I can't believe it's nearing the end of July! The summer is going so fast and Natalie is getting close to turning 5! I still have updates in my head dating back to May or earlier that I plan to eventually post.
This week, however, I was at work and found myself looking at this 2 year old picture of Natalie (above). It's one of my favorite pictures of her so I've left it up on my desk at work even though it's outdated. Seeing it over the past two years has made me alternately happy and sad. It was taken on the Fourth of July weekend in 2009. The day I took the picture was a happy day and it was at a time when I was starting to feel more positive and confident that our lives would be fine, and that Natalie would be fine, despite her Cerebral Palsy diagnosis. Natalie has had a love for books since a very young age. On the day of this picture I found her during a quiet moment, "reading" her new Backyardigans book. I remember thinking that she looked like such a big kid and feeling so proud of her.
Up until that year, July had, for the most part, been a happy month. As a child, July meant no school and fun summer activities. I got engaged in July of 1997 and was busy planning my wedding in July of 1998. It was in July of 2006 that I was finally pregnant and an ultrasound revealed that both a boy and a girl would be arriving later that year! So, in July 2009, about a week after that picture of Natalie was taken, I was completely unprepared to be told, by the man who I had been with since we were both teenagers and married to for 10 years, that our marriage was over. For a long time after, that beautiful picture of Natalie just made me sad because it reminded me that one minute you can think everything in your life if going just fine, or even better than fine, and a week later everything can totally change. What I realized this week is that I am glad that I never took that picture down. I discovered that I can look at it again and not feel sad anymore. While it does still remind me of changes in life, I know that change, even unexpected and unwanted, can turn into happiness. This year, Natalie and I are having a very happy July and I expect that there will be many more to come.