What a year it's been. Wow. My Notie Kari said this would be my year - I hoped she was right, but I doubted her. Sometimes it seemed like too much to hope for, the idea that all my hopes and wishes would come to fruition. But she was right. 2012 was my year. My best so far.
It started off with me in a funk. I was sad and depressed - there'd been no proposal from Jimi at Christmas, and I wasn't pregnant. I didn't see either scenario changing any time in the near future, and I sank into a quagmire of feeling sorry for myself. My body was broken and my sweetheart wasn't in any hurry to make me his wife. Woe was me.
Winter wasn't all bad, though. Stacy had a baby in January, and watching her grow has been amazing. We babysat her when she was just over six months old and starting to move around, and in a true dumbass moment, we left her alone on our bed - and she rolled off of it onto the floor. *facepalm* She survived without damage, though. Thank goodness. A few weeks ago, I got to be the first to hold her one Saturday morning, and she wrapped her little arms around my neck and hugged me so tight - my heart melted all over the floor. If it felt that amazing to get that love from my niece, I can't imagine how it'll feel to get the same from my own child.
In February, I spent a weekend in Nashville with Kim, Tracey, and Angela. It was the first time I've done a girls' weekend, and it was a total blast.
I don't know exactly when my mood started to lift, but when I look back on the year, it feels like the sun came up at my birthday. Jimi knocked it out of the park - a great gift (Kindle Fire) that was completely unexpected, and a surprise overnight trip to Indianapolis to stay at a swanky adults-only hotel specifically designed with lovin' in mind. (Sybaris - if there's one near you, GO! I can't encourage it enough. It's amazing.) It was only one night, but it's amazing what one full night of concentrating on nothing but your partner can do for a relationship - it felt like we reconnected. I think my mind reset itself, and remembered to focus on the awesome that we have together every day, rather than the idea of how I'd come to believe it had to be in order for complete happiness to exist. I felt the stress fall away, the pressure fade, and I fell in love all over.
During the winter and spring, I attended boot camp classes, the last round with Melinda, and as I saw my body changing, I started to gain some self-confidence. If I couldn't get pregnant, I could at least get a rockin' hot body. I was becoming comfortable in my own skin, moreso than I'd ever been in my life, and I felt good. I felt strong.
In May, we went to the Kentucky Derby with my Daddy, and I cashed my first-ever winning ticket. I was saddened by the state of my Daddy's health - I hadn't realized before then how hard it is for him to breathe well - but we had a good day and I enjoyed it very much.
At the beginning of June, we went on our first (of two) canoe outing of the year - a six-mile float down the Elkhorn River. I'd sworn the previous year I'd never canoe the Elkhorn again, and I should've followed my first impression - the water level was terribly low and we probably carried our boat 3 miles out of the six. It was a long, exhausting day, but I was strong from boot camp and felt like a badass hauling that boat around the rocky dry river.
Days after our canoe trip, I got the shock of a lifetime. The night before I expected my usually-regular period to arrive, I put my hand on my lower belly and thought about how much I would love to find out I was pregnant, and I felt something. It wasn't a physical movement or anything, but more like a mini-explosion inside the spot where my hand lay. I don't know how to describe it. If you could imagine the way it'd feel to be touched with a magic wand, maybe that's what it'd be like. I fell asleep thinking maybe this month would be it, but I didn't dare allow myself to get hopeful. When I woke the next morning, Jimi was in the shower downstairs. I couldn't resist - I took one of the pregnancy tests I kept on hand out of the bathroom closet and went to the upstairs bathroom to do my monthly pee-on-a-stick routine, not expecting results to be any different than they'd been each month for the previous year. When that second faint line showed up, I couldn't believe it. No Fucking Way! I kept staring at it, waiting for my vision to clear and my eyes to right themselves and show me that my wishful thinking was causing me to imagine things, but that second line stayed. My stomach turning and heart racing, I made my way to the downstairs bathroom, where Jimi was still in the shower. "Baby?" I said as I opened the shower curtain and held out the stick, "I think maybe I'm pregnant." He wiped the water out of his eyes to look at what I was showing him. I think we were both afraid to get too excited - we'd been through this before and it had ended in heartbreak. But this was different. This time wasn't that time. I'm sitting here typing this with aching wrists and numb fingers caused by pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel, occasionally patting or rubbing my swollen belly where I'm growing our baby girl, and I'm reminded just how very different things are this time.
