Amelia is 2 years and 7 months old. Lately, every time I ask her “How old are you?” she responds with “THREE!” The first couple times she said that, I just gave her the “you’re silly” face and said “Whaaat? You’re TWO!” …today when she said it, I suddenly looked at her (sitting on the floor in Gideon’s “treat spot”, waiting for gummy vitamins like a puppy) and realized she really is almost three years old. I’m not sure why it hit me so hard, but for some reason anything over the age of two is just… a kid. I sort of feel like anywhere from Zero to TWO, you’re still a baby. A toddler, at least. Three? That’s just a little kid. That’s not even a toddler. So much has happened this year that has made me look closer at my life, to pay more attention to things, to be more grateful for things. Nothing dramatic or traumatic or life altering… it’s just been a busy year with a growing girl who is constantly changing and it constantly makes me pay attention to everything.
Dustin became a teenager this year. That was pretty huge for me. It’s mind boggling, if I think about it too much, how fast life goes by. I can close my eyes and vividly re-live the day he was born and the days following his birth as if they were yesterday, or even this morning. You replay a memory many, many times. Probably more than you’re even consciously aware of. Replaying to the point where it’s like memorizing a movie or a song or a poem or someone’s face. I really can replay it as if he was born yesterday. Thirteen years have passed and that… is just twilight-zone MIND boggling.
Amelia turned 2 years old in February. Just an amazing, ridiculously awesome thing. I say it often, but only because it is so true… I never TRULY grasped the term “Bittersweet” until I had this girl. Watching her grow every single day is the most amazing and saddest thing I’ve ever experienced. I know now what so many millions of Mother’s have said before me, that I wish so much that she could stay a little baby, but what an amazing, unspeakable miracle it is to be able to watch her grow. In a way, I can’t wait to see the amazing woman she turns into and I’m sure that she will. She is a firecracker, a total goofball, a crazy tornado, an intelligent, independent, beautiful, compassionate little angel with combat boots and a magic wand. She has the most beautiful imagination. She loves to sing anything from “Disney” to “Michael Jackson” to “Journey”, “Bing Crosby”, “Mary Poppins” and much more… She often will stop in the middle of a song just to say “I’m singing *this* Mommy”. She does like to narrate everything she’s doing. “I’M RUNNING AROUND!” “I’M JUMPING!” “I’M ROLLING AROUND!” She needs to do everything herself. Even if you just did something, she will undo it to make sure she does it HER. SELF. This is not always cute, but this is my challenge as a Mother… patience to let her DO. IT. HER. SELF. She rarely holds still and is very often ignoring us completely when we’re trying to talk to her… but oh my goodness, that smile. What an amazing thing it is. I look at her often and STILL, over 2 1/2 years later, think “Wow. She is mine.”
Shortly after Amelia’s second birthday, we lost Gram. My beautiful, angelic, amazing Grandmother. We didn’t see each other often because of the physical distance, but her absence has been heavy. I feel like she visits me now as often as she wishes she could when she was physically here… I feel her often and I think of her often. Today is her birthday and I woke this morning thinking of her and remembering the way she smelled and the feel of her soft, soft skin the last time I got to hug her and she kissed the spot she always kissed when she hugged me, right under my ear. I remember that moment, dropping her and Pop off at the airport. I remember so clearly the second we pulled away and I could no longer see them, I burst into tears and I told Bart “I feel like I’m not going to see them again.” I don’t know why I felt that way at that moment, because at that time, years ago, there was no immediate concern for either of them to be leaving us anytime soon. I just felt it. But I am so grateful for that last moment with her. That last day with her. Listening to her beautiful voice with her adorable accent. I loved listening to her talk. Being in her presence was always like being in your favorite place in the world. I miss her very much and losing her has made me regularly think of how much I will miss my Mother the day I don’t get to talk to her anymore. And it is such an incredibly painful thing to imagine.
