Goodbye, 2011. Great to Finally Meet You, 2012.

I just hung up my new 2012 kitchen wall calendar and deposited the 2011 edition into the recycling bin. I have to say—I am not sorry to see 2011 go.

It’s not that it has been a bad year; for the most part, it moved along just fine. When I look back, I’m incredibly grateful for the health of my kids and family and a good year of fishing and safety for George and the crew. We had a couple of fun trips; Las Vegas in March and Kauai in April, and plans to start making vacations a more regular part of our routine after not taking any for years.

But then I remember the way our beloved pitbull, Toby, died suddenly last April (the day before we left on our first family vacation in five years) after successfully and healthily beating a cancer diagnosis for three years. George left for Alaska and the halibut/blackcod longlining season soon after, and then shortly after that, I discovered we were unexpectedly expecting again.

Pregnancy sickness lasted throughout the summer, fall, and now into winter, making the challenge of being a seasonally single commercial fishing mom much more difficult than it really needs to be.

I have to say that after dealing with a variety of doctors, various medical offices and front desk staff, nurses, opinions, test results, and appointments for the past nine months, I would be happy to never, ever have to step foot in an office or deal with anyone in the medical profession ever again. I plan to write a much longer essay on the topic later, after I’ve had some distance and can gain perspective on this experience, but for now, all I can think is that I want this to be over.

The good news is that in eighteen days (if not sooner), it will be. Assuming all goes well with delivery and the first few months with baby at home, I will so grateful to have my life, my body, and my peace of mind back.

On the other hand, I now have a better appreciation and empathy for patients who struggle with chronic illness, who are told they have medical issues, troubles that can’t be diagnosed or treated effectively, who are not listened to or treated well by the medical profession, and who must attend appointment after appointment and try to stay pleasant all the while.

I’ve written before that after struggling with the physical, mental, and emotional effects of infertility before we were blessed with our Eva and Vincent, I never dreamed I would have a third baby years later. I also never imagined that after such a wonderful experience with the one doctor who saw me through those first two amazing pregnancies, this final surprise would be so different.

I’m going to spend these last two weeks trying to stay calm, looking forward to delivery, and then getting on with caring for a newborn and my two other children and letting the experience of the past nine months fade away in time.

Moving forward and beyond is something I love to do, and I’m excited and eager to make 2012 a great year.

So, we’ll have this baby girl in January, and then in the spring I will be launching my first e-book right here on this blog and via Kindle and other e-reader formats. Details on the e-book will come in the following months, but I am extremely excited about this new project. The book is currently in design and editing stages and I know it will be something I’m proud of and that many of my readers will find useful.

Speaking of blog readers; thank you to all for making 2011 a record year on Highliners and Homecomings. It’s been fun reviewing blog statistics, reading your comments, keeping an eye on subscriptions, seeing which posts get the most “hits” and which pictures get clicked on the most, reviewing where traffic is coming from and watching numbers rise.

As we head into the fifth year, I want to sincerely thank you so much for the support and the time you take to come over and see or read what’s new.

The best to you as we start this new year—health and happiness to all.

Someone posted this on Facebook. It's not the most eloquent wording, but I think it's a sentiment worth keeping in mind.

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