Dear 2016…

You sick son of a bitch.

Not only did you claim the coolest celebrities like David Bowie and Prince, but you also turned the United States of America into a trashy reality television show.

You challenged me in ways I never thought possible. You changed my life’s narrative. The dreams I had for this year all took sharp left turns, and am left with lessons and stories to look back on to laugh and cry about.

2015 ended with me newly pregnant and a retired father on the verge of 69. I was elated my parents would be able to enjoy their new grandchild in the new year any day of the week. But 2016 laughed in my face and my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Once she healed from her hysterectomy, she was slated to start chemo a little over a month after that – June 13th.  She’d be smack in the middle of chemo around the time my baby was due, August 1st, and wanted more than anything for my mother to be able to hold my newborn. We were really unsure what her status would be at that point.  Her “last hurrah” so-to-speak was my baby shower on June 11th. She was no longer able to plan it, and was unsure if she would be up to even attend. But she did, and I was thrilled.

In a surprising turn of events, in the early morning hours of June 12th, my water broke and I gave birth to Sloane seven weeks early. You sneaky bastard, 2016. At least mom was able to get in some time with her new granddaughter before starting treatment!

Sloane spent 10 days in the NICU, and mom was not only able to see her the day she was born, but was well enough the next day after chemo to make another visit. Unfortunately that turned out to be the last day she got to see her for about two months. She had a bad reaction to her second day of treatment and became severely dehydrated and almost went into kidney failure. I was in the NICU with Sloane when my dad texted to tell me that mommy was in the hospital.

And there I was in the NICU with my newborn while my mom was in another hospital a few miles away. All I wanted was my mommy, but this was the first time I was a mommy, and my baby needed me. I learned only days into motherhood what my priority was, and my mom was understanding that I didn’t come see her in the hospital, she echoed my sentiments that Sloane is my priority. I called her everyday, though, crying, and giving updates on Sloane and getting updates on her.

As much as I’d like to give the middle finger to 2016, I’d also like to say “thank you.” Thank you for throwing me these situations. While I would have preferred they didn’t overlap, I’m grateful to have walked away from this year knowing my strength.

With that said, I leave you with Christina Aguilera’s Fighter:

 

 

 

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