I seem to recall thinking that 2014 was going to be a good year. Last year was a financially frustrating year for our family, punctuated by a miscarriage. I banged out this sanctimonious blog about how our luck was going to change, and how I was going to resolve to make 2014 a glorious year. Then I kept on doing the same things I did in 2013 and expected something to change.
Not 15 days into the new year, I lost my cousin. Then a couple months later, my high school boyfriend and first love passed away. And now, a second miscarriage. I know there’s nothing I did to make these things happen. But they did, because life can be incredibly unfair. It is for my Auntie Claudia, who lost her son. It is for my high school boyfriend’s family, who lost their brother. It is for my mom and dad, who lost three babies after me. And it would be easy for me to say that it is for me and Alex, who so looked forward to giving Lucas a little brother or sister.
But then I had a thought. Very few good things that have happened in my life have been the result of luck. One was Alex. It was pure dumb luck that I met my future husband and father of my child in Las Vegas. The second was Lucas. It was pure dumb luck that we made this baby about five seconds after we decided to have children, and that he turned out to be such a beautiful, bright, happy boy. For those two lucky things, the two most important things, I am and will always be grateful. For everything else, I have had to work and work hard. So why did I think that I could rely on luck to make 2014 a good year?
I know this: it would be very easy for me to shrug and chalk this year up to another shitty year. There are so many moments when I want to just give up. But then I remember how I harped on the word “resolve” when I talked about making 2014 a good year, and I realize there is no such thing as luck—good or bad. There’s what life gives to you and what you make of it. So what has life given me? A wonderful husband and a gorgeous son. A loving family and a small but precious set of amazing friends. I already have those things, the things that so many other people would kill for.
So what should I make of it? I should step back and appreciate these gifts. When Lucas remembers the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline,” belting out “So good! So good! So good!”, I should take that nugget and burrow it into my heart. When he looks at me with his lash-covered almond eyes and cracks open his wide grin, I should let that image burn its way into my brain. When Alex queues up an episode of Dr. Who and laughs in all the same places I laugh, and his laugh makes me laugh harder, and his smile still gives me the butterflies, the beautiful kind, then I should savor it and let that warmth spread into my belly and remember it 40 years from now when we’re sitting on our front porch yelling at the neighborhood kids for stepping on our lawn.
And when it seems like the universe is piling it on, I shouldn’t let the weight of these events accumulate and bury me. I can’t think about the “what ifs” or “could haves.” I can just wake up today and breathe in and out. Today is the only day there is. It might not be a great day, but I can make the most out of it by taking a good look around and realizing just how fortunate I am.
I don’t know if 2014 is going to be a good year or not. I can’t think in those terms anymore. I can just do my best to make today a day worth living for. And then I’ll wake up tomorrow and breathe again.