Wow! Really? Already? The end of 2015 is here and what have I done?

The year really flew by! I remember January 2015 like it was yesterday!

As a family, we did have a pretty good year. I started my graduate program and got a promotion at work, my kids were thriving in school and my husband’s job was going pretty good.

Then in April, my husband got laid off. That wasn’t on our radar at all. We knew the project was ending, but not that the lay-off would be part of the end!

So, we adjusted. We suddenly had instant after-school care, a parent to do the cooking and have dinner ready by 6, well, at least in a perfect world!

And then summer came. My husband was our childcare, which saved us hundreds in summer school programs. It was a summer of dreams for my boys! Sleeping late, playing all day with the neighbor kids, playing outside until the streetlights came on. It was a summer spent just like many of mine growing up in the Midwest. 

In the middle of our summer, my husband’s parents took a leap of faith and lived out one of their dreams: Living in Hawaii! As exciting as it is to know you have a bedroom waiting for you in paradise, it’s pretty sad to realize that the grandparents are not going to be at our school events and holidays. My kids seemed to adjust swiftly to the idea that spending summers in Hawaii is the only way of life from now on, and I kind of hope we all get those summers!

And luckily, a job offer for my husband arrived just as school was starting! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

I didn’t return to my graduate program, because, well, the layoff prevented that from being a viable financial choice, but not to worry! I’ll start again!

School for my eldest has been an adjustment. Middle School. 6th grade everything is hard. How I survived 6th grade is an entire mystery, but I know I did, because I  passed into 7th grade. The school work my son brings home, if any is remembered, is a ton! But, here we are crossing into puberty with all the emotions and instant mood swings and drama that comes from 11 year old boys who are overwhelmed. 

As I look back at the entire 12 months that have nearly passed, I’m amazed at what we survived: a 5 month lay-off, crazy sport and home work schedules, grand-parents living the dream in Hawaii, a new work schedule for my husband. And it’s not bad, I know other families are facing far worse events.

I look around and am in awe of what we have and who we have in our lives. Many friends whom we call family happily step up for helping us transport kids for sports, sleepovers, pick-ups and drop-offs. Family who reach out to us from across the nation, from Hawaii all the way to Maryland. I realize that although we are thousands and thousands of miles from one another, with just one phone call we are home.

My wish for this New Year in 2016 is to have more joy with family and friends. More like 2015, where we just helped each other and stayed the course, and didn’t give up.

Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!