What a difference a year (+ 4 weeks) makes

June 15, 2003…
I stared death in the eye and duly told it to eat a dick and decided to continue living my life. Many people know this story and most of its elements but what people usually don't know is that on the 21st of that same month - the following weekend, I intended to be in attendance at a job fair in Atlanta.
Coinciding with that job fair, I would have been in school 2 more weeks in a technical school then completing some testing, then relocating for the job I'd hoped to be securing. Needless to say, 16 days short of my 24th birthday, I was on the road to fixing the credit I had so happily messed up and finally making my granddaddy proud. Well, with a hospital room full of people I (and my mother, apparently) didn’t quite know loved me as well as they showed up to display, my plans had been severely derailed. With that in mind, I spent SEVERAL years angry with myself over what the accident had apparently done to my plans.
Then 2008 happened...
My job allows me to request all the time I will need over the course of a year at the outset, so very early in the year, I took the end of September off so my mother(s) and I could visit Charleston, SC. As the time approached, money was funny and I was the only one “ready” to go at the time, so we sat it out, and I enjoyed a 4-day weekend at home instead. While at home on the last day of my time off, I happened upon someone while online killing time. Conversation took place (and she apparently read my blogs to make sure I wasn’t an old creep) back and forth through the next, then we exchanged credentials and continued conversation and within reasonable time were planning a first date.
A hair over one year later, I closed on a house and we were living together. 8 months after that, we were engaged. A year and two weeks after THAT, we would receive surprise notice that there was (critically soon) to be a third member of our household. Given that we'd initially planned a marriage date coinciding with the day we met, the baby delayed things a minute.

            With time spent back at the drawing board, we decided that we would plan the wedding but not let it take her away from finishing school on time, despite the baby on July 15th and another surgery about 3 months later. In spite of both, she remained on schedule to graduate in June 2012.
Spring 2012 was kind of big in my family, first she joined the church that I grew up in with no pressure from anyone in my family or the church at all. Heck, I was not even in attendance the day she did it. Mother’s day, she was baptized as she had never been before. June 5th was her birthday, and later that week on June 8th, she graduated – which fulfilled a promise I made when we met that I would not be the one to stand in between her and finishing school.
On June 23rd – a date we chose specifically because it was the exact date that we found out about Ava – we were married in front of about 75 of our friends and family members, and proceeded to party that weekend away, pausing only to have the baby baptized the following morning.

            And here we are; July 15, 2012… One year ago, I encountered the one thing that I can honestly say caused me what might be categorized as legitimate fear – even more than waking up 5 days into a 16-day hospital visit or even the pre-insurance bill 2 days after arriving home – I was given a situation that (1) I had no clue how to handle, (2) no one could believe long enough to offer any specific-enough expertise and (3) time and money were not properly aligned in my favor on. On the wedding day, my uncle pulled me aside to tell me that my approach of simply shutting up getting shit done instead of running around like my hair was on fire was commendable.
Right now, my daughter is my sidekick and is always welcome to go wherever I go, with her chubby cheeks and 4 teeth. She is walking and getting into things now, but every time she thinks someone is going near the front door, she is at the edge of her gate to check it out and see why she is not being included in the excursion, even if it is just to walk the dogs. She has a smile that makes anyone’s day better and a giggle that makes it IMPOSSIBLE not to laugh in response.

            The last year plus 4 weeks of my life has gone by like someone was leaning on the fast forward button. What is important, though, is that I am still in one piece and no worse for the wear. Most important, though, is that I still have my favorite two people on the planet right in the house with me, and now we all have the same last name. One could argue that the success of the past year of my life was the getback on the payment made on the 5 years of being pissed at myself over my accident.
Also, definitely not to step on the toes of anyone who chooses not to accept certain things, but I am also of the opinion that there was a supreme hand in the change of my plans for my life… No accident means I move away summer 2003, and moving away means I do not meet Katie in 2008, and no Katie in 2008 means no Ava in 2011. As the last couple of years have unfolded, I am not mad at myself anymore as a result. All that said, I was SUPPOSED to be here, and I refuse to believe that I am done here.


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