But here we are, in the very early moments of 2017, and I felt like I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the past year that may become infamous as one of the shittiest years ever for just about everyone.
Personally, 2016 was a mix of a lot emotions, some of them more harsh and felt more deeply than others, but not all completely bad. Yes, I absolutely mourned the passing of so many celebrities this past year, as I am unabashedly obsessed with pop culture and appreciate the talent and art that they bring to our world. It seemed that Heaven was particularly eager to bring home the more well known souls in this physical world, and I wondered if they all saw something coming in the new year that the rest of us can't see, and they got the hell out of dodge before shit hits the fan. For our sake, I really hope that's not the case.
The passing of Eric's step-mother last summer cast a heaviness over the family that we are slowly learning how to bear. Being able to visit home unexpectedly after 3 years (to. the. day) for her funeral, and how all aspects of our visit were serendipitous, was proof that Deb's light was shining brightly over us and could never be extinguished. She is very much present with the ones she loved.
Of course, there was our miscarriage last January. I didn't have any words to talk about it then, and I still don't. I've lost six of my seven pregnancies.... I know loss. I have seen despair with my eyes, with my heart, and with my body. Trust me when I say that I know loss. But our last miscarriage, which was also our very last pregnancy ever, took the words and feelings right out me, and all that I can really say is that our hearts are broken beyond repair, and we have chosen to honor that precious life privately and silently.
The political climate of our country was appalling in 2016, and no matter what side of the aisle you are looking at things, I think we could all agree on at least that much. I am terrified of what the future holds with a Trump presidency, I thought that the warning signs were beyond obvious, but whatever, I have accepted the outcome and will wait to see if the incoming President proves me
But not everything was sad or depressing in 2016! Eric, Isabelle, and I got to explore 6 different foreign countries for a total of 23 countries visited. We even road tripped our way across Ireland!
Eric kept extremely busy with work and got promoted to Captain shortly before we moved home, putting the exclamation point on a truly incredible chapter of his career. Isabelle continued to grow, mature, and stun us with her compassion and complex perspective of the world she lives in.
Us Schnells moved back to America, and although we are sorely missing Europe, our transition back was a lot easier than anticipated. We found that we are mostly happy to be back, with only moments of sadness when we remember some of the most awesome aspects of living abroad. We are especially enjoying the giggles that come with rediscovering things that we forgot existed (the little spray thing next to the kitchen faucet?! So genius, but so not necessary.). And since our time here at Fort Lee is short, we are already focused on our next duty station, wherever that might be. We hope to find out soon and will let you all know by February or March. Our fingers are crossed for a few places, and others Eric and I can't agree on, but I feel like anywhere we go will be a new adventure, so in the end it doesn't really matter to me.
As for me, things were pretty uneventful. I spent a lot of my time concentrating on my little family, my friends, and our future. While Isabelle grew, and Eric was busy with work, I got to sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy the ride. I kept a quiet perspective for the past year as I watched things from a bit of a distance. I drew close to God and had daily discussions with Him on the direction of our path He has chosen for us - spending an embarrassingly large amount of time questioning this new direction and asking God things like: "Really??" "No, but like really?!" "Okay, but are you sure? Like, really sure?" "Okay, but you do know this is me we're talking about, right?! I mean, I don't know, maybe you're getting me confused with someone else who would be better a choice?," things like that. But He is sure and as His plans unfold, our hearts are growing more confident. I am not ready to talk about it, Eric and I need more time to contemplate, but I will be sure to fill you all in as soon as we are ready. So please stay tuned!
Overall, 2016 was a gentle year for us and we are beyond excited for the future! But I don't feel bad saying.... So long, 2016!