The title of this post is the best way I could sum up my feelings about the last 5 months of 2011 as so much has happened. Further, I find myself several times throughout the day wondering if I really experienced the last 5 months or if I am dreaming. It is quite surreal to say the least. It is not until I stop and remind myself that we brought another person into our family that I realize the magnitude of the events that we have experienced and considered their impact on all of us in a myriad of ways. To my best ability things seemed to enter this "blur" mode when we took Gracie to Silverwood for a reward as part of her reading program in the previous school year. It was that very day (I remember Amy telling me we got TA as Gracie and I played in the water park) that things went into warp speed.
From that moment on, it has been a deluge of emotions, challenges, successes, failures, and milestones. As I live these events I've needed to constantly remind myself to live in the moment and stop waiting for things to feel "normal" again. But then a few hours go by and I fail to do this resulting in a variety of unwanted outcomes. I'll spare the details but simply say that I'm thankful for grace being given to me by God, my wife, Gracie, Gemma, and other friends and family. I've posted about wanting "do overs" previously and I still have those moments. Although I don't subscribe to "New Year Resolutions," I have used the ringing in of 2012 (gasp) to refocus as much as I can and continually remind myself of perspective and taking things one day at a time, as opposed to waiting for normal.
As we kick off 2012, I wanted to highlight a few things that have impacted us since the latest chapter began last August.
- Despite Gemma being diagnosed in China as "Developmentally Delayed," we continue to be pleasantly surprised at how alert, bright, and animated she is. The more comfortable she becomes with us the more her personality comes out! (understatement) It is exponentially different/better than I anticipated on August 15 for sure!
- Not only has big sisterhood been more challenging than Gracie anticipated, but it's been equally challenging to Amy and me as well. (Gracie is a wonderful big sister, it's just harder than she could have ever envisioned!)
- In relation to the sisterhood point, I'm amazed at how rapidly Gracie and Gemma truly behave as sisters, both good and bad. They are competitive with each other and you would think they have been together for years seeing how they interact.
- I am amazed at how much more work it is (physically and emotionally) to have 2 children as opposed to one. It's definitely more than 2X the work! (and more than 2X the love) People with more than 2 children truly have my admiration. It's wonderful to see how everyone has different feelings and preferences in this are.
- Speaking of amazement, I am still in awe at how Gemma adapts and fits right in with our family! She is such a brave girl!
I can't end this post without writing about how inspired and moved I am by my wife Amy's heart for adoption, motherhood, and her faith. I am continually amazed at her devotion and compassion in these endeavors. I'm amazingly blessed to have her as my wife.
As we face 2012 head on, ready or not, I will continue to emphasize and focus on not "waiting for normal."