Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The bittersweet taste of 2014

As much as the years 2001 and 2004 were all about my girls, so to was the year 2014.

Major decisions were reached with them in mind. Foremost was my decision to move back to Tallahassee, a place I swore I’d never live again. As the old saying goes, “Never say never.” Not only did I move back there, I moved in with my girls. My ex needing to spend nine months in Colorado for work, this became a win-win-win. That’s to say a win for me, for my girls and for Tracy. To say that I cherished that time with them, fulfilling the role of full-time, stay-at-home dad from mid-February through early November, is a huge understatement. I loved it, the highs and the lows. I think the girls did, too. I watched Kenna thrive like she did under my guidance in 2006, when I was home for three months and potty trained her. She didn’t learn any “new tricks,” per se, but her sweet little disposition did just as much for me as it does for her. I managed a major school change for Merikathryn. She seems to be doing well in her new educational environs.

Needless to say, it was a year of transition and change for me. I ended a year-long romance with a woman to whom I was ill-matched. I’ll just say, its one thing to watch someone’s trainwreck life on TV. It’s quite another to live a trainwreck with someone. That’s what I was doing on Fort Myers Beach, so I’m glad I moved on from that situation. That said, I do still miss my beach and great friends there.

I navigated the treacherous waters of unemployment, found a free place to stay and made two trips to Indiana, all with the help of family and friends.

I’m still dealing with the earth-shattering news I received in late May that my mother is dying of cancer.

I’ll let that statement stand alone. It changed a lot of things for me, namely my perspective. There was nothing that was going to keep me from spending a good portion of my summer up there with her and Dad. My girls had gone to Colorado to stay with their mom for six weeks, so I hit the road in June and spent the better part of two months in Noblesville, Indiana. Memories were made with Mom that I will always remember and cherish, like conversations we had in her basement and on her back porch. I also got the chance to make some memories with my siblings, nieces and nephews. A highlight of that trip was visiting Holiday World Theme Park in August before returning home with the girls.

A disturbing vision by my sister, Keely, made me determined to get back up there for Thanksgiving, so the girls and I hit the road for Indiana, together this time. It was a very long drive, harder than most of the dozens of times I’ve driven that route up I-65. We enjoyed four full days in Indiana, capped off by a visit to Princeton with Mom and Dad where I finally got to meet my cousin, Shawn’s, adopted daughter. She’s already 2 years old and quite a beauty. The time I spent on the road was just another opportunity to bond with my own daughters. Again, time cherished and not easily forgotten.

We’re not quite to the end of this monumental year, but looking back I have SO MUCH for which to be thankful. Not the least of which is the time I got with my Mom and with my daughters. I’m still learning to practice gratitude and to radiate positivity. I’ve come quite a long way. Having more time with the girls and them at the center of my life, again, is the best thing that has happened in my life since I adopted both of them in 2001 and 2004.

Yes, 2014, you’ve been quite the banner year. Bittersweet. One that I surely won’t ever forget.