Well it's that time again.
I told myself I would start this days ago, and just haven't found the time.
But I'm sitting now, because I want to get this done.
In past letters, I have loved revisiting all the things I got to experience that year. The smiles and laughs, the picture worthy moments, the new people and memories we had just made in those 365 days.
But this year, this year was a black hole, in which I don't want to revisit.
I will...because this is tradition, and I will honor the tradition I started among my friends. I do know, that after I post this, only a few days will pass, and I'll be able to read my friends' happy moments from the previous year.
Well this year tested my patience, my faith in whatever, or whoever might be out there, and more than anything, it tested my sanity.
The year started off with me almost losing my marriage. Which...for anyone who knows me, knows how much that means to me. My husband is my best friend, and to hear him say the words "I don't love you anymore" "I'm done" stabbed deeper than any would I had been inflicted over my 30 years of life.
I'd go from mad, angry and no tears, not talking to anyone, to a blubbery, on my knees, begging for another chance, mess. I didn't eat for three weeks, and I didn't want to go anywhere. I've never felt so...empty.
This went on for a few months, until one day, something snapped, and he realized, how much he loved his little girls. The girls...not me. But that was enough for him to stay and want to work on us, and I would take whatever I could get at that point.
My husband suffers from a horrible depression, only his condition is hard to handle, because he doesn't "believe" in mental illnesses. He believes everything is circumstantial. He was depressed and unhappy, therefore, it must be with me.
We had happy days here and there, going to the Muse Concert, taking a day trip to Mt.Hood with Guinevere to play in the snow.
Eventually things started getting better.
It was a waiting game for our tax check to come in the mail, because with that, we were going to get our own apartment with the girls. And I couldn't wait.
I applied at a couple different places, and the first place to say "Yes" was this fine little place we still live in.
We moved in and everything was going good. Vince and I were talking, and open about everything we were thinking. The girls were happy. We live right next to a park, and there is a HUGE grassy area right outside the apartment they can run in.
That's when we got some bad news. Vince was fired. He didn't do anything wrong really. One manager told him one thing, and the other manager claimed Vince was lying, so thanks to Oregon's No Fault policy....he was out of work.
We applied for TANF and Unemployment.
Well...TANF only get's approved if Unemployment does. The story his former employer was telling, was far from the truth, but they must've sounded sincere, because U.I. took their side and denied his claim.
The next 7 months were a blur.
All I remember is stomach aches, worries, crying myself to sleep,night after night, pep talks from everyone. Those that stuck around that is. I had a few friends dip to the back burner, because I had become a real life Eeyore.
Never seeing the light side of things, always dreading the next month, week, day......minute.
I had to put away my pride and ask for help. From friends...which was the hardest.
I called charities every month to get on waiting lists, try to be the 10th caller, on the 5th, be treated like scum because I couldn't provide for my children.
Our bills would be days away from being shut off. No power, no phone, no job searching. No cable, no internet, no job hunting. No Heat. We had the stereotypical Ramen dinner several nights in a row.
Vince found temp jobs here and there, but the temp agency he was working for....wouldn't give him permanent jobs, because well....they had a car payment to make and giving him a permanent position would mean less commission in their pockets.
After the fifth time of him being told by an employer "We want you to come back, we like the way you work, you can have a job here"....and then never hearing from them again, I started looking for work for Vince myself.
Vince started feeling deflated. Like he was less than a man, he couldn't find work, he couldn't provide for his family. No matter what I, or anyone said, didn't make him feel better.
It was the hardest thing I've been through....since the marriage shaker upper.
And just when we thought the last cloud was going to roll over us, we had a breakthrough....
Vince got a job!
It's an amazing job, with amazing benefits and amazing pay. It's....amazing. Although....the mean manager, is being...well...mean, and Vince has to make it two months and he'll be secure, under Union watch, and have someone to back him up! So the next two months will be extremely nerve wracking, but if we made it through all we did this year, the next two months, shouldn't be too hard.
After we found out he got the job, we realized we didn't have rent, and it was due in less than a week. So I did something I've never done before. I swallowed my pride, and put out a public Facebook post asking for anyone to help us get together rent, so we can fight this last fight, and be ok.
So many of our friends stepped up. $20 here, and $100 there, and right before Christmas mind you, we had rent in a matter of days. It was awesome, to know that many people are there for you, and care about your and your well being.
Then the good news kept rolling in...
I had taken Riley to the ER for a fever a few weeks back. The nurse took a liking to us, knowing the situation we were in and randomly one day called me....asked if her and the other nurses in the Pediatric Ward could "Adopt" our family for Christmas. They asked what the girls liked, needed, wanted.
Christmas Eve there was a knock at our door. 4 nurses and 4 men walked in, each carrying a handful of gifts, food, blankets....it was overwhelming....I cried!
They then turned around and went back outside to get the SECOND CAR LOAD.
The girls had an awesome Christmas morning, stockings to dump out, boxes wrapped in paper to tear open, Vince and I even got a few things, Gift cards mainly...but we've been buying things for ourselves with them. We even got to go out to dinner at Shairs, after visiting Peacock Lane the other night.
All in all, we are still strugling financially, we aren't counting our chicken's before they hatch, making sure we take into acount, Vince's job could be gone at any moment. He just has to make it two months. And boy do I hope these two months fly by.
The girls are getting so big, makes me cry to think how fast it goes.
Riley is a little monster with an attitude all her own. She's exploring and learning so fast. She'll sit and have a mini conversation with you. It's mostly in Riley lingo, but we manage to keep up.
She has taken a liking to cooking. If I'm in the kitchen she pushes a chair up to the counter, and asks
"What you makin'?" And she'll want to help with whatever she can.
She got a play kitchen from the awesome staff at Legacy Childrens hospital, so she's been "making" (it's what she calls cooking lol) all kinds of stuff for us to eat! And of course she has Sissy helping by being the waitress lol
And Guin...that kid is one awesome daughter. She's patient, and kind. She gives her last bit of money to people on the streets that need it more than her. She's understanding when things don't go as planned...as they have this last year. She loves writing, and making up stories and little movies with her friends, which I remember doing all the time when I was her age. She wants to learn everything, and soak up all the knowledge she can. She's so artistic. She'll sit and draw new clothes designs, and she's gotten into this Rainbow Loom that's all the rage with the kids. She's a great friend to her friends, and just wants to see everyone happy!
In closing, I can say, although this year was horrid. You learn something from going through something like that.
Our little family that was slowly drifting apart, is stronger than ever. I have back the man I married, with all the light inside him, with the confidence he hid away for so long. The man that says sweet things to me all day, and will just call to say he's thinking about me. He loves the hell out of his girls, and I can't help but smile the biggest smile ever, when I hear them playing, laughing, and giggling. I love seeing his face light up when he comes home from work to a chorus of "DADDY'S HOME" at which point he's tackled with hugs.
We now realize what we had in front of us all along. Support, love, companionship.
On some level I'm thankful for this year. Through the heartache, tears, and stress, came a whole, loving, renewed family unit!
Now lets hope 2014 can bring in way more awesome-ness than 2013 did.