The next few months passed in blur - I spent longer than I should have terrified of miscarriage, so I stopped working out (I didn't want to take any chances, and sitting on my ass seemed like the best way to not shake her lose from my womb) and tried my best to make the right choices for the child I was desperately hoping to carry to term. I thought of our baby as a conditional maybe, not a sure thing. That mind set started to shift once we saw her heartbeat on ultrasound at 9 weeks, July 19, 2012. She already had arms and legs, and Jimi swears she did the cabbage patch while on camera. At 18 weeks, in the middle of September, we saw her profile, her heart and brain, and learned, to my surprise, that she's a girl. Getting a clean bill of health that day, and learning that all of her pieces and parts were accounted for and working properly gave me permission to stop thinking of her arrival as a possibility and instead start focusing on the fact that I'm finally going to be a Mom, and I'm still blown away by the fact of it.
My pregnancy has been a dream. I had no morning sickness, and until the last few weeks, I hadn't experienced any negative side effects at all. I had a few weeks early on where I was an emotional wreck at work - I spent some time each day out in our parking lot, crying amongst the trailers - but after that passed, my disposition mellowed and I've been happy and content. Jimi even joked with his sister once that I've been so happy and pleasant since becoming pregnant, maybe he'd just have to keep me knocked up all the time. It's the relief, though, that's made my mood better. I'm not broken. My body works the way it's supposed to - I can get pregnant and make a person! The weight of not knowing that fact was so heavy, it tainted every part of my personality, and altered my normally-cheerful disposition so subtlely, yet so completely, it was like night and day when the weight was finally gone.
Finding out we're expecting was the only the first of two awesome, life-changing events that happened in 2012, though. Knowing we were about to become parents, of course the topic of marriage came up again. One night in August, I asked Jimi about his intentions - "I thought you said you wanted to wait until after the baby?" he replied. "You obviously misheard me, then. I want to get married before this baby comes - I want us to all have the same name. It's very important to me." We set a date, made some quick plans, ordered some custom bands, and in the middle of September headed off to a cabin in the woods of Gatlinburg, TN for a week of rest and relaxation - and got married on our first full day of vacation. We were married by a preacher, in a gazebo in his backyard, at his house in the mountains, with our dog at our side, and raindrops falling at a steady pace all around us. Finn desperately wanted to check out the woods and strained at his lead the entire time; his back end is all you see of him in the few pictures the preacher took with the camera we borrowed from Stacy. Our vows were not traditional, but covered all of the bases, and we were given a copy and told to re-read them to each other each year on our anniversary, so that we don't forget the promises we've made to one another. The rest of our vacation/honeymoon was terribly relaxing and exactly what we needed. We spent lots of time in the hot tub, enjoying the contrast of the warm water and the cold raindrops. We shopped at the outlet malls and spent a full day driving in the mountains, exclaiming over and over again at the breathtaking views. We shared an apple dumpling on the main drag in town, and explored the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. We visited Alewine Pottery, where Jimi bought me a cookie jar, and stopped in Berea, KY on our way home, where I bought him a thumb piano; these were our wedding gifts to each other.
What more is there? There's plenty more, really. I've forgotten most of it, or it passed in a blur and I didn't take the time to notice it when it happened. 2012 will always be a year I remember with a smile. All my dreams have come true. I'm married to the man I love, and we've made a baby together. After that, there wasn't much left for the year to accomplish.