Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008- The Year of Lost & Found

2008 for me began with being heavily medicated. I was involved in a serious auto accident before Christmas and came out of it with a shattered collarbone and a fractured hip. I have no idea at all what I did for New Years. I only know that I was home with my left arm in an immobilizer and off my feet because I couldn’t stand. The first two months of 2008 are completely lost to me.

In early January, Eric had to go back to work after having stayed home for two or three weeks of being my nurse. The day after he went back to work, I was standing in the kitchen trying to figure out how to do a two-armed task with one arm and the phone rang. It was my sister, Inga. She asked me to go look out my window to see if she was parked in my driveway. She was. My dear sister who suffers pretty severe anxiety when she travels too far away from home, drove to Texas to try to help relieve my fear of my inability to take care of myself without Eric at home. I found out how much my sister loves me.

Sometime in January, I opened my MySpace account and saw that I had a message from a former friend of mine. I had severed a relationship from this person years ago. The reasons were selfish and immature and we ended the friendship at an incredibly tumultuous time in both our lives. This person had now worked up the courage to message me and include her phone number. I stared at the screen for about three minutes and then picked up the phone. We talked for an hour and decided that the past was the past and that the relationship that we’d initially had was something that we both missed terribly. Now we e-mail and talk regularly and I am incredibly thrilled that she is a part of my life again. I love her and I missed her terribly during those lost years. I’m so happy she found me.

In late February, a recruiter found Eric and told him about a company who wanted to interview him. Eric flew to Phoenix, AZ and within five minutes of leaving the interview, they called him and offered him the job. After nineteen years with the same company in Texas, he changed employers. Job found.

We then faced the challenge of putting our first home together on the market after only ten months of owning it. Eric started work within two weeks of being hired, which means that during the first week of March he moved to Phoenix while I stayed in Texas with our four kids to try to sell the house. One armed, I kept our home showroom ready so that we could hopefully sell it as quickly as possible. The market was just starting to decline and we were scared. Two months and exactly two showings later, we got a contract on our house. Home lost.

Before leaving town, our friend Kyle and his partner Eli, our friend and family doctor, Jeff and his partner Brian, took us out for a last hurrah. We ate, talked, danced, and ended up at an I.H.O.P. at 2:00 a.m. eating breakfast. We laughed at each other’s goofiness until we literally cried and held our sides. The ability to share these moments with them, lost. Memories that will last our lifetimes, found.

The middle of May, we watched our household belongings get loaded on two semi trucks and driven away. I cried as I walked through my beautiful home that was no longer mine. It was the first home I’d ever owned and I loved it. We picked the kids up from their last day at school and headed out on our new journey. We made a quick overnight stop at our friend’s house in Sanger, TX so that we could begin our trip refreshed the next day and so that we could say our goodbyes. As we left our friends Mike & Linda the next morning, we were all in tears. We had found a truly wonderful friendship over the past few years and we hoped very much that this move wouldn’t see it lost.

On July 15, after living in a vacation rental for a couple of months in Gilbert, AZ, we moved into our newly constructed home. It was much different from our home in Texas, but it was quite lovely. Everyone settled into their new rooms and adjusted to their new surroundings. Home found.

August is a banner month in our household. All of us with the exception of Abby have a birthday in August. Eric turned 41, Alex turned four, Ben turned 15 and I turned 40. I had no problems with turning 40. With each passing year, I feel more comfortable in my own skin. As Jon Bon Jovi so eloquently puts it, “I’m not old, just older.” Wisdom, knowledge, and self-confidence found.

For Ben & Abby, August also brought the beginning of the school year in their new school. With jittery nerves they went, and within the week had made friends. They also found that a large number of the kids they went to school with lived in or very near our neighborhood. A first for them. Friends found.

October brought with it melancholy and discontent. Fall is my very favorite time of year and I actually seem to have a mental/physical change at the onset of autumn. This year, things didn’t mesh. On Halloween, my favorite holiday, it was in the 80’s. There were no turning leaves. No leaves at all. Just a bunch of dirt and sand and ugly cacti. My beloved Fall was nowhere to be found.

November turned up family in record numbers. Eric’s family decided to hold a family reunion in Mesa, AZ this year during the two days following Thanksgiving. Everyone converged upon Arizona the day before or the day of Thanksgiving. I cooked for twenty-four people. It was quite something. Way too much food consumed. The reunion was nice & it was good to be able to visit with everyone. Even Bob. Renewed relationships with family found, waistlines lost.

November also brought with it the election of our country’s 44th president. I’ve been an Obama girl since way before he announced his candidacy for president. I’ve been a fan since I read his first book in fact. I suffered a lot of brain damage in November. I had immersed myself completely in reading every piece of news from every source, every day for months. By the time election day rolled around and I had been turned away from the polls for wearing an Obama ’08 t-shirt, (I turned it inside out and went in and voted.) I was completely mentally exhausted. The payoff was a new president found, and hope renewed.

Christmas is my least favorite holiday. In fact, I really don’t like it so it can’t even be on a list of favorites. I go through the whole mess of decorating and shopping and baking and blah, blah, blah. The state of the world, of the economy, the environment…it all just didn’t seem very merry. It’s been seeping away for years, but this year…Christmas spirit lost. Probably for good.

December did bring with it some good news. Our friends from Sanger, TX who own a construction company began doing work for Eric in Arizona. We’ve been able to spend some great time with them and it looks like they will be doing business here for a while. We’re so happy to have the opportunity to keep making memories with them. Our loss was only temporary. Friends found.

2008 also saw the loss of fifty percent of our retirement account. One of our credit card companies sent a letter informing us they were no longer in the business of credit. (However, please go ahead and pay your balance, thank you.) We’ve seen friends and neighbors lose their jobs and homes. We’ve watched politicians lose their freaking minds. We’ve watched the loss of life around the world and continue to watch in horror and sorrow at the escalation.

Personally, I feel like I have found a sense, at least somewhat, of renewed hope. I have great hope for our new president and for our country. I have also found that I am resilient. Not always without some complaining, but nonetheless, I can and do bounce back. I found that even when life-altering events happen, life really doesn’t change that much. I still have my sweet husband, my children, my health and friends and family who care about me and who I care about even though we’re thousands of miles apart. That’s not too shabby. I’d say I’m a pretty lucky girl.
Gratitude found.


Bob said...

Amy - Your 2008 sounds like one for the record books. You accomplished a lot and I'll bet 2009 will be even busier and better.

I'm so glad that you and Eric and your great kids are closer to Karen and me than ever. It means a lot to me.


Mark said...

I'm glad for you guys and your successes. I hope they continue and multiply.