I’m not big on making resolutions around New Years. I find that the failure rate is far too daunting and putting “out there” what you hope to accomplish is just too stress-invoking. Especially for those of us who kind of assume, as we are making said resolutions, that they might not ever come to fruition.
This year is no different. I didn’t plan to make any “resolutions” per say. But I did tell myself that I would make every effort possible to take care of me in a way that I haven’t in far too long.
As I look back over the past few years, I realize that 2004 was kind of a lost year. There were highs and lows of a greater magnitude than most people experience in one year. In February of that year, D.Jones proposed after what seemed like (and really was) a lifetime. It was a wonderful surprise and had me immediately planning my wedding, both in reality and in my mind…dreaming of what would be the “perfect” wedding day for us.
Unfortunately, a month or so later, my Dad went into kidney failure. Although he was only actually in the hospital for a couple of weeks, it seemed like an eternity (especially for him), but for myself and the rest of the family as well. It was a scary time for everyone and time seemed to drag on, though at the time, I think it was all a haze of sleepless nights and trips to the hospital.
Of course, you all now know that things looked up pretty quickly and the amazing news is that in the next few months my Dad went from long hours spent at a dialysis center, to doing his dialysis at home, to no dialysis whatsoever. Truly a miracle, and another high point to be sure.
In the Fall of that year, my mom, sister, one of my best friends and I went on a girls weekend where an event planner plans your weekend for you and you literally just go along for the ride. We had one of the best times of our lives, doing all sorts of fun things like horseback riding (I was terrified!) visiting a farm where they made wonderful soy candles and homemade soaps, visiting an opera house, an evening of fine dining, shopping and cocktails. What a weekend! The only thing was, I was incredibly uncomfortable that weekend, with this painful itching on the inside of my forearm. My mom’s friend looked at it and said “that’s odd…that looks like shingles.” Pffft. Riiight. Shingles!? Don’t you have to be like 80 years old to get shingles!? Turns out, you don’t.
The day we got back from our long weekend, I went to Urgent Care. At that point, it hurt enough that it kept me up at night. Turns out, my mom’s friend was right. The doc who examined me asked if I was under extreme stress. I told him about my year so far. Apparently, he thought all of the above might just be enough to toast my immune system and cause a lovely case of shingles. Great. My first thought was “crap! Now I’m going to have to wear long gloves at my wedding to cover up the scars from the shingles and that’s going to make my upper arms look fat!”
The Spring of 2005 found us finishing up our wedding planning for our May wedding. It went off without a hitch and was a great time had by all. And I thought finally I can relax, enjoy our condo living, and be stress free. By July, though, I started to feel not 100%. I was extremely fatigued and would come home from work so exhausted I would fall asleep on the couch. Definitely not the norm for someone who usually worked nights. Turns out, there was already a future Jones on the way….
Everyone knows how that changes the focus of things. All of a sudden we were planning a nursery, doing to doctor’s appointments, and consuming more medical reading material than anyone should be allowed to. Thankfully I had an awfully easy pregnancy, but being the first, I was stressed and enjoying every moment, all at the same time.
2006 was not much more relaxing for us. In March along came Cooper William Jones. Everyone out there who is a parent knows that you can write off the next few months as a haze of sleepless nights, terrifying worry over whether or not your baby is eating properly, growing properly, etc., etc., etc., and the overwhelming joy of looking into this new little person’s face and dreaming of what will come as you watch them begin to recognize you, smile for the first time, and grow, grow, grow!
Then we experienced a devastating blow in June when we received a late night call to tell us that Doug’s Mom had unexpectedly passed away. Cooper was only 3 months old at the time, and thank God we had been there a week or two before, when Doug’s Mom was able to hold him, spend time with him and even rock him to sleep in her favorite chair. We packed up and headed home to WI for what was the most difficult trip home that we could ever imagine. Not only were we still in the crazy sleeplessness of parents to a newborn, but I was mourning alongside my husband.
When we returned home and tried to get back to our day-to-day life, we also realized that a high rise condo is not the best case scenario for a growing family with a Yorkie, too. We put the condo on the market and began a house hunt.
In the Fall of 2006, as Christmas approached, we took the condo off the market so that we could enjoy the holidays with our new baby and not have to worry about strangers traipsing through our condo every other hour. We also had our first big trip with Cooper planned, as we had a wedding to attend on Captiva Island, FL.
We went to the wedding in November, and returned to a call from our realtor saying “I realize you took the condo off the market, but I have a very interested possible buyer…can they come through anyway?” We decided it was no big deal to host one more showing. Turns out, they wanted it and wanted it now. They needed to move and prove to the buyer’s employer that he had a St. Paul address prior to Jan 1. Okay… Let the fun begin.
