It's that time of year when everyone looks back at the year to see what has happened, to think about the new year. And this year, for me, was a year of absolute heartbreak.
January began with cautious optimism. I was feeling normal again, Nathan was going to start a new job, and Jace was going to start daycare for the first time. My job moved into the beautiful new office where snow didn't come through the windows and the heat actually worked.
Then Nathan's car died. We became a one car family, but were thankful it had waited until he worked walking distance from home.
We enjoyed the most snow we've ever seen in Kentucky, made snow cream, and drank a lot of hot chocolate well into March, when I found out I was expecting, quite unexpectedly.
Again, we were cautiously optimistic, but as soon as I saw the heartbeat on the 6 week ultrasound, caution was thrown aside as I was in love.
Two days before my son's 3rd birthday party, I discovered that I had miscarried again, this baby had only lived 9 weeks.
We mourned, we cried on the shoulders of friends, and we tried to move on.
Walter the bearded dragon joined our family, named by the three year old, and provided great entertainment to all.
Family invited us to Florida for the best family vacation we've had, and I was able to watch my son fall in love with the ocean and waves.
I was diagnosed with depression in May, put on medication and told that I was not crazy, just responding to what the world had thrown at me. I began to get better.
Jace and his best friend Clay met Thomas the train and went on his first train ride.
Then Nathan was so sick Father's Day that we took him to the emergency room. They released him, but before we knew it, he was back in, and then we were transferring him to the Cleveland Clinic discussing surgery as the most viable option.
The summer passed with hospitals, doctor appointments, and me being a single mom in Kentucky while he recovered in Cleveland.
One surgery became two became three, 12 weeks became 16 became 20. Unable to make finances work, seeing the mess that was my life and marriage, I made the hardest choice: I left home. I handed in my resignation, said goodbye to my church, my friends, my mountains, and started over.
Within two weeks I had found a new job, one where I am utterly replaceable and my opinion is not asked for, nor taken with any credibility.
I made a trip back home to see my people and to go to the grave of my baby one week after their due date. I got to feel the closure that comes with having a place to mourn and a place to return.
I was reminded that distance does not end friendships, and thanked God daily for the people that, even through all this, still listened and encouraged me.
So, waking up on January 1, 2016, I am putting this year behind me. I'm taking the Christina Yang approach that says, "If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, stop accepting crap and demand something more."
Two Thousand Sixteen, I eagerly greet you. I look forward to what you will bring, what you will change, and who you will let me encounter.
I demand life in 2016, instead of survival.
I demand joy rather than heartbreak.
I demand security to replace mind-numbing fear.
And, above all, I demand myself back, the optimist that 2015 has held hostage.