I don't know about all of you, but I am SO BEYOND EXCITED FOR THE NEW YEAR. This is going to be my year, I can already tell. Happy 2012 to everyone.
There is so much to be thankful for from 2011, most importantly Harper who has re-shaped my entire existence and reminded me what is most important in life. She is turning into such a little person, and growing by the second. She is now full blown mobile and crawling at rapid speed, and is able to pull herself up into the standing position on all furniture pieces. Her interest is kept for longer periods of time (during TV, reading time, with certain toys, etc) and she constantly repeats Mamamamamama. Her laugh is so contagious and I am amazed at the joy she brings to so many lives. Random strangers in public come up to me constantly to talk to her, touch her, and just simply be around her. She is magnificent and by far the best part of 2011. I am proud and humbled to be her Daddy.
I am also beyond thankful for my family---and if you are reading this than it also includes you. As I look back over 2011, I had so many joyous times with most of you and was able to reconnect with family I hadn't seen in awhile (Florida Family, Chicago Family) and make new deep connections as well (Roseville family). We headed out for my friend Ean's 35th Birthday last night and I couldn't help but smile all night looking around at the amazing circle of people that I have around me- people who genuinely care about their friends and want what's best for them. Tonight I rang in the new year with my bestie Shannon and on Monday I get the keys to a new duplex just two cul-de-sac's down from her house and closer to Harper's grandparents, which will be nice and easier for everyone. For the first time I can remember, I can confidently say BRING ON THE RAIN. BRING ON THE CHANGE. I am SO READY FOR YOU. I have a renewed focus and am ready to barrel forward.
One person I want to say I am so thankful for is my big sister Crystal. I don't mention her often, but she has been a beacon of light for me through the journey of 2011, all while battling her own journey through fighting stage 4 ovarian cancer, a divorce, and raising two small children. Her determination to look every day in the eyes, fight full head on, and quit trying to make everyone else comfortable and put herself in the driver's seat has given me the ammunition to try and emulate the same for my life. I know it is normal to look up to your older siblings, but Crystal gives that new meaning for me. I want to be like her when I grow up.
And another person I am so thankful for is Kim O'Brien-my mother in law- who has fought tooth and nail to keep control of the shaky ground that seemed to be under me and those that I love this year and somehow found a way every time to stabilize us all and keep us moving forward. If you are reading this, you are gifted so much more than you know and I am thankful for you every single day. Thank you for not giving up on me.
If you haven't done so, give each person you love an extra squeeze today when you see them. Pick up the phone and tell a friend or family member you haven't talked to that you love and miss them, and if you are holding onto any grudges, pain, resentment, hurt, or sadness my prayer for you is to start getting over it today and just move forward. Life is too short. It's 1/1/2012 for goodness sake and time is flying.
May God bless each of you. I love you very much. Happy 2012. -AJ