2013 slowly rolled in for us. In January, Derek started out the year in a wheelchair as he recovered from surgery to repair his torn ACL. The first week of January found Emma with a “new” Goetzen trumpet. Talk about an awesome Craig’s List purchase. Hopefully we’ll be able to buy a Bach Strad for her this summer.
February was very, very quiet. I believe there was probably soccer. Yes, there was soccer. We were all talking about the impending furlough. Emma met Christian Lopez and Michael Silver. Oh, there were jazz festivals too.
March brought the very first birthday party Emma has ever had. Does that make me a bad mommy? I don’t think so. She had a great time with her friends at Adventure Park USA in Frederick. I’m pretty sure that made up for the previous 12 years of no birthday parties. March also brought a huge promotion for me. I never, ever, ever (not even in my wildest dreams) thought I’d be where I am in my career. Who’d have thunk it?? Not I. March also brought a big snowstorm with it. I also recall that the pump in our well died (again... perhaps number 3 will be lucky??).
I turned 44 in April. WOOHOO! I’m sure many of my coworkers remember this month particularly well, since 95 of them lost their jobs on April 3rd. I bought my first used MacBook in April (which has died twice since then). And soccer. More soccer (did I mention soccer).
May started out innocently enough. Emma was still playing soccer, I brought Derek home for the summer after his first year of college, I went to Teri Biebel’s book reading, Frank bought a new car, and then my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her mastectomy was on May 31, a day I will remember for the rest of my life.
June brought the wonderful addition of my nieces to our home. When I was with my parents during my mother’s recovery, I saw how horrific the situation with my youngest brother, his wife, and their children was . They had always been hoarders, they had always had mental health issues, but what they added to that terrible mix was drug addiction. Fortunately they were open to letting us take the girls while they “got themselves together”. Terri’s mother took the baby before we were able to. She said she couldn’t leave her in that mess. The next day, we took Nora and Lilly. The girls loved getting baths, having clean clothes to wear, sleeping in a clean bed, and eating as a family (hell, just eating at all). Lilly stayed with my other brother and his wife at first, and then came to stay with us. I cannot help but to cry everytime I think about them. I love them so much, it hurts my heart. Their mom seemed to be doing good at the VA Hospital in Florida, admitting to me their use of drugs and alcoholism. Unfortunately, she only spent a week (maybe nine days) in the hospital before she was released. Of course, she immediately forgot about how they treated their children and started to act like her old self.
Our time in June and July was spent with these beautiful girls. They had to learn that mommies and daddies don’t hit each other (or them). They were shocked to see Frank and I hold hands or give each other hugs and kisses. Both girls enjoyed going to swim team practice with Emma. Derek also spent a lot of time with Nora and Lilly, and developed quite a bond with them. Nora went from not even looking at Derek to climbing onto his lap to watch cartoons.
We had a great CPS investigator here in West Virginia; however, the Investigator from Maryland (who was the case agent) was young and inexperienced. She told us to file for protective custody in West Virginia, which was the wrong thing to do. Ultimately, on July 23rd, we had to give the girls back to their parents. They are in Florida and I hope they are safe, although given the repeated history of hoarding, drug use, and alcoholism I’m not sure they are.
Enough of that (because it is on my mind every day). In July, Emma saw her favorite band, One Direction, at Hershey Park. Talk about euphoria!!! I think she floated back to the van after the concert. Frank and I celebrated 21 years of marriage on July 25th. What a wonderful man he is, not just because he “let me” bring my nieces into our home but because he loved them so much. July also saw Emma at her first high school band camp. The anxiety driven melt-down she had the morning of the first day was one of dynamic proportions. Eventually, we were able to calm her down and get her dropped off. Derek was an instructor at band camp, so both of our children were there at the same time.
August, September, and October were filled with Marching Band, trumpet lessons, and getting Emma aclimated to high school. We made it out to Morgantown to watch a WVU football game. Actually, we went to watch the marching band since Derek is a member of the Pride. This year, he marched with a trombone instead of a sousaphone. I guess the weight of the sousa was probably a bit much for his still recovering knee.
November and December were filled with more band and lots of swim team practice. Derek came home for Thanksgiving and Christmas break.
It’s been such a fast-paced year. I hate that my mom lost a breast to cancer, but I’m amazed and thankful that she recovered with such strength and grace. I hate that we lost our nieces to their parents, but I wouldn’t trade the time they spent with us for anything. I hope that they remember their summer of “normal”, even if it’s only slivers of memories that pop-up in their mind every once-in-a-while. I’ve also realized how little Derek was physically present in our lives, save for the summer and breaks. I hope he knows that he is always in my thoughts and in my heart (of course, it would help if he called, or texted, or emailed, or SOMETHING).