Dear 2013

Dear 2013,

Life seems to happen in seven-year cycles. Even science  to back this up. The body regenerates all of it’s cells every seven years, relationships often hit a seven-year bump, if you can make it seven years as a politician you generally make it a lifetime career. I could go on and on. The point though is this. While 2013 does not officially start a new seven-year cycle for my life. I propose that we call it even and start over. You in?

The last seven years have brought me the greatest joys and the most devastating heartache; the most precious gifts and the most gut-wrenching worry. I’m ready to start with a clean slate.

Seven years ago, I became pregnant for the first time. I was euphorically happy. I immediately began working on names, shopping for clothes and planning what color the nursery should be. I touched my stomach all the time, feeling from day one like I was bonding with my much anticipated offspring. I loved throwing up because it reminded me that I was on my way to motherhood. The first heartbeat shook me with a new level of emotion. The second heartbeat-appointment did no less. The week my second trimester began found me in the emergency room bleeding.

I begged the receptionist to help save my baby, I promised the doctor I would stand on my head for six more months if necessary. I would do anything to save Jimmy’s and my child. They sent me home at midnight to miscarry. It was agonizing. Strangely, you think that you have to be full-term to go into labor but that is an awful fallacy. I labored both in my stomach and back. I cried, I hurt as if my whole world were ending. In the wee hours of the morning I went to the bathroom and as I sat on the toilet I heard a splash as my child left my body.

I sobbed and pleaded for Jimmy to let me look at the life that we created. He held me close and cried as he flushed the toilet before I could.

The second miscarriage was as hard as the first. Except this time I had a D & C. Painless, physically anyway. The third was almost a relief. I can’t explain this feeling beyond saying that I was no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I knew it would.

Then we got pregnant with our beautiful daughter, Anna. Every doctor’s appointment I expected to find that there was no heartbeat. Once she started moving I worried that something would be devastatingly wrong with her. Yet she is the smartest little person that I’ve ever met and has delighted me for her entire three-and-a-half years on earth.

You would think this was enough trauma for a seven year stretch but life had other plans for us. Jimmy and I moved our little girl to Oregon to raise her outside of city life and with all the good values and opportunities that a small town can bring. We moved to my family to give her an extended circle of love in case she was to be an only child.

While still in the throes of postpartum hell, we tried to decide if we really wanted to upset our delicate balance by having another child. Chances were that my postpartum would be as bad as before and could we risk this with a toddler? After much back and forth we decided to let nature take it’s course. We were soon pregnant again. This time I was cautiously excited figuring that my body knew how to make a baby and that miscarriages were a thing of the past for me. Then our beautiful, little cat of 20 years, Snickers, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died at home under our bed four days before I miscarried again. Let me tell you, I missed my friend a million times more than I missed that potential baby. Snickers was my dear friend. She was my baby for years before I ever dreamed of being a mother. Two months later, her brother, Baby, joined her. He just couldn’t keep going without her. We were devastated all over again.

That was when Jimmy and I decided enough was enough. No more pregnancies, they were taking their toll. We had already hit the jackpot with Anna so why test fate further; except by the time we made this decision we were already 2 weeks pregnant with Faith.

Faith is our thunderbolt. She is loud, demanding, obstinate, funny, exhausting and so wonderful that we couldn’t imagine life without her. She has made us complete. So much so that I easily had my tubes tied during that c-section. Of course postpartum hit with a vengeance but we knew what to expect and we weathered the storm as best as we could.

Just as I was coming out of the fog, around Faith’s first birthday (Anna’s third), Jimmy was diagnosed with stage four tonsil cancer. His ENT told him that his chances, optimistically, were fifty-fifty. He suggested prayer.

We prayed, we pleaded, we tried alternative cures, we concocted voodoo dolls dedicated to tonsil cancer. A dear friend sent him a tiger’s eye to wear around his neck and he never took it off. I won’t mention everything else we did lest you think we’re total nut jobs, but the long and short of it is this. Jimmy, my husband of twenty-one years, my soul mate, the father to my children and the man who makes me whole is cancer -free.

So, 2013, without boring you with all the other little minor upsets, what do you think? Can we call it even and start over? You know a new seven year stretch of PTA meetings and ice cream socials? No new big dramas until 2020? This sounds copiously fair to me. What do you say, you in?