Shortly after Gram passed, we were extremely fortunate and blessed to have Pop come and visit us for a week. I can’t even describe what that week was like for me, but I’ll just say that it was amazing. I could listen to that man talk about his life for countless hours, for the rest of my life and never, ever tire of hearing his voice and his stories and his amazing memories of his childhood, his life growing up and his wonderful memories of his beautiful “girl” Irene. “My beautiful girl”, he calls her. What an amazing thing to imagine: being with the love of your life for over 60 years and still referring to them with such adoration. I have looked at Bart many times since then and reminded myself how lucky I am to have him and how I can only dream that when we are 86+ years old, that we will still love each other as much as this.
A month after Gram passed, Grandpa Kroeber passed away. This was an interesting experience for me. We were not close. I barely knew him. I had some negative feelings toward him from past disappointments. But to watch your parent lose a parent is something I’ve never really thought much about. To watch my Dad lose his Father… it was sad. That’s the best word for it. When I asked him how he felt, he said he was sad for what would never be. For the relationship he could never have with his Dad now that he was gone. How amazingly grateful I am for my Daddy and the relationship I have with him. How grateful I am for Bart and the relationship Amelia has with him.
In June, I listened to a voicemail from LDS Family Services saying that I had correspondence waiting for me. I haven’t received a physical letter from Dustin’s parents for a handful of years, so this was extremely exciting. I was SO excited, I asked my neighbor to watch Amelia so I could drive to Provo and go by myself. I’m always emotional when I have to go to that building (usually when I’m dropping a letter OFF), so I just wanted to do it by myself. When I got there, I was shaking when I told them my name and that I was there to pick up a letter. The woman went to the back and came out holding blue folder. I’ll just say it… I was crying before she even reached me. I think I may have squeaked out “thank you” before I turned around, clutching that folder to me like a life jacket in the ocean and basically ran out of the building crying. LOL Yes, I’m laughing, because visualizing it just makes me laugh. I got to my car and let myself cry for a few minutes. Then I opened the folder. There was a framed picture of Dustin. A picture I actually have an original copy of. In the picture, he’s a year old. Although this one was drawn by Dustin. So, more crying. After my vision was partially useful again, I picked up the letter and read the first sentence. It was that moment that I realized this letter wasn’t from Magui or Geary. I have in fact, literally, had dreams about this moment. The moment I received communication of any kind from Dustin himself. I kind of think that in this moment, I may have briefly left my body. Sometimes in a movie when something super dramatic happens, the scene kind of freezes and shows someone moving in slow motion… maybe falling down or having their life flash before their eyes… that’s kind of the only way I can describe how this felt. I totally realize that to the average person, I’m sounding SUPER dramatic right now, but there is just no way you can compare any other feeling to this experience. There’s just no way you can understand. It was just surreal that he was “talking” to me. And SO casually. He’s funny and quirky and so, so intelligent. He reminded me a lot of myself. His favorite word is Banana. Yes, he said his favorite word was Banana and then proceeded to randomly say it two more times throughout the letter. HAHAHAHA He ended the letter by asking me to answer some questions about myself. Simple things, such as my likes and dislikes. My talents and “Nontalents”! My favorite flower. <3 Then, he said “I hope you have questions for me.” What other word can I use other than “amazing”? Wonderful. Blessed. Surreal. Awesome. This letter could probably sustain me the rest of my life. It confirmed that he does in fact know about me and even more importantly… he is doing extremely well. Nothing could even be better than that knowledge right there.
