Periodic reflection is healthy. You have to know where you have been to know where you are, and where you are going.
The last 12 months have been amazing, maybe the most healthy and rewarding ever for me.
3 years ago, I was living in my 8 foot square office at the hospital. Now, I have a house and this year I finally made it my home.
I travelled with my kids this year to Disney World, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinatti, Atlanta several times, and Memphis twice.
We listened to the ghosts of Union soldiers in Gettysburg, and we were Chocolate Factory workers for a day at HersheyWorld.
We were spelunkers through miles of underground mazes at Mammoth Cave National Park, and we hiked around Bushy Lake in Alabama.
We walked the land where Abraham Lincoln was born, and where he spent his boyhood. We journeyed to the Ford Theatre where he was cowardly killed, and we stared in awe at his likeness where he is memorialized.
We sledded on a toboggan at more than 30 mph in 10 degrees, over and over and over again, until our feet and hands and nose were numb and blue.
We cheered at a half dozen Auburn University football games, and we went for the 5th straight year to the North American International Auto Show.
We camped in tents at Lake Martin and in our backyard, I taught the kids how to tube behind our boat, and we hiked up Cheaha Mountain.
We toured the home of William Taft, and we were led by our Congressman, Representative Spencer Bachus, on a tour of the United States Capital.
We saw the travelling Broadway productions of Annie twice, and Beauty and the Beast, and we saw the Atlanta Ballet perform The Nutcracker.
We ran on the mall in DC; and, we studied the Jefferson, Washington, and World War II memorials.
We spent 2 separate weeks at the beach in Sandestin, a week at Daytona Beach, Florida, a day at the Georgia
Aquarium, and we made countless trips to the Birmingham Zoo.
We met Sir Topham Hatt and rode on the "real" Thomas the Train, we sat on the first row at the Wiggles, and we went to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Without the kids, I made additional trips to Orlando, Panama City Beach, Nashville, Indianapolis, Chicago, and New Jersey.
I camped and canoed Lake Toxaway in the North Carolina mountains, and I caught a fish (for the first time in years) at Lake Martin.
I made 4 road trips greater than 1000 miles, 3 greater than 1500, and 1 greater than 2500 miles (with just me and the kids).
I went to Sea World, a Cubs game in Chicago, a Barons game in Birmingham, the Indianapolis 500, and the Aaron's 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
I ran 2 5k's, a sprint triathlon, an olympic distance triathlon, and a marathon.
I spent more than 110 hours sitting in car-line, taught Emma to ride her bike without training wheels, changed countless diapers, and taught Anna to use the potty (finally!).
I built a solar system with Emma, took Anna and Tess to ballet class twice each week, and helped Aidan spot every tractor known to man.
I read more books, mine and the kids, than ever before in the last year.
I worked 1700 hours and took care of about 5000 patients in the Emergency Department at UAB, easing suffering, making life a little more tolerable through laughter and the occasional morphine shot, and even saving a few lives.
I re-discovered a passion for writing and found an outlet for that passion (thank you T - miss ya! ;) ).
I met thousands of people, enjoyed the company of hundreds, and even found a couple of kindred spirits along the way.
A lot has happened in the last year. I am a very fortunate person, and I constantly am reminded of that. I have worked hard to put myself in this position. I have sacrificed when necessary, and I have trudged through many sleepless days and nights.
Despite everything that I have, and everything I have done over the past year, both for myself and my kids, I am so optimistic that the following year and years to come will be even more fulfilling.
My kids are amazing. I like them, as a group and individually, and I know they like me. They, more than any other motivating factor, make me want to do and explore and learn and live. I want to, nay I have to, offer them the world.
So thank you, thank you so very much for sharing this time with me. I hope you continue to journey with me, with us, on our future adventures!