I have to say that this is a nice way to head into the new year!
A year ago at this time was a meeting point of pain and hope. I’d lost one daughter just about four months earlier, and knew that our rainbow baby was on the way. Very early, but on the way. I was wrapping up a couple of incomplete courses over break, and there were starts and stops, but things were slowly and painfully getting done. Exhaustion was real, like it should have been. The summary version: hopes were high and pain was real. Things could go either direction. Any option was perfectly possible.
One year later, I’m sitting here right now, and hope is winning in a runaway. Zoe lives strong and keeps on growing. Tonight, for another basketball game night, we dressed her in our favorite Cyclone sleeper, because she’s running out of time to wear it. Zoe’s moved on to size 2 diapers, and there’s no end to this growth in sight. She’s learning to roll over, do some talking (sounds, not words), move a little, play with a ton of toys, and she’s added both a scream to fill the home and a smile that melts a heart. That’s been a great blessing to watch. I never have any idea what she might be learning next, but she never stops.
The greatest blessing to seeing little Zoe is simply knowing that pregnancies and expectations don’t have to end in death. Even after losing a baby, we can actually see one live and grow. I’m watching the sleeping version right now, but she just grunted, so I know she’s living and all. Yes, I check once in a while just to make sure. A little paranoia remains yet. Still, through all the twists and turns, the moments of fear along the way, and Zoe’s extra-dramatic entrance, she made it, and so did I (and her mom, too). That was a harrowing experience, but a successful one.
Looking academically and professionally, a year ago, I headed right into the worst of it. I wrapped up those two courses, figured that I was good to go, and suddenly lost what was left of my ability to read and function. I dropped the only course that I’ve ever dropped, and I have taken a whole ton of courses in my time. But with some solid help, things turned around. I’ll be reading in the new year like crazy tomorrow with some ambitious plans, working on some things, and generally tearing things up. I was able to finish my last courses ever, and now it’s just an intense road of success ahead. That’s a lot better than wondering if failure really was the endstate for every operation.
Thinking of this blog thing, and they send you a statistical breakdown of the year which is interesting, I’m still awed at how many people look at this thing. Around 1000 people were checking in at Zoe’s birth, and apparently people have found this in 63 different countries. Sometimes, that’s really entertaining, because I know someone that moved to a country, and then that country appears here. Other times, I really have no idea how they found this. It’s hard to find on Google unless you already know the site. I take that as a nice exhibit of God’s providence in action, and then hope that I’ve been able to pull my little part of the deal. It tells me again how many of us loss parents are really out there, and we’re everywhere. That’s sad beyond expression, but I’m glad that we’re able to encourage each other, even in this way. 2013 has brought the chance to run into some wonderful people in their pain, and see them grow on through it. I’d rather be ignorant of the whole thing, but if I have to hurt in it, I’m glad that it can help somebody.
This is the way to start a new year. 2013 was hairy, a real character-building, faith-testing experience. It’s over, and that battle looks like a victory. 2014 starts without any wild expectations this time, at least for now. There are some exciting things coming: more Zoe growth, PhD exams, torturing some summer school students, and racing into full-on book preparation. This is stuff I’m dead sure I can race through with exuberance and fun.
In a sense, and this will be spelled out in a different entry, everything is the way it’s supposed to be. Well, mostly. Still remembering Doria, because she’s unchangingly fantastic, but charging ahead with hope.
Happy New Year, everybody!