In two days, you will be gone. Never to grace us with your presence again. While some of your characteristics I have no problem leaving behind, there are many that I feel prompted to express my gratitude for.
You have taught me a truckload of life lessons. Patience with my husband as we worked together on his battle with depression. An almost fairy tale story as we chose to fall in love with each other again and unified to conquer our next season of life together.
Humbleness as I fell on my knees, begging God for help with the overwhelming emotions our youngest son was constantly experiencing. Irony as "experts" guided and directed him, helping him to at last relax and understand his emotions. I see him experience more joy in each day. His hugs and "I love you, mom." make every battle, every book, every tear, and every appointment we had feel worth it.
Assurance as my oldest son mastered the one skill that would make his journey through life easier. Confidence as all the research I had done became personal experience as I saw him jump from a 1st grade reading level to a fifth grade reading level in 6 months.
You revealed to me that I am strong enough to change, to set aside excuses, and to actually complete the tasks I prioritize. I have struggled with being overweight for as long as I can remember. There was always an argument going on in my head. All the time. One side would say that everyone is beautiful, no matter what their size. What is on the inside is what counts. If I lost weight, I would be a hypocrite. I'm too old, too big, too broken to even try. The other half of my brain would come back with how much better I would feel. How wonderful it would be to fit into smaller clothes. The lasting health benefits that come with being a healthier weight. I could still be a good person, even if I weighed less. This constant bickering had been set on repeat for so long that it had become the script for every choice I made. Choice after choice was made, and this script then became my life.
Yet, 2016, you flipped a switch in my brain. Progress has been slow, but steady. The argument is only a quiet background noise because you brought information, motivation, and inspiration into my life. The script has changed. I am healthier now than I have ever been.
So, pushing is something that is frowned upon in my family. I ask my children not to emotionally push me to make a choice and I will scold them when they physically push each other. 2016, you pushed me. I can't tell you how many times this year I have had to talk myself out of having a panic attack, how often I have had to pull out the scientific dialog on the flight, fight, or freeze response and how there was no bear, no oncoming train, no real danger that I was facing. Rejection and embarrassment are not fatal. I have been stretched, felt uncomfortable, and set aside my desire to live in a constant bubble of peace. To try. To simply put myself, my imperfect but willing self, out there. I can look back and see how each experience is woven to another. These experiences are creating a beautiful design and it takes my breath away when I consider all that you have done for me, 2016.
When a pebble is tossed into a calm pond, it creates ripples that reach far beyond the actual size of the pebble. The ripples could not have been created without the pebble experiencing the frightening toss in the air, or without the pebble accepting that it must be submerged in water. Drowning, swallowed up, without any assurance that it will all work out for good. You, 2016, were my pebble and my life is the pond. You may seem small, but you have had a big impact on the pond.
I'm praying that your successor will continue on with the ripples you have set in motion. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all you have done and I bid thee farewell.