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2005 The Skamarakas Family Year in Review

It is December 31, 2005 at approximately 7:45 PM.  We have done all of our Happy New Year snacking, and everyone is stuffed full.  Eilis is bouncing off the walls, waiting for it to be midnight so she can pop her confetti and streamers and make all the noise she wants.  I think we may tell her at 9 or 10 that it’s midnight and let her have her fun so the rest of us can go to sleep.  There is no midnight party for those of us that may be up at 1 or 2 AM with the baby.

Last year at this time, I was tired too.  Grace had not yet been born, and pregnancy was zapping my energy.  We had eaten our prime rib dinner (which we have switched to tomorrow for this year), we had snacked ourselves silly, and I wasn’t feeling all that great.  Pregnancy always takes a toll on me, and being 40 and pregnant wasn’t making it any easier.  We looked forward, of course, to a happy, healthy baby to be born in May, and we were planning our Christening and Jim’s infant care leave. 

I spent much of the first few months of last year wrapped up in myself.  I switched ob/gyn practices at about 29 weeks due to some concerns with the practice I was in.  My mother and I toured the hospital they expected me to deliver in, and it sent us running as quickly as we could out of there.  I found a wonderful, caring, and concerned practice at Garden State Obstetrics, and I was still being taken care of by the perinatology practice there and Dr. Librizzi.

Sometime in January or February, I stopped to see my dad and Ann.  During our visit, Ann got a phone call.  My dad looked at me with tears in his eyes and told me he didn’t want to be here anymore.  He told me he didn’t want to live like he was living.  It was all I could do to hold it together, and I started to remind him of all the things he would be able to do once he was walking again.  I talked about cruising and going to see the Grand Canyon.  Ann came in and she heard us talking and she brought up the dialysis cruises that they had talked about before.  I tried to make life seem worth living for my dad, and he quickly turned the subject to something else.  That was the last time he brought up wanting to die to me, and I wish I had paid closer attention to him.

In March, all hell broke loose in terms of my pregnancy.  My blood sugars, despite watching my diet and taking insulin shots 3 or 4 times a day, seemed to be going haywire, and my blood pressure was beginning to creep up.  In mid-March, I spent a day riding around with Megan and Brett, who were thinking of buying a house in NJ.  At one house, I climbed down the stairs to see the lower level, made it back to the main floor, and felt pretty sick.  I decided not to follow them upstairs and managed to catch my breath sitting on the sofa waiting for them.  The next day, Sunday, I went in to get a shower, and ended up having to yell for Jim to come and get me out.  I was completely out of breath, the room was spinning, and I felt like I was either going to throw up or pass out.  He helped me to the bedroom, where I got a drink of cold water and lay still a few minutes.  The next day, I had an appointment with the doctor, and the rest is history.  They sent me right to the hospital, where I lay in bed for 3 weeks, and then Gracie was born on April 16th. 

As soon as I could, I took Grace to see my dad, who by that time had been admitted to a nursing home.  He was 65.  Our first visit, he seemed very out of it.  He could barely keep his eyes open, and he had an entirely uneaten lunch on the tray in front of him.  He wasn’t making much sense when he spoke to us, and I could barely keep myself from crying.  We stayed only briefly.

On May 22nd, Grace was baptized.  It was beautiful.  I loved the way Father Newton conducted the service and I will cherish the ceremony the rest of my life.  The last of my babies to be baptized. 

Just about a week later, my father decided he no longer wanted to be alive.  He consulted with his doctors, and he discontinued his dialysis treatments.  10 days later, on June 6th, he was gone.  A part of my heart has been removed and there is an ache there I don’t think will ever heal.  I thought I had gone through pain I would never feel again when my sister Bean died, but here it is, all over again.

Jim took off the month of August, and in June, Brighid graduated from 8th grade.  We had a dinner dance for parents and the graduates at her school that was really lovely, and the father daughter dance, just a week after my own father had died, brought tears to my eyes.  The Mass was nice the night of her graduation, and her grandparents from FL were able to be there to make her day that much more special.

We spent a week in August in Orlando.  That was so nice.  We did the parks, but not too much because of the heat.  We visited with the Andersens and had dinner with Danny and Angela and the kids, who had come down to Orlando as well.  They had a good time and so did we –  I wish we could have spent more time together, but I couldn’t keep the baby out in the heat as long as they could stay out there.

Brighid started high school in September, and after struggling a bit in the beginning, she seems to have gotten the hang of it.  She has a hip injury which has ended her dancing career, but she doesn’t seem to miss it too much.  There is a certain pressure involved with the dancing that she is now relieved of.

And Eilis is learning how to roller skate and do karate, and she is really enjoying drama class.  It’s fun that she looks forward so much to her activities.

That brings us to now.  We had our annual party the week before Christmas and a trip to Disney for me, the girls, and my mom a week before that.  I am glad for the end of the year, happy for the start of the new year, and grateful for the experiences and lessons I gained in the year that exits so that I am better equipped for the year that replaces it. 

To all of you who have taken the time to read this blog – just once or for the whole time I’ve kept it – Happy New Year.  And Thank You.