Reflecting, Preparing, Musing and Cherishing

2015. Another year begins. It’s amazing how many differences a year can bring. We rang in 2014 with sweet friends in a little mountain cabin in the snow. We rang in this year with different sweet friends at a poolside BBQ. Wow. We are blessed.

We spent the first 10 days of 2014 in Colorado enjoying the familiar comforts of close family and old, dear friends. The rest of this year afforded us two short camping trips—in April to Girraween National Park and just two weeks ago to Springbrook National Park. It’s wonderful to watch our boys develop the same love for the outdoors and for travel and adventure that we both have.

Hiking in Springbrook
Hiking in Springbrook

July gave us a long weekend in Noosa, one of our favorite places on earth, where we enjoyed family time exploring in the sea, on a river and on land—fantastic place. And in September we were able to spend a week up in Cairns, exploring rainforests, beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. That’s pretty incredible, I think, to be able to have getaways like that within one trip around the sun. We are very fortunate.

In March of 2014, I had a miscarriage (it is still tough to say that). In May, I became a children’s yoga teacher (it is still cool to say that). In July I ran a half marathon (who’d have ever thought?!). I also lost my part time job in a construction firm, a job I have not missed for even one day, but the loss of which has raised a slew of uncertainties and financial instability. In October I began teaching yoga at a beautiful studio in Samford, one of my favorite places around here. And in November, I got pregnant.

Yep, we are crazily expecting our 3rd child in August this year. I am only 8 weeks along, but after hearing the heartbeat and seeing my little blueberry at the doctor this week, we are starting to break the news to family and friends. I guess a few of you will find out this way (and I ask you to please only share your feelings about it with us at this time—thank you, dear ones). All 3 boys came to the ultrasound and as I watched Drew look at the screen to decipher what he was seeing, I was overcome with emotion, remembering the 1st time I saw him in those pictures, and thinking about how he now reaches up to my shoulder. A big grin spread over his face and he jumped over to the bed I was in and wrapped me up in a hug—precious little man. Steve was holding Zach, who was overwhelmed and stunned by it all. He’s not too happy to be getting a baby, but if he has to, he at least hopes it’s a boy. Drew wants a girl.

Our best Christmas gifts with their favorite gifts
Our best Christmas gifts with their favorite gifts

My little Drew turned 6 in 2014. He celebrated with dear and generous friends around him. In June he was hospitalized for asthma—one of the scariest experiences of my life. In September he held a treat stall to raise money to help save the Great Barrier Reef and then he got to snorkel for the first time in the waters he now cares so much about. He’s grown about 6 inches, learned to read and write, and loves to tell us facts about animals—in the water or on land, living now or from prehistoric times. He completed 1st grade, ran his first 1k, has become an excellent swimmer and discovered a great enjoyment of gymnastics. His enthusiasm and love of life inspire me; his energy amazes and exhausts me, and his bossy and sometimes downright nasty side scares me. I love that child.

Mr. Exuberance
Mr. Exuberance

Zach, our cuddly music man turned 4. Not to be outdone, he also got his first ambulance ride this year, for croup. It’s a wonder my hair’s turning gray. He completed preschool. He loves every sport he can learn about and is pretty much always singing. If there is someone in the room to cuddle with, he is with that person, and he adores learning about anything with a motor. I adore watching the new and imaginative Lego creations he brings out. His big heart and love for his family fill me up; his appreciation of the littlest things humbles me, and his rudeness and tantrums bring me to my breaking point. I love that child.

Big boy--finished with preschool
Big boy–finished with preschool

Steve worked so hard this year, supporting all of us in every way he could. He received a promotion and will head back to school this month as the Head of Special Education. He sure deserves it.

And, to close out our year, we bought a car yesterday! We spent 1 ½ years here as a one-car family with our little Corolla and the year and a half before that as a one and a half car family, with Steve using a scary, loud contraption that I wouldn’t let the kids in, to get around, mainly to work. We now have a modern Subaru outback and are just thrilled. The boys feel like rich men when they push a button and the window goes down!  What I find most ironic about it, is that after leaving Boulder, I take up running, become a yoga teacher and buy a Suby—all those “typical Boulder” characteristics and I don’t get them until being out here—crazy!

Suby :)
Suby 🙂

So, it’s plain to see that we are blessed in every way and lack for nothing. We have just closed out a year full of learning, growth, beauty, family, friendship and love, and 2015 looks to be full of the same, as each year should be.

That is why I’m ashamed to admit that I want to go home. I know my emotions are a mess right now and I’m exhausted just getting through each day, so hopefully this will all pass. But right now, I believe that after a couple more years here, I need to be back in the U.S. I don’t even know what home looks like anymore, or if any place will ever really “feel” like home, which is ok, as long as our family unit is there, healthy and together. I just want that home to be in the U.S. somewhere.

I’m tired. I feel like I’ve done all I can do, worked as hard as I can, and it’s just too hard. It’s too far. Weddings, deaths, new additions, milestones—-sharing them virtually is just not enough. We’ve pretty much decided that the best time for us to visit this year is Christmas, which is two full years since the last visit. That’s too long. I don’t like it. It all makes me too sad.

I guess I just feel like I’ve proven myself—I’ve shown that I’m strong and that I can create a happy life for myself and for my family anywhere. But now I’ve realized that I want that happy life to be in my home country, not on a small island on the opposite side of the world. Can I live here forever? Sure, I can. I’m a mother, a woman. I can do anything. Do I really need to though?

I am a warrior.
I am a warrior.

But on the other hand, there’s so much I love about life here and would miss. The slow pace, the naturalness of it all, the time people make for each other–all of that really suits me. It’s a beautiful part of the world. But is it for me forever? If it was closer to the U.S., it very likely could be. Geographically and logistically, though, I unfortunately don’t think it should be.

My feelings worry Steve. And they scare me, too. The economy has improved in the U.S., but we’d still make so much less money and both need to work more and be around our children less to make ends meet. Is it worth it? Plus our children could get shot a school!!!  Seriously?!  Or have to pass through armed guards every day just to walk in and out of school. Just thinking about that makes me blood pressure increase. Why would I knowingly put my children in that situation, when I can protect them from it? Am I being selfish?

Christmas light tour :)
Christmas light tour 🙂

But I also believe they’d have more opportunities over there in several ways, in school and sports and opportunities for learning and exploration. I know they have roots here, but it seems like they have more there, more connections. They’d get to experience all four seasons, the mountains and the beach.

Draped in our new Christmas flag---our roots?
Draped in our new Christmas flag—our roots?

I don’t know. I understand these are the ravings of a hormonal lunatic. And it’s nothing to act on now anyway—I would never deny Steve’s new job opportunity, and have decided with him to evaluate how we both feel about it all in two years. He of course is hoping I’ll change my mind. I’m hoping for gun control and continued improvement in American teacher’s wages!

For now, I just need to get back to living in the moment and treasuring my beautiful life. This year, this month Zach starts Prep, Drew 2nd grade and Steve a new job. Hopefully, I will begin my adult yoga teacher training in March and grow professionally in ways yet unrevealed to me. And, most importantly, I get to enjoy the miracle of new life growing inside me for the last time, and prepare to meet this little one in the flesh later this year. Cheers to 2015!

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