Love, happiness, hospitals, learning | PostIndependent.com

Love, happiness, hospitals, learning

My New Year’s resolution is to circumvent any chance of a stomach virus in 2016.

There. I’m done.

See everyone next year!

If only life were so easy. But alas, like anyone reading this, I’m human. And subject to all the ups and downs life brings. We all are, whether we like it or not. That’s what makes life unpredictable and fantastic.

And interesting.

Last week, I finished my exciting 2015 with not-so much a bang. More like a bust. I contracted a stomach virus so agonizing, I begged God, the universe, and my ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, for mercy on more than one occasion. In layman’s terms, liquids would not stay in me and solid food seemed like a distant holiday memory. So much so, I ended up in the ER on Christmas Day, treated for dehydration and hypokalemia, aka low potassium.

Not exactly how I pictured Christmas.

While everyone else was sipping spiced rum-spiked eggnog from moose glasses like Cousin Eddie from “Christmas Vacation,” I prayed to hold down a couple drops of water. Chipped beef cheese balls and my mom’s Christmas cookies appeared to me in dream-like sequences.

At one point, the cheese ball and a Mexican wedding cake were square dancing in my head.

I can only guess the holiday hallucinations were brought on by my potassium deficiency. Somehow I was able to change dirty diapers and feed a baby in the haze. I even watched the kids open presents from Santa at a much-to early hour before dipping into a state best compared to the last fight scene from “Braveheart.” I may or may not have muttered, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

Or something like that.

After much-needed IV hydration, anti-nausea meds and potassium tablets as big as horse pills, I survived the Great Stomach Bug of 2015. Luckily I still have a sense of humor about it, and look back at the virus as a symbolic way to say goodbye to the year.

And oh what a year it was.

In 2015, I found the kind of love that isn’t just about frou-frou romance and storybook endings. When Steve proposed to me in the park, he reminded me life is short. He told me that when two people like us find something that’s right, there’s no reason to wait for the future.

Our future is now.

From the start of 2015, our life has been filled with surprises. We’ve shared challenges and successes that have only made us stronger together. Our pregnancy taught me about patience and persistence. About loving someone before you ever meet them. Since that first positive pregnancy test, I’ve never wavered in the unconditional love parenthood has gifted me. I’ve learned that true love doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult.

It can just be simple and kind.

After 2015, I also know that being a mother, and also a step-mom, is the most important job I’ve ever held. Or will ever have. I’m seeing first-hand how children are truly miracles, in birth and through their subsequent development that takes them into adulthood. They are little teachers, every day, and remind me how important it is for us as a village to make sure they come up right.

One of my goals in 2016 is to be a better role model.

I want to show my children how important commitments are in life, whether they are promised to relationships, faith, work, friends, or family. I also want to ensure love is always all around them. There won’t be a moment I won’t think about Will before myself. He came into this world fighting, and I owe him every opportunity to live the happiest and healthiest life I can bestow. I vow to keep him safe, and also provide him with the independence it takes to become a man of honor and respect. I also want to instill such characteristics in my step-son, who I continue to try and support as he grows into a fine young man.

Boys definitely outnumber me in my new life.

I have big aspirations for a healthy new year for myself, too. In motherhood, I’ve learned pain, in its physical form, can be temporary. I know it can also be permanent, but our bodies are amazing machines that take work to maintain like a computer or a car. I want to feel good inside and out, and will try to stay healthy in 2016. I hope to continue to heal after a long, strange trip (The Grateful Dead best sums up my year). And enjoy the ride of being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.

Without the stomach virus.

April E. Clark wishes everyone a happy and healthy new year. Let’s see what 2016 brings. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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