So earlier this week, I blogged about 2017 and how our resolutions from last year panned out. And while its awesome to look back and remember the fun times and see how you met your goals, I think it’s also equally important to look back at the trying times and see how you’ve been challenged in the last year.
To be honest, 2017 was challenging. It made me question who I am. It made me question the strength of my family. And ultimately it changed me. Throughout all the good of 2017, there were times of heartache and grief and challenges.
Adam was promoted to Sergeant and NCOIC of the orthopedic clinic he works in at Fort Hood. And while that is absolutely AMAZING, and Marshall and I are SO proud of him, it was a challenge for our family. He works 50-60 hours a week and even when he is home, he is usually still putting in some hours doing work. Again, his work ethic is inspiring and I am so appreciative that he works so hard for our family, but it is challenging to have him away so much and to adjust to that new role. It was a year full of adjusting to the fact that in many ways the Army comes first and our family takes a backseat to that. Adam, being the amazing man that he is, also tries to be present and active in his role as husband and father, but I saw the strain his new job had on him and the amount of exhaustion that ensued. Marshall and I took many little trips without him this year. There were multiple times Adam missed family events and family outings. There were multiple nights Marshall was asleep before Adam got home. Ultimately, we found our new normal. And Adam has filled his role as Sergeant, husband, and father with grace. We found our new balance. We initiated Thursday night date nights so that Adam and I can still make each other a priority. Adam is finding his new normal at work and fulfilling his roles exceptionally. Daddy has slowly become Marshall’s favorite person, so I know Marshall is getting plenty of quality time with Adam. And while this job is SO good for Adam and his career, and I am by no means complaining or discrediting our blessings, I am just acknowledging that fact that 2017 was filled with some growing pains in this area of our lives. But I am super proud of our family, and especially Adam, for finding our new normal and continuing to work hard to provide for ourselves while also making our family a priority.
Not only did Adam’s job come with some changes in 2017, but mine career did too. Most you probably know that I was a PRN nurse from the start of my career at McLane Children’s. When I got hired there, I knew that my family was more important to me than my career and that working less hours was what I needed at that time in my life. And all was fine and well with that decision until I started to work less and less hours due to fiscal changes and restructuring at Baylor Scott&White. And also with pediatric nursing, censuses are low in summer times, which doesn’t provide many opportunities for PRN nurses to work. So I was left with a decision to find another job, go part-time, or make the decision to stay home full-time. And honestly, that decision was actually excruciating. I felt like I was losing my identity. I didn’t know if nursing was still the career path for me. I was struggling with not being able to provide for my family. I was ultimately lost. I knew I’d love to stay home, but I also felt like Marshall needed to be in some type of daycare or preschool to provide him opportunities and interactions he just couldn’t get at home. And so I was left at this crossroads of trying to determine what my next step was. I ended up going part-time at my job and also enrolled in grad-school to get my masters and become a nurse practitioner. I have never felt more like I am in the right place than I do right now. I’m currently thriving in grad school even though it hasn’t been easy. I’m loving being part-time and being in my job a little more regularly. This season of life challenged me and there were definitely growing pains, but it ended up working out just the way it was supposed to—and even better than I could have imagined.
Marshall also had a season of challenges and growth in 2017. He started daycare in August for the first time. He went from being home 24/7 and having babysitters one-on-one, to being immersed into a classroom of other toddlers and multiple teachers. He took it hard. Harder than I expected. The first two weeks were awful. He would scream and cry and cling to me at drop-off. He cried throughout the day. He genuinely hated it at first. And I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing by putting him in school. But even Marshall, at 18 months of age, was challenged and grew up a little bit as a person. He eventually started to love school and today he RUNS into his classroom and leaves dad and I in the dust. He’s usually too busy playing to even say goodbye to us. He is thriving in daycare. He’s talking, he’s becoming more and more independent, and he’s growing up so fast. It is amazing to be able to see him grow, learn, and explore.
And while I don’t want this post to be negative, or disheartening, I wanted to be able to show the real side of 2017. To be able to be real about the challenges. To be real about the growth experiences. To see how we changed, matured, and grew. And to see how 2017 was an incredible year but also a year full of real life and real challenges.
I hope this inspires you to not be fooled by social media, and to not believe the hype that everyone else’s life is perfect, and not to believe the lie that you’re the only one struggling. Life is hard, there’s no denying that. But I’m a big believer in facing challenges head on and accepting the situations thrown at you. Because I’ve seen first-hand that challenges make you stronger. And here’s to walking into to 2018, stronger, rejuvenated, full of life, and ready for whatever 2018 may bring.