Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Decade In Review

As the year comes to a close, I was going to write a Year in Review sort of post about all that had happened to us as a family this year. I got started writing it and got about two-thirds of the way through when I realized that it sounded remarkably like one of those cheesy Christmas letters you get once a year from your long lost Aunt Agnes.

And then I realized that not only is the year turning but so is the decade. It’s been 10 years since the big millennium celebrations and the hype of over the Y2K virus (remember that?!). I got to thinking about how much has changed over the last 10 years and how my life took some really surprising turns in that time. In honor of that, I give you my decade in review.

I began the year 2000 in a new relationship after dumping my ex-fiance two months before our wedding. That new relationship just happened to be with Scot - who I would go on to marry in 2001. In 2000, we were still living in separate states but were dating seriously.

At the time I was living in Columbus, OH with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece and working full time for a law firm. My sister and her family picked up and went to England in March of that year and stayed for three months as my sister finished her dissertation research. I stayed in Ohio caring for their house, finances, and cat.

In November of 2000 the country elected George Bush. I will refrain from comment on the next 8 years of politics.

By the time my sister returned Scot and I were engaged so I moved out to Pittsburgh and we moved in together. I got a job at Carnegie Mellon and we began to plan our wedding scheduled for October of 2001.

In August of 2000, three days after I began my job at CMU, I lost my beloved grandmother, Mormor. I still miss her but I see her every now and then in the faces of my sons.

In October of 2000, I lost my Grandpa. That fall was tough for my parents - they’d both lost a parent and were both grieving.

Scot and I bought a house together in early 2001 and then spent the much of the rest of the year planning our wedding.

In April, I lost my Grandma.

Scot and I married on October 6, 2001 and took a short honeymoon to Baltimore. Our wedding was 3 short weeks after 9/11 and we were on our honeymoon the day that the US invaded Afghanistan. It seems wrong to me that I can measure the length of that war by the length of my marriage.

We settled in to married bliss. In early 2002 Scot was laid off from his job at IBM. We were blindsided and had no idea it was coming. The good news is that Scot ultimately landed at a company that eventually led to the job he has now so all’s well that ends well.

For the next couple of years we worked our respective jobs and lived the the married-with-no-kids life. We traveled to various places - New Orleans, San Francisco - and in February of 2003 Maggie the Wonder Beagle joined our family.

In April of 2004 my mother and I went on a 9 day trip to Ireland. We had a blast, saw so many gorgeous and wonderful things, and made memories together that I will never forget.

In late May of that same year we found out I was pregnant with Liam. Six short weeks later I lost my job in a lay off. It was not easy to take and even harder to find work as a pregnant woman. In the end I stayed home for most of my pregnancy and on February 2, 2005 we welcomed our son Liam. Liam and his great-grandmother were 100 years apart. We were so ecstatic to introduce Grandma to her first great-grandchild.

Adjustment to motherhood was huge. I’d always wanted children but having a baby was a real challenge for me. I felt out of my depth much of the time and leaned heavily on the friends and family around me for support and advice. I eventually got my sea legs as a parent and we settled in to raising Liam.

In early 2006 I tried to return to work with disastrous results for Liam’s health. Daycare germs caused a spate of illness so bad that Liam lost several pounds and we spent many sleepless night caring for him. My decision to return to work was reevaluated and I remained home with Liam.

In April of 2006 I turned 30. Somehow, even though I was a parent, a homeowner, and a responsible bill-paying adult I didn’t feel like I was 30. I’ve gotten over that.

In May of 2006 we lost Scot’s beloved Grandma. It was a hard spring.

By late 2006 we were seriously outgrowing our house. Scot was working 45 minutes from where we were living and the commute was killing him. We knew we would eventually want a second child and there was no room for it at the house. We also had reservations about the school district we were living in. So, we made the decision that it was time to sell the house and move.

We started Liam back to part-time daycare to facilitate our search for a house and entered a year of illness. He picked up everything that came down the pike. In January of 2007 he had ear tubes put in and things got miraculously better. His speech delay disappeared and he stopped being so ill so often. Now he has an immune system of iron.

We finally closed on a new house in the suburbs in late April of 2007 and moved in mid-May. We now have a big yard (and all the yard care that implies! ) and neighbors and kids in the neighborhood for Liam to play with. We sometimes miss our old stomping grounds (Hi Jenn and John!) but in all I love our house and where we live. Liam will start kindergarten here next year and I have no doubts that he will excel.

We spent the rest of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 settling into life in the ‘burbs. Scot grew increasingly frustrated with his job. I continued to stay home with Liam who survived the Terrible Twos and entered the Terrifically Terrible Threes. He excelled in pre-school and drove me up the wall on a regular basis.

Shortly after July 4th of 2008 we found out I was pregnant with Jamie. Immediately upon peeing on the home pregnancy test I descended into the depths of morning sickness. Actually, it was more like ALL DAY sickness.

Liam survived the summer he was three by the skin of his teeth and with the help of my in-laws who cared for him when I was too sick to.

By the fall things were progressing with my pregnancy and Scot was nearly at the end of his rope with his job. The presidential race was heating up and the political infighting was tremendous.

And then the bottom fell out of the economy.

In November of 2008 the country elected its first biracial president, Barack Obama. I stayed up late watching the returns.

In December of that year, Scot took a tumble down the stairs injuring his wrist pretty severely.

Which brings us to 2009 - a year with high highs and some low lows. Scot had surgery to repair his wrist in late January. I struggled to survive the end of my pregnancy while being the only mostly functional adult in the house.

In January, Barack Obama was sworn in as President. I watched the Inauguration with such pride and hope. I cried when he took the oath of office.

Jamie joined our family on March 4, 2009. He made his entrance two weeks early and had a rough first three months. Between reflux and colic I nearly didn’t survive those months and much of it is a blur of frustration, stress, worry, and exhaustion. Somehow we all made it through - I know the help of our family made that possible.

Scot took a new job in the beginning of 2009 - a job he is still at and still loves.

The rest of the year was spent settling in to being a family of four with a neurotic beagle. Our family is complete now.

To sum up, a lot has happened to me in the last decade. I started out the decade as a 20-something woman fresh out of college and fresh out of a nasty relationship. I didn’t know where I was going to end up or how I was going to get there. Now I’m a married mother of two little boys living in suburbia. Oh how life changes!

2010 promises to be a big year. Liam turns 5. Jamie turns 1. Liam will start kindergarten. I’m sure there will be many surprises along the way. There always are!

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