I would have to say that the past 10 years were the most eventful of my life. They were full of changes - huge changes.
When the new millennium began, I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me in the coming ten years. If you had told me on December 31st, 1999, what the next ten years would bring, I wouldn't have believed it.
It all started with a new baby. In the Spring of 2000, I discovered that I was expecting a surprise baby. I had a seven year old and a four year old, and no immediate plans of having any more. But God had other plans....and he gave us Elayna, in January of 2001.
I stayed at home with the kids and loved it, although my marriage was stumbling along as it almost always had. And on New Years Eve of 2002, that blew up in a major way. 2003 began with my (now ex-) husband and I separating. Needless to say, it was a hard year. My baby turned two with a lot of chaos in the background. I didn't realize it at the time, but the hardest thing was just my life turning absolutely upside-down. I had to go back to work in the midst of a divorce and leave my baby for the first time. Meanwhile my older kids were confused and hurting. We also had to move and they had to change schools. It was an incredibly difficult time.
But 2004 was so much better. The divorce become final in February. The kids and I were adjusting well and I was becoming truly happy for the first time in a long, long time. I was discovering who I really was as just ME, not somebody's wife or just somebody's mom. I was finding myself. I was also working full time and going to school. It was tough, but it was good.
And then, on my birthday in 2004, I met a man who would change my life yet again.
I was burnt out on dating but something told me to give this a chance....and I am so glad that I did.
John and Andrew came into my life and brought me so much joy and love. They were literally an answer to prayers. Andrew was four years old, and my kids were 3, 8, and 11.
In April of 2005, we officially blended our family. John and I got married in a pretty little backyard ceremony with our children as the only attendants. It was lovely and sweet and the best day of my life. John loves me for who I am, and is so good to me. He has healed me.
In 2006,we almost moved to St. Augustine, and I sometimes wish we had. But instead, I got a job in the medical field, fulfilling a goal of mine, which is what I had been in school for. This was a good thing, for the most part. Also in 2006, my oldest son moved in with his Dad. Which has been another mixed thing; good and bad and sometimes I wish it hadn't happened. He is now with me about 1/3 of the month and his dad 2/3, and it works out quite well.
In 2007, we achieved another one of my major goals, which was to move back to the town I had lived in before my divorce. I loved the schools here and the small-town atmosphere. It was very important for my kids to get back here.
Unfortunately, in 2007 Andrew briefly went to live with his biological mother. That was disastrous and something we wished never happened. I also started this blog in November of 2007.
Shortly after that, I had yet another huge life change. In February of 2008, I had gastric bypass surgery. I lost almost 120 pounds. It was the best decision I have ever made for myself. Emotionally and physically, I have never felt better. It's been almost three years, and I've had no complications. I just bought my first pair of skinny jeans! I'll be doing a big update post about that a little later.
Later in 2008, Andrew came back to live with us, thankfully. He's been in therapy since then because of that brief time with his mother, and hasn't seen her since.
In 2009, I reconnected with a good friend of mine who I've known since high school. She was going through a rough time and she and her daughter moved in with us for a little while. It was so good to renew our friendship and help her out in a tough time. I joked that I had a wife; she cooked and cleaned and watched the kids some nights when John and I were both at work.
She is now married and doing well and we are still in touch.
We also found our wonderful church and became members. Finally, a place where we felt that we fit in and people were there not just for a fashion show, or a gossip fest, or to look good. We are like family there, and we love it.
So that brings us to 2010. We moved in to this home that we love. Elayna turned 9, then Tim turned 17, then Andrew turned 11, and finally Shelbie turned 15. My son started dating his girlfriend, who we love. My husband and daughters were baptized by our preacher and friend. I left my hospital job after many changes, and plan to do something else within the medical field, with less hours and less stress. I have juggled softball, soccer and volleyball and a teenager's social life. My oldest son started his senior year of high school and my oldest daughter started her freshman year of high school (and that threw this mama for a loop!). Andrew's bio-mom just came out of hiding to demand her parental visitation rights, and we're grappling with that. Life is not perfect, but we have wonderful friends, family, and faith, and we will be okay.
It has been a truly amazing decade. That word, "amazing", is so overused, but it fits this past ten years so well. I think I've experienced every emotion possible, and then some. But it's ending on a wonderful note. I am content, happy, and at peace. My heart is so full of love.
I can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring, as my older kids leave the nest, start college, maybe even families (hopefully at the END of the decade!!). But I know that my best friend, my husband, will be at my side, holding my hand, walking through it all with me.
If you made it this far, thank you for going on this journey down memory lane with me. I wish you a wonderful decade to come!