That is not to say that they did not come without their moments of fear.
Do you remember when you were little, perhaps just learning to swim, and you jumped fearlessly into the deep end of the pool? The fear of discovering you'd gone too deep for the air you'd stored in your lungs, the burn in your throat as your heart pulsed with adrenaline. Pulling water desperately through your fingers and frog-kicking madly. And then, frantically, resurfacing. Cough, spew, cough, tread. Smile. Its all okay.
Pieces of this year have felt like that. Pieces of this year have had me madly searching for a sense of normalcy and peace. I have looked in plenty of the wrong places and many of the right places. I have floated through many days without much effort at all only to lay down at night and discover that, sadly, I didn't give the day much effort at all.
The great thing about jumping into the deep end this year is that I knew how to swim a little bit. While I wouldn't say I was prepared, I only felt as if I was drowning. In reality, no one was going to let me sink.
So, at the end of this hellacious (and breathtaking) year, I am most thankful for the support. For the outstretched hand and kind words and genuine care that I have been given. And, funny enough, I feel most guilty about needing these things in such a time of overwhelming joy, not tragedy or grief.
But I suppose it is the overwhelming part of the joy that I was most unprepared for. It was almost like going to sleep one night with one life and waking up the next morning with a completely different life. And as much as the life that I woke up to is wonderful, it is different. It is all different.
In hindsight, there is no other way that I would wish to spend this year. To buy our cozy, lovely home and to marry my incredible, grumpy, adjectives-don't-properly-discribe-him husband, and then! And then, to top it all off in a superb surprise, to have this amazing little ball of Emerson love join our family. I just can not imagine it playing out any other way.
The weight that I carried around for months and months has finally lifted, after many tears and much talk and a lot of re-prioritizing my efforts and my feelings. I still believe we must think abundance when it comes to ourselves. There is enough to give and enough to keep. Sometimes, though, we have to keep a little more of ourselves for ourselves and for our family. And that was the toughest lesson to learn this year.
And, so, I've put myself back on the line. All of me. My whole heart and life. I have had to return to an attitude of total abandonment, of throwing all natural caution and defensiveness to the winds and put myself entirely in the hands of love by an act of will. I am much happier for it.
Never before have I pictured myself content with spending so much time at home, on the floor, amidst a mountain of laundry, bare feet, and a drooling, smiling girl. Evenings on the couch with the baby in bed. But that's how I like to spend my time right now. Throw in the occasional yoga class and a good run. I'm set. Totally and completely.
"And so we must learn to love with our mouths and voices, as well as with our eyes, flesh, heart, brains, and with everything we have, right down to our toenails. There is not anything about us that cannot love, and that is not called to love, and that is not destined to be turned, conformed, and reduced to pure love. It is the priceless deposit left by the burning away of selfishness."
Yes. I am ever so grateful for the people who held me up when I thought I was incapable of doing it myself. You helped carry my burden and made me look up.