2018 started on a high. A dream was coming true, a prayer answered just when we were at the brink of surrender and despair.

We planned 2018 to be our “get away” year in 2017 – we wanted to see the rest of America’s beauty, cross off things we needed to do/see while we could, while it was just the two of us. And while the news of our coming child was a welcome surprise, we decided to go on a “babymoon” of sorts, whittling down our list to the must-sees before our little one came that coming summer.

Then came one of the toughest weeks of my life. I was so unprepared, shock overpowered the grief; I was at a loss for words and in moments that I can never have again, I don’t believe I said the most meaningful things to say for the last time to my sister.

It was a challenge to remain optimistic, to remain wholly committed to seeing the good, the silver lining. It was a challenge to keep the gloom at bay when something you’ve waited for for the longest time was slowly coming true. It was a challenge to keep myself from my own personal darkness, my weaknesses, fighting them off, living with the loss and helping my wife with the challenges of being with child and catering to her growing needs and preparing ourselves for the coming of our little miracle.

Then came another challenge – the closure of the Alameda office meant I’d have to be working out of our San Jose office – 47 miles away. Getting there wasn’t the challenge – getting home after work was. At worst, it’s a > 2 hour drive. At best, 90 minutes or so, but meant leaving the office at around 3 p.m. It also formed a lot of questions in my head – will people be laid off? Will they still need me around and give me a chance to live here for good? Will we be sent home while our child was waiting for her birth? So many questions, and the uncertainty caused me some real anxiety and unrest.

Things worked out okay – my manager gave me a really favorable work arrangement that allows me to spend my workdays mostly at home, with few drives between Alameda and San Jose limited to 2x a week on most times, 3x a week if there were any management alignments with our team.

Our little one came in the summer – but not without a little bit of an anxious moment that led her to spending a few hours of her first day of life in the NICU. She was back with us just a little past midnight of her second day, and all I can say is when you are right there, hand in hand with your wife delivering your child, you can never be in more awe at the strength and resilience that our Creator has put into a woman’s body. It changes you. For me, it made me appreciate her more, and I tell her every day that the next most amazing thing than marrying her was seeing her give birth to our child. From that day, we transcended from being a married couple to a family of three and parents of one. It amazes me to see how life grows and to have front row seats as how our child grows from that little bundle.

Then came news of my grandfather’s passing. It was something I couldn’t go home for and it pained me to not be able to say a proper goodbye. In my mind, I said good bye years ago when I left to move here, and again when we visited him after my sister’s passing, only this time, I can only muster a prayer to say thank you.

And now, we are here – another year older. Surely this year will be filled with good and bad. As we grow older, we realize how unselfish life is when it gives you all its bountiful provision, and at the same time we realize how easy it can also take away from us, without any thought to our preparedness for moments or realities. All we can really do is just live this new journey around our yellow star and make the most out of the moments, make our brief time on this earth worth remembering by those who we spend our days and nights on this earth with.

Happy new year.

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