As we sit on our couch, on the last day of 2013, pondering the year with awe, we are so grateful.
The therapist in me loves reflection. Loves looking back on the year and remembering. The good. The bad. The sad.
And the downright awesome.
2013 was the Year of the House. It is so crazy to think that, this time last year, we didn't even know we were buying a house. We hadn't even looked at houses yet.
I know that it might seem, at times, like we are a bit obsessed with our house and that we talk about it A LOT. But I think those that know us know that our house was the second big obstacle in our adoption journey, with debt being the 2012's obstacle to overcome. A Facebook group that I belong to asked what you thought was your biggest accomplishment of 2013. I said that we "found, fought for, and purchased" our first home.
Fought for. It might seem like an exaggeration to some. But those who walked that journey with us know that it was a fight. Every single step of the way. There were so many intricate parts that had to line up for this to happen, some of which still don't make logical sense.
I remember, as a kid in the country, that I hated to do yard work. I hated the raking and mowing. Last weekend, on an unseasonably warm December Saturday, I found myself doing yard work with such a joy and gratefulness in my heart that people would think I'm crazy.
And there may come a day when I'm not so thankful to do yard work. But, for right now, in preparation of Part Three of the Adoption Journey (the really good part!), I'm content to rake leaves and burn tree limbs and clean out window wells.
2013 also brought about loss.
My dear sweet grandma Ruth died in February. Adam's Pap died in December. Two bookends of grief that sandwiched the year. Even the loss of my favorite person in the world, a person who loved me more than anyone ever has and maybe ever will, has been eased the acquisition of our home. It is not just the ownership of a home, but rather the ownership of THIS home, that has been a balm to my spirit. A house that reminds me of her at least once a day. A home that still, six months later, smells of her when I walk in the door.
The year saw the loss of a close friendship. It is hard to ask people to join us on this adoption journey, knowing that not everyone gets it (or is interested in getting it). It's hard to explain that the financial priority is to save for the adoption, which limits the things that we can and want to do. While it is hard to be on this journey, we are also understanding that it is hard to join us on this journey. We are so grateful for those who can and continue to do so, even if only for a season.
This year brought about new furry family members, Shelby and Beatrix. It took Shelby probably four months to really settle in and hit her groove, which mostly includes chasing the cats and snuggling with Adam, but she finally got comfortable with being a part of our family. Obviously, we don't have kids yet, but I can imagine that the way I feel about Shelby is probably 5% of how parents feel when they add another child to the family. Man, our lives were FULL before Shelby. But, really, how did we ever live without her? How did we not know she was missing from our lives?
Probably the biggest thing that's happened in the last month is that ADAM FINISHED NURSING SCHOOL! This has been a long time coming, as his school schedule has been erratic due to military service obligations and (cancelled) deployments. He should be able to take his nursing boards in January or February. So PROUD of his accomplishment and excited to see what the new year holds for him!
As I look back, I'm a little disappointed that our adoption didn't move further along in 2013. This time last year, I was SO SURE that 2013 was going to be the year that we really gained momentum and started moving in a direction or, better yet, the year we brought home a baby.
This was a year of big doors opening and, just as suddenly, shutting with no explanation or reason. It was (another) year of waiting. It was a year of managing expectations of life, God, ourselves, and each other.
But, fortunately, dreams don't expire. So I'll just carry this wish and hope for our family into the new year.
2014, the Millers are ready for you!
(All of us. Wherever we are.)