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As 2013 draws to a close, everyone is focused on wrapping up the year and setting their sights on 2014.  Goals will be set.  Resolutions will be broken.  Lives will be changed one way or the other.  All of this goes without saying.

This time of year has been difficult for me since 2009.  In fact, it's only been the last year or so that I approached anything resembling "normalcy" when it comes to acknowledging the holidays.  Just when I started to get my sea legs back, I was struck last year at this time with the sudden death of a good friend.  

This year, there is an added wrinkle.  We have spent our Advent season most appropriately, anticipating and preparing not for the arrival of the Christ but for the child or children that UMFS may place with us once we officially open our home on January 13th.  Most of the physical preparations are done.  There are 2 rooms ready (at least generically) for up to 2 children.  The locks and safety equipment have been placed in the right spaces.  I'm using my last week of vacation for  a little more "spring cleaning". Seriously. Where does it all come from?

Then there is the mental preparation. As with the arrival of an infant, we are readying ourselves for the changes that will come once a little person enters our lives once again.  Schedules will need to be altered. We can no longer run to the grocery story or the movies on a spontaneous whim.  Communication and coordination will be key. Roger and I have found ourselves running through "what if?" scenarios and realizing that we can't necessarily commit to things like the family reunion in August or concert dates in May.  We just have no idea what we can expect and we know that the needs of this new little person will take precedence over many of our own desires. At least for a period of time.

I am savoring these moments: reading a book; eating on my own schedule; sneaking a few minutes to play a game on my phone or watch a TV show without interruption; taking in the new exhibit at the VMFA (wonderful, by the way), sleeping in.  I know that opportunities for these simple pleasures will exist but in much more limited quantity soon enough.  I don't take any of it for granted.  

I don't make a lot of resolutions this time of year, but I do like to reflect on the past and think about the future.  In one more year, I cannot even begin to imagine where our lives will be and what we will be doing as a family.  I do know this: everything I do as a parent; every choice that I make; every joy that we share and every tear that we cry will continue to honor the memory of sweet Charlotte.  That is one certain promise I can keep. 

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