50 Things I Didn’t Know Last Year

The me who celebrated the arrival of 2014, is not the same me who will be welcoming 2015. I have changed, and I know so much more now.

Thank you for following me, for reading my blog, for keeping up with my kids and my family, and for caring about us. I have loved writing my feelings and seeing them resonate with other families. I plan to keep writing, if you plan to keep reading.

And, now, the 50 things I have learned over the last 12 months…

50. What a g-button was, or how to use it, or that it’s not that big of a deal.

49. How amazingly strong and resilient my daughter, Sydney, is. She amazes me.

48. What terrible, awful beds those plastic couches at the hospital make.

47. That Moebius Syndrome, Poland Syndrome, or VACTERL existed.

46. That a cystic kidney was the least of our worries.

45. That Jack had such a tough road ahead of him.

44. That we had such a tough road ahead of us.

43. How much I would cherish those moments I spent rocking Jack in the dark, quiet hospital at night.

42. How many wonderful, supportive people truly care about my family.

41. What awesome and supportive friends I have that I’ve never even met in person. My internet friends rock!

40. That a limb difference could be so positively adorable.

39. That I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out by not having two daughters. Not at all.

38. How little boys can totally steal your heart.

37. You don’t need to have a same-sex sibling to have a special bond.

36. That I had a lot more strength that I ever thought possible.

35. That I don’t hate the Twilight movies (I’m so ashamed!).

34. That there are more parents than I realized, all over the world, dealing with some pretty shifty stuff, medical-wise, for their kids, and doing it without thinking about it, because of love.

33. That Xanax and a whole lot of Netflix were going to keep my sanity in check during the summer.

33. That I would ever have a child that needed not one, but three surgeries before he was 3-months-old.

31. That keeping a marriage together during something as stressful as a sick child is really, really hard, but doable.

30. That I can count on my parents for literally anything, even to take on my toddler and become pseudo-parents during a time when her actual parents were zombies trying to make it one day at a time.

29. That I would know so much medical jargon and actually understand it.

28. That doctors are so far from having all the answers, it’s not even funny.

27. That the things I used to worry about as a parent are just plain silly, now. Before: Oh no, you gave my 6-month-old a bite of a cookie? How dare you! Now: HE ATE A BITE OF COOKIE?! Did he like it? Did he swallow? Does he want more?! WOOHOO! Here, Jack, have ALLTHECOOKIES for breakfast!

26. That you can be proud of your child just for breathing.

25. That I would ever be brave enough to get a tattoo, and that my source of strength to do it would come from my infant son.

24. How much I loved my little home, with our staggering amounts of laundry and the kid toys everywhere, until I didn’t have the option of going home.

23. How I can actually be organized when push comes to shove, like staying on top of his medical supplies.

22. That I would make enough money writing that I would be annoyed by the amount of taxes I had to pay on my income.

21. How much it thrills me to share my love of older Disney movies with Sydney (now that everything doesn’t have to be computer animated, Toy Story style, to get her approval). Yay for the Great Mouse Detective.

20. That our experience this summer would ruin ever being able to think about having a third kid, even abstractly.

19. That Sydney would turn out to be the sweetest, most kind, gentle and loving big sister there ever was. She loves her baby brother.

18. That I’m okay with my social media addiction.

17. How much writing truly helped me in stressful times when everything else only took the edge off.

16. That I could become so assertive in the face of my kids not being made a priority.

15. That quitting smoking was the best thing I ever did for myself, because a cancer scare is truly terrifying (yay for January 15th being my four year anniversary of quitting!).

14. That socializing with other people won’t kill me, and it’s actually even made me happier.

13. That I still hate how college football championships and playoffs are decided.

12. That both my kids have worked so hard to overcome ridiculous things, and they make me a better person.

11. That my pedicure addiction is not going away.

10. And, neither is my assertiveness.

9. How much I’m head over heels for Jack, and how could I have ever been disappointed we were having a boy, even for a second.

8. That seeing a baby smile is more than just cute; sometimes it’s the only thing keeping the world right side up.

7. Every time Sydney says, “I love you, mommy,” I turn into a gigantic pile of goo.

6. That medical professionals who actually do their jobs, as well as truly care about the kids are few and far between, but the ones who do are awesome, and you’ll never forget them.

5. That hopefully the kids won’t realize how much daddy wants to buy them to make up for their early-in-life medical problem, and take advantage of it. 😉

4. How complete life feels now that we are a family of four.

3. That my heart could hold this much love in it.

2. That mothering could be this rewarding.

1. I didn’t know my kids were going to turn out to be this extraordinary.

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