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I have thought all day about 2013 and the impact this year has had on me. It has been a year like no other in my 47 years of life. (Yes, I freely admit my age.) It started with me going back to college after an almost 26 year break. I was so nervous and so excited about the possibilities and the challenges ahead. I really thought that was going to be the thing that would be the hardest for this year. Early into the New Year, we found out that we were to be grandparents again and not just once but twice. Jonna and Jean Luc were expecting a second child and then came the announcement from Cody and Paige.  We were happy, excited and a little worried for them because we still can remember what it was like to be a young parent without a lot of resources but we knew that like us they would also make their own way. (We will always be there to help when and where we can just like our own parents and families have done for us.)

John started a new job that he really liked for the first time in many years.  I was able to achieve all “A”’s in my first semester back in college and was looking forward to summer session. The summer started just like every other summer with the exception of me taking classes this year. Summer session was a whole new ballgame for me because all of my classes were online. Whoever said online classes are easier has never taken any. J There is so much more writing and posting as opposed to classroom participation and it is hard to communicate with classmates who just quote the book. What can you really say other than “Yes, I read that too!” L Even with all of that it was going great and it was a waiting game for these precious grandbabies of ours. We knew that we were going to have one new grandson and our first and only granddaughter, so far.

Then on June 12, 2013, a very impatient little boy, Ethan Isaiah Hurley, came into the world and he was perfect.  Another perfect little boy for Jonna & Jean Luc and we were so excited. Miah became a big brother and he was so excited too.  Ethan is an absolute sweetheart and can light up any room no matter how dark.  I adore that little toothless grin and sweet face along with the face of his big brother.

Now we were just waiting to see that little girl and all would be right in our worlds. I discovered once again just 10 short days after one of the best days of 2013 that fife is never what you expect or plan and just how fragile it really can be. What started off without happiness and excitement turned to overwhelming grief and loss so profound that I still have moments that I can’t seem to breathe. On June 21, 2013, Cody and his beautiful Paige became the parents of a beautiful perfect little girl who entered this world silently. We only were blessed with a few hours of holding, touching, singing to her, telling her stories about her daddy and loving her on this earth before they took her one last time. While her stay was so brief it has impacted my heart forever and I am forever changed by her short visit here.  I will love our little angel girl, Payton Elise Carter, to heaven and back ~forever and always! ~

If that was all that had happened this year it would truly have been more than enough but so much more was to come. In August, John and I moved to a new apartment and for the first time in almost 28 years, we are living alone. We either had roommates or children before so it has been an adjustment more for me because I love the chaos of a full house while he prefers the quiet and just us. J  Things seemed to be moving on as it does in life and while you never forget for a moment those who are not with you; you have to move forward even when you do not think you can or that you want to. I think that we were starting to do that when another tragedy struck us our family and more specifically our Cody.  His former girlfriend and the mother of his now five year old son, Jessica was killed in a drunken driving incident; I will never think of it as an accident because drinking and then driving is a choice in my mind. Even though they were not a couple any longer, she was and will always be the mother of his son and she will forever be that the young teenage girl who could eat more than all of the boys in the room and still be a size “0”. So we grieve for “what could have been’s” for her and her family but most of all for Cameron who is without his mommy.  It is ironic that this very day would have been her 24th birthday and she would have most likely have been out celebrating it with family and/or friends. I hope that she still is doing just that tonight in heaven. Cody is now in a custody battle with her mother and we pray that it comes to an end soon into the New Year so that Cammy J can have everyone love and support him and not just a select few. I pray that her family can see that we all need to raise him together and not be a divided front for him.

I write this all mainly for myself, but if you are still reading this then God Bless you as you are truly special for doing so.  J  Now for what I am hoping for in 2014 and forward. (These are my beliefs and I do not force them on anyone else –again it is for me but if you share in those beliefs then I am happy for you.)

In 2014,

1. I want to make sure that God is first and foremost in my life because I believe that without him there is no hope.

2. I want to learn to be a supportive parent without trying to “Fix” everything that I think my children are not doing right. (That is going to be hard for me because I only want the best for all three of them and it is hard to watch them go down roads that you have already traveled without trying to help them avoid the mistakes you made. But I must try.)

3. Stop getting my feelings hurt when they are not appreciative of things that I do. ( I honestly am not sure that I ever told my parents or John’s “Thank you” for all that they have done for us over the years.)

4. Keep working on getting the best grades that I can in school and to graduate this summer.

5. Spend more time with family and friends ~both near and far~ and to let them all know how much they mean to me. No one knows how much time we have with those we love and I plan on telling them how much they mean so that if and when the time comes that they are not here on earth that I will not regret not telling them how I felt about them.

For anyone still reading, I wish you a Happy, Happy, Happy 2014!