Happy New Year: Decade in Review

At the start of 1999, I was single and living on the South Side.

By the end of the year, I had started dating the man I was going to marry, the father of my children.

It’s been a heck of a decade.

Some high- (and a couple of low-) lights.

July 1999: A guy I knew from college walks into a bar. We chat, he asks if I would like to have dinner with him sometime. I say sure. “Look me up; I’m in the book.” That’s my parting line.

September 1999: I email the guy I knew from college to see if he was serious about dinner. “Uh, yeah, but I must have a really old phone book, because the number I called was disconnected.” Three dates later, I think, “This is the man I’m going to marry.” It freaks me out, but I manage not to sabotage the relationship, which would be my first instinct. (I was in therapy when Dan and I met, and I always say if it weren’t for my therapist, I would never have gotten married.)

It’s a miracle we’re together.

September 1, 2001: Dan and I get married on a beautiful day in Pittsburgh. Everything is perfect.

September 10, 2001: Dan and I land in Rome for the start of our honeymoon in Italy. We hop a plane for Florence.

(You see where this is going don’t you?)

September 11, 2001: Dan and I come back to our hotel room after a morning of touring and a two-hour lunch (with wine) to discover America is under attack. I will simply say, the Italian people (along with being beautiful) are warm, welcoming, and extremely concerned. It was an amazing time.

October, 2002: I’m pregnant!

June 4, 2003: Our son dies in utero.

June 8, 2003: Gabriel is delivered. It is possibly the saddest day of my entire life.

August, 2003: We fly to San Francisco with Dan’s family for a vacation in wine country. It’s a little tough, for a lot of reasons. But it is beautiful there. We ship 30 bottles of wine home.

March 2004: I’m pregnant.

March 2004: We travel to Las Vegas for Jeanette and Chuck’s wedding. We tell everyone I gave up alcohol for Lent. It’s a drag to be in Vegas and not be able to drink (or stay awake much past 10 p.m.). But our friends have a lovely wedding.

November 11, 2004 (11:11 p.m.): Flora Maria is born. It is possibly the happiest day of my entire life.

June 20, 2005: Dan and I close on a house in Moon Township. It is next to the house he grew up in, where his parents still live. It’s not as weird as it sounds.

May 2006: I’m pregnant again. Oops. That’s a little earlier than we had planned. We roll with it.

January 6, 2007 (2-something a.m.): Kathryn Castle is born. It, too, is the happiest day of my life.

January 31, 2007: I launch Red Pen Mama. My foray into social media truly begins.

Those are pretty much the important points. I’ve been in and out of work as a writer (freelancing and full-time); Dan got his Ph.D. (“Hey, mom, I’m married to a doctor!”), earned his license, and started his own practice (Bill, baby, bill!). I’ve made new and incredible friends. Dan turned 40 this year. He is a wonderful (most of the time) husband and father, and we have completely incredible kids.

The next decade is going to be amazing. Probably for different reasons than this one was.

Happy New Year, everyone. Wishing you health and happiness, and your hearts’ desires, in 2010 and beyond.