A Different Kind of Year-end Review

family picnic

This is the post that I usually talk about all the amazing accomplishments I achieved and fabulous things we did this year. I did some great things! I rebranded and made a new website and blog, produced some amazing weddings, executed a few awesome styled shoots, participated in my first One Room Challenge, made my foray into interior design, launched my wedding e-design service, had my home published on The Glitter Guide and many awesome family activities.

Despite of all those amazing happenings, life this year has been hard, full of resistance and nothing like how I thought it would look at the onset of 2018. I had huge ambitions to get my family in a better place financially, to work on my diet and stress levels to control my psoriasis, to find balance and practice resting and to be on my way to baby #2.

Then my world fell apart. My dad died.

I’ll back up a step. In October 2016 my dad had a stem cell transplant to help cure him of a disease called myelodysplasia, a form of cancer that will almost assuredly turn into leukemia. The stem cell transplant process is long, once they find a donor, they do the procedure, then you are quarantined in the hospital for weeks, months even. When you are finally released, you are quarantined to your home, and they suggest you wear a mask when going out in public, because your immune system is essentially set back to zero. Last holiday season my dad was weak, but recovering. He didn’t look himself, but acted his same, full-hearted, stubborn, loving self. I resisted taking photos and creating too many memories of him looking like that, as I had full confidence he would be healthier and look better this year. I know it’s pointless, but tough not to feel regret.

Dad went back into the hospital some time in late February. He had an infection. April 23rd we got a call that he wasn’t going to make it. And my time, our time, was over.

In the midst of that, we continued living our lives, Kyle, Ollie and I, back in New York. We traveled to Disney World to celebrate Ollie’s birthday in February. The three of us were having a special day at the Magic Kingdom. We were waiting in line for Oliver to hug Minnie Mouse and I felt some terrible cramping, the caliber I had not felt since giving birth exactly two years earlier, and there, in the middle of the “happiest place on Earth” I had a miscarriage. We didn’t know we were pregnant. I was actually on birth control at the time, so we were not emotionally attached to the baby, which made dealing with the situation emotionally easier than it could have been. But I couldn’t shake the question, “what was the universe trying to tell me?” Now is not the time to have a baby? Slow down? I still don’t quite know.

As I was dealing with these giant life altering events, life at work got a little more challenging. My company restructured and we lost a key player in my department. Suddenly, I found myself with a lot more work, under a lot more pressure. I had already been struggling to find balance, and these shifts sent me in deeper over my head. Perhaps if I were in a better place personally I would have found myself flowing with the current better, instead I felt like I was paddling upstream, still am to some extent. While change at work pales in comparison to losing a parent, it’s the thing I’m confronted with daily. The place where I spend my most time and exhaust the majority of my energy. And finding more joy there is my number one resolution for 2018.

The thing about your dad dying, everyone becomes your enabler. Everyone tells you that it’s okay to sad, mad, lost, fill in the blank, “you just lost your dad.” It makes it harder to grow and to keep living. But I don’t want that to be my story. That’s not how my dad would have wanted it either.

I did intend this blog post to be more about how I turned al of these challenges around and learned a lesson, but I’m not quite sure I’m there yet. I have 9 months of space between myself and my miscarriage and 7 months since losing my dad. After a lot of reflecting, I think, I myself, and we, as a family, have figured out where we want to be, and what life and happiness looks like, but figuring out how to get there is not going to be easy.

I am grateful for my little family. We live away from our families, so we lean on each other, hard. And this year was my turn to lean on and try to knock over my husband. And without him knowing it, Oliver. While I wish I had more time with my little guy, I can take solace in the fact that even though it felt like my world was falling apart, I nailed being a loving mother to my baby. I am also grateful for my friends who were good listeners and a shoulder to cry on. I needed you guys.

I have a feeling that 2018 will be a year of change. I turn 34 just after the new year. I had previously dubbed 34 my “scary age,” but I would like to flip that around and call 34 my best year yet! Cheers to changing my outlook and lots of big things in 2018!