I spent 3 days in a row with our realtor enjoying what we then titled “Aaron and Kristin’s days o’ houses!” I toted little Cooper Jones along as we viewed no less than 30 homes, finally settling on one back in Minneapolis where we’d hoped to return someday.
The week of Christmas we moved during an ice storm into our new home, and also packed what we could to get home to spend the holidays with Doug’s Dad in Wisconsin.
When we returned around New Year’s, we immediately began work on the new digs, painting, cleaning, ordering new appliances and doing everything that a new, not-so-new home requires, all while planning and preparing to host a big hoopla for Cooper’s 1st birthday, which I decided to combine with his baptism. Whoa. More chaos.
Things finally calmed down a little bit in the summer of 2007, when we were able to enjoy some leisurely trips to the cabin, a trip or two to WI to visit family, and some other things. Finally…moments to breathe. But thinking about my own health and my own “stuff” was farthest from my mind.
By the fall of 2007, we were about to experience another tragedy, when Doug’s brother, who had been suffering with problems with his pancreas, was diagnosed with cancer. He sadly passed away right before Christmas. We made another trip home to Wisconsin to be with family.
2008 came and went in a literal blur. Happily, of more positive times.
We celebrated Cooper’s 2nd birthday with surprise guests from Wisconsin and lots of friends and family. A month later, I made a trip to Vegas to meet up with some wonderful friends and have my first real time away from Cooper. It was an awesome three days spent enjoying good times with good friends. It was a time that I will always cherish.
When I returned it was time to celebrate my Mom’s 70th, and then enjoy the weather easing up and allow Cooper and I to get outside and enjoy park time. Summer saw him grow in leaps and bounds in his ability to really play with and interact with other kids.
We were able to make a couple of trips to the cabin over the summer, Cooper and Doug made their first boys-only trips back to WI, we made a family trip back to a celebration for Doug’s sister and brother in law who had purchased a new resort and planned to move there permanently, we made a trip to California to visit family and attend a wedding, we celebrated my Dad’s 70th with a Norwegian party at our house, and we enjoyed Christmas celebrations in both MN and WI.
Now, as 2009 begins, I vowed that I will turn some of the focus back to me. My short list includes getting to a doctor, a dentist, and getting an eye exam. Today, I was able to check that last thing off my list. Eye exam, complete! Turns out, I need to wear glasses all of the time now (darn it anyway!), and my new glasses are being made for me as I type. I pick ’em up tomorrow afternoon. My eyes are pretty jacked, I guess, and the opposite of most people’s. I suffer from major far-sightedness, whereas most people are near-sighted. The doctor told me that I’ve kept my eyes under so much constant strain, that the muscles in my eye are unable to relax right now. If he were to give me my “real” prescription, I wouldn’t even be able to tolerate them. So, I’m told to wear my new glasses all the time for one entire year, and then return for another exam. Geez. Not the news I was hoping for, but not so bad, I guess. They’ve got his cool new technology that takes pictures of the inside of your eye ball and they can tell amazing things from the pictures. Things like whether or not you have diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, circulation issues….all from the veins and arteries in your eyes. It was crazy…and kind of cool to look at. Thankfully, all was well except that he told me I’ll probably need bifocals by the time I’m 45. I wish he would have saved that tidbit for later. Talk about making someone feel old!
Anyway, next up will be the dreaded dentist and doctor apppointments. I’ve avoided them for far too long, and it’s time to just get it done. I also need to put some thought into what I want to do when I grow up. Now that we’ve got Cooper ready for Fall preschool, I want to put some thought into what I’m going to do… Will I continue to stay at home with him for a little longer? Will I begin the job search in these rough economic times? Will I purse my Master’s degree that has been in the back of my mind for some time now? Will I instead pursue a law degree that was once my dream? Who knows what 2009 will bring, but as I embark on this new year with new things to come, I enter the year thinking that some of my focus will once again be turned inward. Not resolutions, so much, just the thought that I need to do the things that Doug tells me to do once in awhile. Like, leave he and Cooper to fend for themselves at night once in awhile, so I can do nothing more than wander around a bookstore alone. Things like actually taking my parents up on their offer to keep Cooper overnight so that Doug and I can enjoy a night out and actually sleep in the next morning. Things like continuing to learn more about using a camera, getting back to work updating my food blog here, and enjoying a hobby or two of my own. I also hope to ease up a bit on myself and my parenting this year. And, in turn, ease up on D.Jones, as well. I needn’t worry like I do about things like “did he watch too much t.v. today? Is he performing at an appropriate level for his age? Did we do enough learning activities today?” I hope to realize more and more that D.Jones and I are pretty good at this whole thing, and we can have a lot more fun if I just go with the flow. I’m not good at that, but I’m hoping to get better. Perhaps doing the other things I outlined will also positively impact the latter. I mean, they say maintaining some balance in your life makes you a better parent, better spouse, better friend, and happier person. I think they are probably right… I’ll keep you posted.