In 2017, after 6 years of hearing it was never going to happen, I found out I was pregnant.
In 2017, I gave up on trying to follow a plan for my future and realized it was in God's hands and I really had no say.
In 2017, I found out that you really never know who your true friends are until you go through something terrible and see who is still standing by your side.
In 2017, I learned what pain and fear really feel like. Everything that I had experienced before, that I called pain and fear, were nothing compared to what I felt the day I learned my unborn baby would likely not make it and the weeks after. And even that didn't compare to the fear I felt when my baby was born silent and blue and quickly taken away from me.
In 2017, I learned that no matter how old you are, no one will ever be able to comfort you quite like your mom can. And I learned that I am so damn lucky that I not only have parents that live close by, but that I have parents that will drop everything to hold my hand as I faced the unknown.
In 2017, I continued to learn that DNA does not make family and that your heart will always be able to make room for three more little boys to sneak in and steal a piece.
In 2017, I watched my sister and best friend marry the man of her dreams and I finally opened my eyes to what true love was supposed to look like.
In 2017, I learned that there is really no way to express immense gratitude. How do you say thank you to people who literally held you together by the seams when you were sure you weren't going to make it?
In 2017, I saw firsthand the power of prayer and got to hold my miracle baby (and eventually take him home). In that moment, I found a whole new meaning in the word joy.
In 2017, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin became my home away from home and we have a pretty intense love-hate relationship.
In 2017, my love for Marquette was reaffirmed and I realized how lucky I was to have such caring professors and such a supportive work environment.
In 2017, I decided that what I had allowed wasn't what I deserved and I made the most difficult decision I have ever had to make - to leave a situation that was no longer what was best for me and my son.
In 2017, I learned more about the human body and the medical profession than I ever cared to know. And I wanted to kick college Kelsey for never taking a real science course.
In 2017, I learned that real strength can come in all shapes and forms. Mine came in a 7 pound, 11 ounce little boy.
In 2017, I learned that there is a lot of beauty in rebuilding.
In 2017, I learned that being a single, working mom is really, really crappy sometimes and that its okay to have a breakdown every once in awhile.
In 2017, I learned that being a single, working mom is joyous, rewarding and worth it.
In 2017, I learned that there is literally nothing else I will do, both professionally or personally, that will even come close to the importance of being Asher's mom.
In 2017, I learned that somehow, someway everything is going to work out. Once upon a time, I had a friend who's favorite saying was "when you are down to your last rope, tie a knot and swing," and its been my new favorite way to look at things.
As you can see, 2017 was a year of lessons, both happy and sad. Some I wished I never had to learn and others I thank God I learned now. Either way, I was thrilled to wake up in 2018 earlier this week. I am so excited for the next chapter in Asher's and my life and I am so excited to finally close the door on all the heartbreak, grief, pain, anxiety, fear and unknown that 2017 brought.