2013 started with so much promise and it certainly didn't turn out quite how we'd hoped. We went into the year looking forward to welcoming our little girl and while we added to our family, we lost so many of those close to us. No one should have to go through a year like this, losing eight loved ones between January and August, with three occurring in one weekend (two on the same day). The stress levels have been through the roof and the grief has been unlike anything we've ever experienced.
While Andy and I shared the burden with four losses each, it's the children who suffer the most and they don't even realize it yet. They lost both of their great-grandpas (one before Izzie was even born), several cousins, a great-great uncle, a great-great aunt, and a family friend. Only two of the many that we lost this year even got to meet Izzie in person, and thankfully, Andy's grandpa was one of them. He was Andy's mom's dad, so it was heartwarming to hear him tell all the nurses that Brady Charles was named for him (his first names was Charles) and Isabella Betsy was named for his late daughter, Betsy. He loved that she had red hair, too. We knew that we were walking a thin line with so many older relatives, but I don't think we could've ever imagined losing so many so quickly. This was what we were terrified of when we left for Europe and are so grateful we were back stateside before this all happened.
We are more than ready to have 2013 in the rear-view mirror and it almost doesn't seem fair to Izzie to be overshadowed by so much sadness and everyone saying it was one of the worst years we've had. Our kids continue to bring so much joy to our lives and they're the ones we cling to in times of grief. Izzie had so many firsts this year and hopefully in the end, that's what will matter when we look back, so here are all the things that happened for us in 2013.
January - Brady went to the dentist for the first time, we visited the Detroit auto show
February - Brady turned 3 and we celebrated with his first ever birthday party with the theme of Pixar's Up, we finished painting and decorating Izzie B's nursery
March - Nikki turned 27, Izzie B was born making Brady a big brother and expanding our family to four members, Izzie B's first Easter
April - Brady started soccer, Izzie's first trip to Pittsburgh
May - Nikki and Andy celebrated their 4th wedding anniversary, Andy turned 30 on Mother's Day
June - Izzie B was baptized, Brady spent a week in Pittsburgh with his Nana and Dubby all by himself, the kids attended both their first funeral and first wedding
July - family vacation to Virginia Beach, Izzie began sitting up by herself
August - Izzie started crawling
September - Brady started preschool, we went to two Pitt games, Izzie started eating solid foods
October - Brady and Izzie were owls for Halloween
November - Izzie started pulling up and cruising around furniture, Izzie got her first two teeth, we hosted our second annual Thanksgiving in Detroit
December - Izzie started walking, Izzie B's first Christmas, we traveled to NYC to visit Nikki and the kids' Oma, the kids visited Manhattan for the first time.
What we have to look forward to in 2014:
Celebrating Brady's 4th birthday and Izzie B's 1st birthday
Nikki & Andy will celebrate 5 years married
A trip to California for Nikki's brother, Chris's, college graduation, which will include a trip down the coast to Disneyland, Legoland, and San Diego
Virginia Beach family vacation
Nikki's 10 year high school reunion
Thinking about baby #3