In July, I attended an Usborne Books & More “party” online. Jessica invited me. I had no idea what it was, but man, I fell in love fast and almost immediately signed up to be an Independent Consultant. Yeah… ME. I never, in a MILLION YEARS thought I would be selling anything. And to be honest, when I signed up, I had NO intention of selling. I just was told that Consultant’s got a 25% discount on books, so I thought “hell yeah!” It’s the same reason I “joined” doTERRA… I love the oils and signing up as a member allows me to buy them whole-sale instead of marked up! And I’ve never once sold those, so this was the same plan. But man, it almost took zero effort and I was hooked. The extra money is a great feeling, I won’t lie… but seriously, every time I get new books delivered for Amelia, I feel amazing. Even more than that… when someone I run a party for gets FREE books, well…. that’s an even more amazing feeling. Speaking of amazing feelings… at the beginning of the Usborne adventure, I decided to do a Book Drive (fundraiser) to give books to Primary Children’s Medical Center. My goal was $750.00 and Usborne would match 50%. When everything was said and done, I raised $1,670.00 and Usborne matched that at 50%. It was an indescribable feeling to be able to deliver four full boxes of books to that hospital. The entire experience was very humbling for me, seeing how many people were willing (and GRATEFUL) to donate and some with very significant donations. It was just a really great reminder of how amazing people are when given the chance.
Heidi, Matty and Brennan came to visit the end of July/beginning of August. They were here for over a week and it was so amazing. It gave me a small glimpse of what it would be like to have them local. It also made me cherish the little time we had with them. It’s difficult to have a sibling live so far away (when you’re used to your entire immediate family being within a hour drive), but even harder, I have discovered, to have a nephew that I don’t get to watch grow. Brennan turned a year old a few weeks ago and again, the whole “time FLIES” problem comes into play. We were lucky this year to see them around Christmas time and then AGAIN in July (twice in one year is rare considering how difficult it is for them to have the time off) and it’s amazing how much he changed in such a short time. He started walking a couple weeks ago! Just crazy!! I am grateful to still have a relationship with them, even if it’s a long distance one.
Bart turned 30 on August 5th. It was a pretty big milestone of course, but I took a simple picture of him and Amelia next to his birthday cake (with the big “3-0” candles on top) and after looking at that picture a few times have found myself just amazed at how far he and I have come. Not only have we been together since we were 17 year olds, but we have had our fair (and not so fair!) share of ups and downs. Major, major downs. I’m extremely proud of how hard we have worked to stick to our commitment to each other and I’m so proud to be his choice. What an awesome person he is. Looking back on the type of person I was before I met him and how HARD (oh man… just so, so, sooo hard) he fought to help me get out of my damaging lifestyle, I really am in awe by him. And I can’t wait to see what he’s like in another 30 years. 😉
Now that I’ve narrated my entire year up until this point, I get to talk about how my month of September has been. On September 2nd, I had a doctor’s appointment. Short version: I have Type 2 Diabetes. My A1C level was 6.6 (Diabetic is 6.5), so it’s not in super crazy, damaging scary range, but it’s still something I’ll have to manage for the rest of my life. I was then referred to a Diabetes Specialist (fortunately, the same people I saw when I was pregnant with Amelia and had Gestational Diabetes) and a Nutritionist. This, oddly enough, was an amazing appointment and I left there feeling very encouraged and almost excited at the prospect of getting healthy, with a goal of working hard to lower those numbers into a healthier range. I’ve been prescribed Metformin and put on a pretty specific carb focused diet (I don’t want to say “low-carb”, because the average low carb diet is not nearly what I mean here…) That is the slightly daunting part of this diagnosis, but I’m hopeful that in time, I’ll get so used to the strictness that maybe I’ll know how many carbs are in what without having to look at every single label and calculate every single thing. But for now, I’m just working really hard. Already seeing positive results in my blood sugar tests (testing at random times, twice daily for the next few months to get a really good idea of how I’m functioning) and have lost about 9 lbs. I am hoping that if I can be as open as possible about this that Amelia will grow up having pretty good knowledge about it because I have to face the facts… chances are she will have this disease when she’s older. My hope is simply that if I can teach a healthy lifestyle as early as possible, maybe she won’t be diagnosed when she’s 29.
You know, life really is good.