After I wrote my last post, I realize that I basically made it sound like our success was a one woman show...which I can assure you, it was NOT!
Sure, it was my determination and hard work that got us through, but without some pretty amazing people by my side, I'm pretty sure I would've fallen flat on my face MANY times. In fact, maybe it was MORE because of those amazing people that we didn't become what "they" said we would?!
So...let's recognize some of these amazing people, shall we?
First up...my mom and dad. I mean, let's all be honest here...without them? I'd've been living in a box under a bridge. ;) Honestly though, their support was extraordinary. Allowing me and Pal to live at home every summer during college, helping to watch the little monster (yes, yes he was a little monster at around 2...just ask my dad!), getting him to go potty on the potty chair when I had tried and tried all DANG day to get him to go, coming to my college apartment to help with childcare so I could get to class...I am one lucky lady to have such incredible parents.
Next...my grandmas and grandpa. I'll never forget when my grandpa took me out for lunch shortly after my pregnancy became "public" news. (I'll also never forget how much I came to dread "lunch" dates with anyone around that time...it always meant "a talk" was about to ensue...) He and I talked about my plans and he brought up adoption...which I quickly shot down. In true grandpa style, he and I walked out to his car and he retrieved a "what to expect" journal from his trunk. Not long ago he said, something along the lines of, "boy, am I glad you didn't listen to me!"...he and Pal share an incredible bond.
And then there's my Gram. She's been my rock from day one. My sounding board, the one I turn to often for advice. She and grandpa would sometimes come to St. Ben's to help watch Pal...and Gram would usually get supper started for us while she was there! Again...so, so blessed to have them by our side.
We can't forget my brothers...they've been my biggest behind the scenes cheerleaders. And my two little bros were built in (much to their dismay, I'm sure) babysitters for those summers we spent at home. Now, they're like Pal's big brothers...only they can get away with the stuff they do/say to him!
I am one of the "rare" breed of people that have a larger group of high school friends than college friends and guys? Those high school friends? They are the best friends a girl could ever ask for. Most of them I've actually known since kindergarten and they stuck right by my side. Never once left me and supported us from day one.
Dr. J is one of those amazing high school friends. She and I share a special bond and our friendship has withstood the ultimate test of time and life. We now get to raise our families nearby one another and the times we spend together are priceless. I'm so blessed to have her in my life! Love that girl.
Then, there's my bestie. My college roommate...my amazing Tara, who is more like a sister to me. She, who I TRULY believe is a HUGE reason for my success, was the daily constant in Pal and I's college life. Tara and I lived not as roommates, but as family, and I fully believe that that decision we made together was one of the best ones of my life. That if we HAD to live together with our babies, that we would make the most of it and live as a family would. Without her, I'm not sure that I would've been able to do those early morning nursing clinicals. Without her, I'm not sure I would've stayed sane with only a baby to keep me company at night. But with her? With her we made an unbelievable team! Love you, Tara!
All of this leads me to my incredible, amazing, wonderful husband who made an incredibly selfless decision when he chose to marry "us". Often times, we'll run into an old family friend of his who gets a very puzzled look when we say our oldest is about to graduate from high school. It's at that point that I usually quip, "I was a package deal...Mr. W. got a two for one when he married me!". I am beyond grateful that this amazing man chose us as his. That he put aside "ideals" and committed to both the Pal and I. He is my everything. The man that showed me what life can REALLY be like. The one who challenges me to be a better version of myself and the one that helped me raise Pal to become the incredible young man that he is today. (And, let's all be honest here...we're all glad that the creepy mustache is a thing of the past!)
(Also, in the interest of full disclosure, Pal's dad did a dang good job too. For the situation we were in, I feel like we made the best of it and came out the other side as a "success" story!)
THESE people are the reason we are where we are today. The reason that we didn't become a "statistic". God had blessed my life beyond my wildest dreams!!