It’s the year she fell in love with American Girl dolls.  2016 was when we saw her score goals on the soccer field and swing a bat with strength like her brother.

2016 let us spend a week in the desert with just our little family of four. The lack of “noise”, the sun and spring training is good for us.  You also let us spend a week in Michigan with our families.  The memories from that week is what keeps us going each year. You actually let me even sneak away with two of my closest friends for a girls trip to Nashville. We saw concerts and Cubs games, high school and college football games and ate so much ice cream. In between it all, we lived.

2016  showed me the power of marriage. My husband carried us on his back for most of 2016.  He wrapped his arms around me without me having to ask when I collapsed, he let me cry and get mad without questioning it and was the steady force in convincing me to be “glass half full”.

The amazing thing about 2016 is that it was a year of new and old friendships. We met so many new people that mean so much to us and we continued to be supported and loved by our oldest friends.  We watched babies be born and couples get married.  We lived.  We did a lot.  We may not have done it well or the best, but we lived.

So, you see 2016, it’s time for you to go.  I’m ready for 2017.  I only get one chance to live and be with my little family who mean so much to me, so let’s move on and get going here. I got a lot of livin’ and lovin’ to do this year.