It's important to give these things their place in the spotlight. To honor and remember those we've lost. To show compassion to the hurting. To speak up for what's right, even when people don't like what we have to say.
But I don't want to say goodbye to 2016 on that note because I actually loved the heck out of this year. This is the year my baby boy, M, was born. 2016 is the year my husband and I, and our families, welcomed a fuzzy, wrinkled little baby into our arms. Our hearts stretched as we loved more deeply than we ever knew was possible. We watched him grow chunky and healthy on breastmilk. We delighted in his squeals of laughter and cheered him through each milestone. I've memorized M's smiles and the smiles he's caused in his dad, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This was a year of joy.
This is the year I found out who I really am. In becoming a mom, I've learned I can face confrontation, set boundaries, do whatever it takes to protect my cub. Because 2016 is the year I became Momma Bear. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and joined mom groups. I learned to trust my instincts, question the status quo, and advocate for my child's health and for breastfeeding. I've learned that to be strong means to ask for help when my own strength runs out. To give myself grace, let my husband and family play with M when I need a nap, and rest in my Savior for replenishment.
I've watched my husband grow from a loving husband to a loving dad. I've seen his tears of joy, shared in his frustrations, and counted on his daily sacrifice to provide for our family of three. Our marriage has felt both stronger and weaker than ever as we've tried to navigate our new family dynamic. But in the easy, fun days, and the days we don't even recognize each other, we've still honored our sacred words...I do.
So, God, I pray for the broken world and broken hearts of 2016. But for all the ways you've blessed our family this year, thank you. This year will always be a favorite of mine. Goodbye, 2016. May 2017 be full of joy, peace, and hope for everyone reading this. Amen.
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