Sorry for the lack of posts late. Work and life have just been getting in the way! I'll also apologize for the length of this post now.
First and foremost - Happy New Year! (albeit a little belated)
I hope that everyone had a safe and happy new year experience. Our new year's eve was unlike any other that we have ever experienced. Miss Olivia was a bit of a CRANK for most of the evening so by the time she went to sleep at 9:30, Mommy followed shortly thereafter. Lights were out and we were all asleep as midnight came and went.
I have to admit a few days later that I'm sad and at the same time relieved that 2010 is over. Goodness gracious did we cram a lot of living into those 365 days. 2010 will definitely go down as one of the best years of my/our life and that makes me a little sad to let it go. Although, I am breathing a little sigh of relief that it's over as well. I am hoping and praying that 2011 is a little less invasive in the way of medical treatment for Olivia. She will have at least one heart cath and possibly even two with the potential of the Fontan, but her cardiology team really seems set on the 2 year old mark for that which puts us in early 2012 and that could be "nice" to plan around too. (as nice as planning for pediatric open heart surgery would ever be).
Over the course of the last 12 months we have made so many friends and extended family members within the heart community and that was one of the highlights of 2010. We all have so many hopes and fears that only a parent in the same circumstances can grasp that it always gives me comfort to sound off another parent walking a similar path as ours. While the benefits FAR outweigh the negatives, the biggest negative for me is all the deaths. I know of at least sixteen little ones that passed away in 2010 by way of following their blogs or from another heart family. That doesn't even begin to touch upon the other families out their whose losses I was not aware of as they occured. Sixteen children, sixteen families, sixteen mothers out there burying their children before their time.
I have never shied away from the possibility that it could one day be a fate shared by us regardless of how well Olivia is doing in this present moment. Somehow I just thought that as I continued to face the losses as they have grown in numbers that maybe I would become a little numb to them - but I sit here and wait for that numbness to arrive. A family had a loss last week and still the tears sting when I think of the growing list of names. I know one fear of any family that has experienced a loss is that life will move on, that people who were originally sympathetic will eventually forget the hurt and the wounds and move one forgetting their lost loved one. I for one can honestly acknowledge that not a day goes by that I don't think about all those little and big ones lost by all our heart families. To know that the list will continue to grow in 2011 definitely made me dread the ringing in of the new year, but Olivia is here and still thriving and I live in those moments like they could be gone tomorrow because that's the truth.
2010 taught me a lot about myself, some things weren't necessarily personality traits that I liked about myself when I thought long and hard about it so I've vowed to change. It was also a landmark year for that old addage of "your true friends" and that applies to family as well. I think that some people have this preconceived notion that being family means that you're always going to be there for one another and that's just not true. I know so many parents along this journey that were really left sort of blowing in the wind to fend for themselves during the toughest and most stressful time of their lives. Our family has really gone above and beyond for us and that applies to extended family that's out of state as well. They have really rallied for us and rooted us on when we needed it most and it's not something I'll ever forget.
As for being the parent and teaching children about life and what's important; I have to say Olivia has been the teacher and I've been the student. When I look at things from her perspective my values are starting to change. What I want out of life and who I want to be is evolving. I know this is something that happens with age but it's been a particularly adventurous twelve months so I think the changes within me have been more dramatic as an effect of the year. I'm always asking myself am I the person that I want her to grow up to take after? Am I leading the life that I want her to follow? Some days I'm not sure, other days it's an easy answer. I'm looking forward to more of 2011 to see how things go and of course more time with our miracle baby.
If this post gives off the tone of melancholy don't be alarmed, I think it's just the weight of recalling the entire year in one sitting. I'll give a dedicated Olivia update tomorrow complete with more pictures since the reindeer baby was a crowd pleaser.