Another year has passed and it seems as though we were just ushering 2014, but here it is, already five days into 2015. Is it just me or does time just seem to be picking up speed the older we get? Is there a point where it seems to slow down ever again?
This last year has been one of growth for me, and sometimes that growth came with painful realizations and eventually acceptance that there are things that no matter how hard I try, how many prayers I pray and no matter what I do, the situation will not change but will only continue to get worse. Sometimes the best thing to do, after being hurt over and over again, is to walk away. Given some distance and time, and the counsel of good friends and family, I can now see more clearly and realize just how toxic things had become and the toll it was taking on not only me, but others I love as well. My mother once told me that after awhile, you reach a point where you just don't care about someone that has caused you great pain and that can be a very sad thing too. She is right, I have reached that point of no longer caring. That does not mean that my heart does not ache for others who continue to be hurt though, but yet again, there is nothing I can do but to be there for them and love them through it.
I've learned about the strength of our family. Our family, those whom we are related to, and those whom we have "adopted by love", mean everything to me. We have been there for each other through thick and thin. I know that they would do anything they could for me and I for them. This has been the case over and over again between serious health issues, legal issues, personal struggles and the death of loved ones. Together we got through these things, as a family and were there to love and support one another. God knew what He was doing when He brought us all together and knew that we would hold each other up, be the listening ear, the comforting hug, the person to give words of wisdom and encouragement and the ones to celebrate wonderful milestones and victories with.
Our now adult children continue to amaze and inspire me. My husband and I marvel at how well they are doing, pursuing their chosen paths in life and setting goals and accomplishing them, having to make huge sacrifices along the way. They are no strangers to hard work. They all have a great work ethic and won't let obstacles prevent them from reaching their goals. They have also found talents that they may not have even realized they had. I'm thankful for the lessons learned during hard times that are helping them not only make the sacrifices that they have had to make but also to appreciate all that they have done to get where they are today.
I have learned that no matter how old you are, you still want and need that unconditional love and validation from your parents and if they are not there to give you that, that there needs to be someone who can. I am blessed to still have my parents and their love and support of my husband, our kids, grandkids and myself is something that I cherish. I hope that I will always be that for all my children, and yes, I have many. I may have only given birth to three, but God has blessed me with many more through marriages and through hanai (adopted by love). All of them are precious and very much loved!
I now understand my Grandma Jean's deep love for all of us, her grandchildren. I understand the importance of having to wait until she and Grandpa Mark got there on Christmas morning before we could open our gifts. I remember the great joy she took in getting letters telling about the things that my cousins were doing and how she would relay all that information to us with a huge and proud smile on her face. I now understand how much she missed her grandchildren who lived so far away and how blessed we were that she and Grandpa lived so close to us. I now am the grandmother that proudly tells people about the things that my precious grandchildren do and say. I look forward to spending all the time I can with them, seeing the delight in their eyes when they open their Christmas gifts, snuggling with them and reading books, having conversations with them and seeing the world through their eyes. I treasure the moments when they give me hugs, kisses and tell me they love me or when they excitedly come running to me when they see me. I have so many "aha" moments when I realize that this is how my Grandma Jean felt and this is also how my own mother feels about my children and her now great grandchildren also.
My husband and I have been together since I was 20 years old and will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in March. I have always said he is my rock, my safe harbor in the storms of life and my biggest supporter and that I can face any challenge in life with him at my side. He has been there to lift me up, encourage me and be the person who I knew would always be there for me 100%, no matter what. These past few years my husband has been hit with some of the biggest and hardest things in his life and our roles have switched. I am now the one lifting him up, being his safe harbor and his rock as he deals with some heartbreaking situations. I am thankful that I can be there for him as he has always been there for me. We can weather any storm that life throws our way as long as we have each other.
Yes, this past year has been a year of growth. Some lessons were extremely painful and heartbreaking, but important lessons were learned from them. Other lessons have caused me to look deep within myself and find strength that I did not know I had so that I could be there for others, even when going through so much myself. But yet more lessons have filled me with such overwhelming joy and gratitude. Most of all though is that I have learned that despite what kind of craziness may be going on in the world around me, I am blessed beyond measure with the family and friends that God has given me.