2010 has no doubt been an eventful year for my entire family. Through birth, death, unexpected surgeries and moves, we’ve had our fair share of laughter and tears. My dad kicked off the year by spending his 58th birthday in the hospital with a bowel obstruction, which ended up resulting in surgery to repair a congenital hole in his gut. He terrorized the nurses and aids and I think they were happy, as was he, to see him go home.
On Groundhog Day I said goodbye to my 20s and also in February we bade final farewell to my Great Mama Brown who, at the age of 104 ½ (she started counting halves again in her late 90s), went to heaven and was reunited with her husband and three of her sons. She lived an amazing life and I’m sure was laughing as a group of us got hopelessly lost in Garmin Hell on the way to her burial in rural Kentucky. I know she and Papa had an even bigger laugh when the burial was delayed further as we waited on one of my cousins to make a beer stop. A case of cold beer was popped open as we had a final celebration of Great Mama’s amazing life. I think of her often, and love the fact that Maria takes after Mama with her loud belly, that gurgles, gulps, and pops while she eats.
April was a surprising month with the early, scary and joyous arrival of Grant and Maria. I unknowingly spent a day in labor and the next time my doctor tells me I just need to relax to go to the bathroom, I’ll tell him to check and make sure a baby isn’t blocking all my exits. Jeremy and I learned what it was like to be NICU parents and what a rollercoaster than can be, but also picked up some helpful tips and tricks from the nurses.
In May, after a four-week tour of duty in the NICU, we finally got to take Grant and Maria home. At some point during the first night home, we wondered if it was really a good idea to let us have them! Could we really do this without all the monitors and nurses at our side?
June came, Jeremy turned thirty and we finally started to feel like we were getting the hang of things. July kicked off another journey as I returned to work and Jeremy officially started as full time stay-at-home dad. I would become proficient and creative in when and where I would pump while at work and Jeremy would establish a routine that allowed him to get in his workouts and afternoon nap.
August would bring the announcement from my brother that he’d accepted a new job and he and his family would be moving to Germany. Nick left for training and ended up being gone for seven long weeks before his first trip back home.
In September, we celebrated my nephew, Jake’s, first birthday and my brother watched Jake blow out his candle via Skype. We also celebrated the anniversary of our embryo transfer and the first time we saw Grant and Maria as tiny embryos.
Grant and Maria were dedicated to the Lord at our church in October and my brother’s dog would have a brush with death a few short days before they were all moving to Germany. Max is well known for eating anything and everything, including soap, socks, underwear and any type of yard debris. He finally met his match in the form of a very large acorn and would end up being the third member of our family to have his belly slit open this year. Max recovered and Nick, Meredith, and Jake set out for their big adventure.
In November, we celebrated all the many blessings we’ve been given on Grant and Maria’s first Thanksgiving and soon enough December was on our doorstep. Maria cut her first two teeth and my parents enjoyed a two-week vacation to Cancun and subsequent withdrawals from the babies. Through periodic emailed pictures and video, they survived. Mom nearly melted when Maria joyously smiled and flapped her arms when she came over for a baby fix. Grant perfected his skills sitting up by himself and we celebrated our first Christmas with the babies. I was bummed that we didn’t get to be with Nick, Meredith or Jake but was glad to see them via Skype on Christmas day. I’m enjoying my last week of the year spending some extra time with the babies and fully anticipate ringing in the New Year fast asleep.
This has been an incredible start to the decade and I can only imagine what’s in store for us in 2011. May you all have a healthy, happy, safe, and joyful New Year.