With the year (and the decade) coming to a close I find myself, along with most people, taking a moment and reflecting on the changes in my life. The last decade has been filled with ups and downs to say the least.
In 2001 I got married. It was a beautiful day filled with rain and snow and sun and ice. I can remember clearly the anticipation of that day and how long it seemed to take for it to get here. I remember just wanting to see Matt at the end of the aisle. It was all I could have dreamed of and more.
Three weeks later I was devestated by the death of my beloved grandmother. She was my rock and I still find myself shedding many tears over her huge absence from my life. She would have just loved Matthew and I ache for him to know her.
This is a picture of her and me at my wedding. I gave her my throw-a-way bouquet and before I did it the photographer captured a moment I will forever be grateful for. See the look on her face? That was the look of love from an amazing woman and everyone who knew her was forever changed.
Here's another of her from my bridal shower. I miss that laugh.
In July of 2001 we moved into what would in 2003 become our first house! It was a small 2 bedroom condo but coming from our tiny 1 bedroom apartment with no laundry room we loved it. It did us well for a long time until annoying neighbors and walls closing in on us helped us to decide it was time to upgrade.
May of 2004 was another devestating loss to my family. My dad passed away after a long fight with lung Cancer. He was a good man who was tough on me, but taught me a lot about life and never giving up. He was so excited for Matt and me to have children and I mourn the lost relationship Matthew will never have with him.
Here he is at a Phillies game just a few months before he was diagnosed.
In March of 2006 we broke ground on our new townhouse that would pretty much double our living space! We were so excited and despite many setbacks (such as the house being done almost a year after it was supposed to be done) we still love it. We have a never ending list of projects and plan to be here another 3-5 years.
Here's a few pictures of our journey to it being built.
Once we had decided to start building our house we realized it was time to be serious about this baby making business. Due to my polycystic ovarian syndrome the chances of us conceiving on our own were very slim and we didn't want to waste any more time so off to the Reproductive Endochronologist we went.
After two failed cycles of injectibles/IUI we were blessed with the most beautiful sight! A positive pregnancy test! We soon learned that not one but two little babies were on their way to us!
Here's an ultrasound picture of the day we found out there were two.
This picture still hurts my heart because it's proof they were real and that what happened to us really happened. Sometimes it's easy to let myself forget, makes it more bearable. But it is part of our sad truth. On July 5th 2007 we found out sweet Baby B did not make it. And because of her passing my body went into labor on July 11th and our little boy was not big enough to survive it. There is some small comfort in the fact that they knew no pain, no heartache or sorrow and that the warmth of my womb and the eternal love of God is all they know. But there are times when their loss makes me want to crawl into a hole and stop moving.
Coming back from our vacation to the Outer Banks that year I was renewed and more determined than ever to bring a child into my home. We started right back at the dr's and found success with our first cycle!
Just one this time though.
Here's a progression of my growing baby belly!
In June we were once again shaken by another loss. This one of my mother. She passed away the night before my baby shower and I still am not really able to talk about it. My list of regrets with her is long and I have to remind myself daily that I know she loved me and she knows I loved her and that's what matters.
Here is her and I at my cousin Mary's graduation.
On July 4th this picture was taken.
And then on July 8 this one (by the way, this was after already a full 24 hours of waiting, waiting, waiting).
And then finally, on July 9th he was ready to arrive! Matthew Edwin McMichael, Jr. was born at 5:58 in the morning weighing 6lbs and 6ozs.
Our family core was shaken one more time when in September of 2008, just a few short months after my mom's passing we got the horrible news that my Aunt Cathy had also passed away. Shell-shocked would be a good word to describe it. How could a family endure so much loss in such a short period of time.
She loved Matthew and called me daily to check on him. And I wish I had more patience on the phone with her. But once again, regrets do nobody any good.
Here is possibly one of the last pictures we have of her. She had come up to finally meet our little man and fell head over heels. In fact she would hardly let him go all day.
Matthew's first year of life went by so quickly!
He took his first steps on July 27, 2009, shortly after his first birthday and what would have been my mom's 52nd birthday.
And now he's a walking, talking, ornery toddler! He fills our days with joy and love and so much laughter.
It's definitly been a decade of up's and down's. But that's what life is isn't it? The good times get you through the bad and you just keep walking through the sad knowing something happier is around the corner. You take your lessons when you find them and count your blessings before you go to bed each night.
I thank you, my family and friends and friends that are family. Without you all I never would have gotten through the bad times and I'm happy you were there to help celebrate the good!
From my family to yours I hope this next decade is your best ever!