The Ebb and Flow of 2021

Most New Year’s Eves, there’s so much build up and excitement about what the new year will bring, how it will be different this time. Yet, here I am at bedtime on January 1, 2022, and I’ve somehow finally realized that life just ebbs and flows. Last night, I was excited and hopeful for 2021 to come to a close. Today, I nursed my 18 month old through her first busted, bloody lip, and Seth tested positive for COVID… again. I’m starting the year quarantined from the love of my life in our own home, that is until it comes for me too. Life just is what it is, and as much as we try to control it, the more out of control it feels. But then, other days are good and filled with friends and family who bring joy, love, and laughter. 2021 as a whole followed this flow.

2021 brought so much joy and pride as a mama. I made my goal of feeding Jaclyn breastmilk through her first six months of life; exclusive pumping was exhausting. I completed my photo project of weekly Wednesday photos- A Year in the Life of Jackie Chan Hope Pierce. Seth and I survived sleep training part two, and our girl goes to bed wide awake every night now with no trouble. I found a children’s book about hemangiomas for Jaclyn as she gets bigger.

Jaclyn has grown so fast and so beautifully. I have videos that document her first time pulling to stand up, waving, crawling, walking, finally saying mama (even though I was at work when it happened). She knows and loves all animals. She says thank you after you help her with something. Jaclyn is just the greatest gift.

2021 has also brought worry and heartache as a mama. Jaclyn has had multiple specialist appointments for her hemangiomas since she has one on her head and one in her nose. We’ve seen a pediatric dermatologist multiple times and tried several types of medicine to help it stop growing. She went to a pediatric ENT and had a scope go down both nostrils as far as her esophagus to see if the hemangioma in her nose was blocking her airway, but thankfully it was not!

A couple months later, Jaclyn had some seizure-like episodes that prompted an MRI with sedation and and EEG. Everything about those moments were terrifying, but again, we’re thankful that all test results came back normal, and she’s had no other incidents since.

In June, we were expecting Jaclyn’s little brother or sister, but just days after the positive pregnancy test, I miscarried our second baby. It’s called a chemical pregnancy. The test wasn’t even positive anymore by the time I got to the OBGYN.

In November, we gained our third angel baby girl. This loss was quite a doozy. No baby in the 8-week ultrasound. Two days later, the baby appeared. A week later, the baby hadn’t grown and still didn’t have a heartbeat. D & C. Lots of grieving. A month later, still positive on pregnancy tests. More bloodwork and ultrasounds. A second D&C that found scar tissue from when Jaclyn was born that had never healed and some recent pregnancy tissue that was stuck to it. Everything was cleared out with a camera this time.

During all of this, genetic testing was done and learned that I’m a carrier for Tay Sach’s disease, which is deadly for most small children. I had a full day of panic and horror worrying that Jaclyn had it until Seth got home and confirmed from his 23 and Me test that he is not a carrier.

2021 confirmed that God gave me the best partner I could’ve ever asked for. Seth is so thoughtful and creative when he celebrates me. My birthday and Christmas gifts are hidden around the house with clues- scavenger hunt style. My first Mother’s Day was absolute perfection as he and Jaclyn made me a homemade book telling me how great I am. My Christmas gift this year was this beautiful necklace with the birthstones of all our babies; I believe it’s the most special gift I’ve ever been given.

Seth has cooked more this year as I’ve been too stressed, tired, or sad to do so. And it’s been a hilarious, yet delicious experience for all of us.

He is the best dad.

In 2021, COVID was still affecting all the things. We finally celebrated the Boyd family Christmas on January 10 after we all recovered from COVID. I was very thankful to receive both vaccines and the booster this year.

There was a brief time between April and July when we thought we’d beaten COVID…

But we did not, and somehow some folks still don’t believe that. So I closed out the year changing Jaclyn’s pediatrician because I shouldn’t have to ask her doctor to put on a mask when COVID cases are the highest they’ve ever been.

2021 brought more professional growth. I completed a full year of Adult Education NTI after coming back from maternity leave. I had more professional challenges than I’ve ever experienced and was coached beautifully through it all. With the help of my team, I was able to transition our ESL program back to in-person classes while maintaining live, virtual classes.

I had more interaction with students this year. I met with students via Zoom to help them prepare for their posttest. One particular student was on her 30-minute lunch break and spent every minute of it practicing with me. She shared that she had to pass the test so she can start GED classes and then go to college. I also had the privilege of facilitating a student-led training for our staff. These students worked with me for a month and a half to create a shared training about their cultures.

Despite the pandemic, I still had the opportunity to create and present several trainings. I shared a Cultural Competency in the Workplace training with our team. I stepped in last minute to present at the virtual COABE conference about our Family Learning virtual pilot. And I was honored that NCFL asked me to lead my first webinar about How to Support Multi-Language Parent Facilitation.

Finally, in October, I accepted a new job in Adult Education; for the first time in my career, I’m not exclusively working with ESL. Now I am a Coordinator, Special Projects of ABE and ESL. I will oversee both the ABE / GED and ESL programs. I’ve only held the position for a couple of months so far, but it’s been an exciting and challenging change that I’m grateful for.

2021 was another year to remember. It was a tough year, but this reflection is important because there was still so much good.

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