Friday, December 31, 2010

It's been a long December...

...and there's reason to believe
maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
to hold on to these moments as they pass
-Counting Crows, "A Long December"

2010, where do I begin to describe thee? I really can't decide whether it's been the worst year of my life ... or the best. Maybe both are possible at the same time.

This year started off with the horrible news that my mom's cancer had spread to her brain, her liver, her lymph nodes - everywhere. She began aggressive treatments, some of which are working on some of the tumors. It is amazing what modern medicine can do. And yet her tumors are still spreading and she is still fighting this horrible, ugly, awful disease. Cute pink breast cancer awareness ribbons are everywhere, and still it continues to affect the lives of millions. I'm so proud of how she has handled herself in the face of devastating news. I've learned so much from her, and her positive spirit continues to be an inspiration to me (and to lots of you as well!).

Building castles in the sand with her #1 grandson

My worry and anxiety shifted to joy when Luke McLean Foster entered our lives on February 22, 2010. He turned our quiet little threesome into the Foster Fab Four, and brightened our lives in ways I couldn't have predicted or imagined. He was such an easy baby, and the months at home with him during my maternity leave were among the best of my life. I always knew I wanted at least 2 kids, but it's far better than I expected. As cheesy as it is, it really does my heart good to see them giggle at each other. And giggle at each other's farts. They are still boys, after all.

Luke, in the days when his crazy hair was only mildly crazy

And then life's roller coaster threw me for a big loop in June when we learned that Jay would have another open heart surgery. Those months of preparing for the worst and deciding where to go for surgery and desperately trying to keep him healthy ... I don't want to go there again, even just by writing it out. I don't want to rehash it all in my mind.

Then there were the horrible dark days in Philadelphia when we nearly lost him. I still have flashbacks as I fall asleep, seeing the nurses doing CPR on him. If I allow myself to think about it, I can hear the beeps of the monitor and the sound of the ventilator as if they are right beside me. I still dwell on what could have been. Even now, months later, it's still raw and painful to let my mind drift back to those days.

I witnessed a miracle as my little boy recovered beyond all expectations. I saw him go from complete life support to running and jumping and talking and laughing and playing. How can I even begin to describe that? I experienced love and support from those around me that went beyond what words can describe. People (yes you!) showed compassion for us through care packages and food, through visits, through cards and letters and emails, through incredible gifts of generosity. I can't thank you enough for supporting us in our dark days and celebrating our miracle with us.

Rockin' his guitar on Christmas morning

In spite of the awful things 2010 brought, at this moment, I have everything my heart desires. Today, my mom's feeling good enough to ring in the new year at the beach with her childhood best friend. The Foster Fab Four saw the acorn & fireworks (the early acorn, of course!) in downtown Raleigh, then came home to drink hot chocolate in our PJ's. Life is good.

I've learned to appreciate the little moments. I've questioned and re-thought everything I thought I knew - about God and God's role in this world, about life, about relationships with my family and friends. It's been a horrible year, and yet it's been filled with incredible blessings. But for 2011, I'll take a year that's a bit less intense. 'K? Thanks.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

May I have the love, the grace that you, your mother and your grandmother have always had and have always shared with others. You 3 women are incredible! God's blessing on 2011 on all the Perry women!:-)
Love,

Anonymous said...

LYTB!!! AJ

Anonymous said...

Amen to that!!

Hoping 2011 is indeed a much calmer year. God created valleys and mountains and life is just full of them. Hope we all have a year of mountaintops.

LY
Aunt Ali

Emily Erin said...

I didn't realize that Luke was born on 2/22; that was my mother's birthday and I'm sort of hoping this one's birthday too.

I, too, pray that your 2011 is tamer and that you're able to enjoy the quiet life for a little while. We still need to do lunch, BTW...