I told myself I wasn’t going to do one of these this year. “No one cares,” I thought to myself. “Everyone already saw you obsessively social media most of this,” I said.
Then I realized that I care, and I’m working on realizing that doing something because it makes me happy is a good enough reason. With all of the transition our family has been in, I’ve been feeling a bit like my life is on hold. It’s hard to set longer term goals when things are constantly changing and evolving. That’s the nature of Army life, but it will be really nice to be settled in our own home and our own space in Germany in the spring. It’s hard to roll with the punches and work toward anything for myself so this reflection has helped me realize how much I’ve accomplished, despite feeling completely uprooted.
Here are my favorite moments from this year:
- Having Sophie: This obviously tops the list. Bringing our perfect, healthy little girl into the world last January was easily the highlight of the year. I was lucky to have such a (relatively) easy pregnancy and birth, and a really calm, easy going baby. She has brought so much joy to my life this year, and as much as she has challenged me and changed me, I know she’s made me better. I’ve learned so much about myself through being a mother, and she just ignites the fire under me to work toward my own goals to be the best mom I can be for her. She teaches me new things every day, and I love getting the chance to see the world through her eyes.
Her birth also showed me that I have some of the greatest friends ever. Eden, Patrick and Emma sat in the hospital with me all 15 hours of labor so they could meet Sophie as soon as she was born. They even went on a 2 a.m. cook out run to get me a cheeseburger and an oreo milkshake once I was allowed to eat. You guys are the best.
- Graduating UNC Charlotte, Chris’s commissioning: When I found out I was pregnant in June 2014, I heard a lot of “well how do you expect to finish your degree with a baby?” I didn’t have an answer, all I knew was that it was going to happen. In May, it did! Hooray! I graduated in a record three years with my English degree all while maintaining a job and raising Sophie. It still doesn’t feel real, but it happened and was probably my proudest moment of this year. I spent a lot of tearful nights up with a fussy Sophie trying to finish assignments. It was really hard to prioritize school when all I wanted to do was snuggle her, but I got it done, and I’m so glad that I did.
Chris commissioned as a 2LT this spring as well, and I could not be more proud of him! It’s crazy that everything he wished for and worked for came true, and while the transition into Army life hasn’t been the easiest for me, it’s been wonderful, and I’m so happy with where our lives are going.
- Working at camp: As messy, stressful and crazy as my job was, I loved it. I am so glad I decided to go back to work after having Sophie. Even though we’ve moved, and I had to quit, I think going back was a great thing for me. Transitioning to a stay at home these past few months has been difficult so I’m glad I took the opportunity to work while I had it. I love staying home with Sophie, and I’m so lucky to get this opportunity to be home with her, but it’s kind of strange not working or going to school.
Even though it’s been three months since I left camp, I still occasionally have a stress dream about it and wake up around 6 a.m. petrified that I’m late for work. What’s that they say, old habits die hard?
- Traveling: Looking back on it, we went so many places this year! Little Sophie is quite the adventurer already. We went to Charleston in April which I was really happy about because I’ve been asking Chris to go for years. We went to the beach a few times and down to Florida for my brother’s high school graduation. Once we moved to Virginia, we were able to go to D.C. a few times which was wonderful, it’s one of my favorite places! We also spent a lot of time in the mountains this summer going for hikes. I really fell in love with hiking once I wasn’t pregnant, and I could safely do it again. I think it really showed me how strong I am. Let me tell you, it’s no freaking joke climbing a mountain with a baby strapped to you and a dog who has to smell all the things. I think it is the main reason I lost 22 pounds this year! (Hooray!!)
With all the places we managed to get to this past year despite our crazy schedules, I’m so excited to see where all we get to go once we move to Europe!
- Sophie’s first holiday season: I love the holidays, like a lot. You know what’s better than being a kid for the holidays? Having a kid for the holidays. I loved watching her eyes light up as Christmas decorations went up in stores. I loved watching her investigate Christmas lights. Even watching her try to lick the glitter off our Christmas ornaments was entertaining. It really brought the magic back for me.
We spent Christmas with my grandparents up in Brevard, and it was just lovely. Sophie had a blast opening all of her presents, even if she was a bit overwhelmed. She’s still too young to really understand, but we still enjoyed it, even if the boxes were more interesting to her than her gifts.
Looking back, this has been a crazy busy but wonderful year. So much has changed now that our lives aren’t marked by semesters or school calendars or classes. We’ve moved into the “adult” world, the Army world. It’s like everything has been flipped upside down in the most incredible way. I struggled a lot this year. The transitions weren’t always easy on me, and I spent a lot of time this year trying to stop time in its tracks and keep it the same for as long as possible.
There’s no “new year, new me” happening this year. I’m still me. I still have the same goals, the same desires. I’m taking everything I went through this year as a learning experience. This year I want to roll with the punches a little bit more instead of letting them knock me down. I want to be more open to the changes coming instead of being nervous or afraid of them. I want to try to seize more control and take more action toward what I can and be less upset about what I can’t.
This coming year will be full of even more changes, but I’m ready. Bring it, 2016.