This image says it all for me. It was how ‘mynewfavoriteday’ came to be. A simple decision in a time of darkness to run to the light and the only route was to stop and realize what I had in each moment.
To not focus on the ocean of unknown but instead on our little raft, as we floated along trying to make decisions, and, as Dory would say to “Just keep swimming.” I needed to stop looking at the horizon and look down on my raft at Q, E, KSP, Max (our cat) and me. And rowing next to us, anchoring our raft, our family and friends. And this vast space would become no longer so dark and deep.
In March of 2011, I could just no longer bear the weight. The heaviness. The sadness that enveloped my heart and soul. The shame in what I feared might have been a failure on my part to protect Q and E, well enough so that they might have been spared all of their hardship in their tiny little lives and that E wouldn’t have to continue to struggle as she tries to find ways to control her own mind and body. And so I made 2 choices.
1. To acknowledge and remember each day, and more often if possible, to remember how lucky we were to just be together.
2. To find gratitude. To be grateful no matter how hard it might seem in the various circumstances we were confronting, but I had to start somewhere. I would try to use this gratitude and combine it with the fact that we were together to make each day ‘mynewfavoriteday,’
This choice, it seemed, would be simple enough, but in practice it has taken work, commitment and focus.
The result has been more than transformative. To say I am different, now, as I sit here tonight on New Years Day 2012, would not accurately describe how I feel about then vs now. To say that I never struggled to find the nugget that would help me focus on the good in each day, would be a lie. To say there were days when I didn’t write because I was having such a hard time finding the nugget would be the truth. To say that I did not have help along the way from family, friends and acquaintances who became friends and inspired me, supported me, and lifted me in so many ways would no accurately describe how much all of you did for me at so many given points throughout this journey.
To be clear, I am not Pollyanna. I do not wake up every day to rainbows and dancing puppy dogs. I wake up and attempt to capture the things that make me happy and moments of gratitude. Morning time with my minis and KSP, calls or emails with friends, using my mind to work and write, interacting with ‘mynewfavoriteday’ community on Facebook and Twitter, and laying my head on a pillow each night with a full stomach, in a warm room, under the roof of my house.
We have all progressed through the common emotions we experience as humans. These emotions have pushed us forward and held us still when we needed it…to take the time to appreciate where we are without always being so focused on the outcome. To appreciate our progress without looking at all we still need to do. To be grateful that we have the opportunity to just be and to be able keep going.
As I looked back, my mind always gravitates towards music as it can often accurately capture how I was and am feeling. How I see our progress and how I would not abandon the past because it has helped us be here where we can appreciate the present and look to the future. I hope you enjoy ‘mynewfavoriteday’ anthem song list and a reflection on some past posts, which most definitely has set us up make 2012 the Pruitt Family ‘newfavoriteyear.’
As a warning, I have eclectic taste in music in terms of the spectrum. Everything is at play (except heavy metal and techno, those don’t really make my playlists:))
Sadness and fear enveloped in Love:
This is where I started. Living in a movie, reliving the trauma and undercurrent of fear that had become my baseline. I sang this song to the babies everyday in the NICU for 4 months and upon their homecoming as a lullaby. Each time I would clutch them tightly and hold them as if they would be ripped from me at any second. The words said everything I couldn’t say to them for fear that if I uttered any words of them experiencing something, anything, that it may come true. Through this song I could tell them no matter what happened, I would do ANYTHING for them. This is where I first knew I had to do something else, and so began ‘mynewfavoriteday.’
Adele and/or Garth Brooks version of “To Make Your Feel My Love”
Hope: I remember clearly the first time I heard this song. I was driving E back from her pulmonary appointment where she had just been cleared to come of oxygen during the day after 18 months. In my elation I was fragile as we still had such a long way to go and unsure of where to put my thoughts and emotions this song came on the radio. As E sat in her car seat, tears ran down my face as I confirmed to her, that no matter what happens, “I Won’t Let Go,”
Rascal Flatts “I Won’t Let Go”
Rebuilding: With each day of writing, I started to feel stronger. Bit by bit. At times I felt like a tower of blocks we so often build now in our home. As the tower would grow, sometimes blocks fell off the top leaving my wounds exposed, but then block by block we could rebuild and each time, I, and we all, became just a little bit stronger. I was buoyed by incredible support and love, and often felt like “Rudy.” With the support of friends and family, I realized I wasn’t alone and we would keep going.
Sara Evans, “A Little Bit Stronger”
Anger and Confidence: With the support and strength came my own education and learnings. I learned to advocate for my Q, E, our family and myself. I applied my business skills to a new area and became involved in the March of Dimes. I could feel the stretching as I pushed myself to use my voice. To dig it out and realize that with consistency I would no longer be so uncomfortable, and that I was the only one that could do just what needed to be done in our circumstances. I am so grateful to all of the service coordinators, doctors, therapists, and other parents who shared their wisdom, stories and opinions with me which helped empower me to find my voice. Whenever this song came on while I was driving to one appointment or another, I felt a surge of confidence. I was angry with our situation. I would lie if I didn’t say, I felt in moments, that it wasn’t fair. Why did this happen? Why did things go wrong and seemingly make this worse. And so, I would channel this song. The person sitting across from me at the table was anyone, a nameless, faceless person or thing that I could direct all of my anger at…to allow myself this anger meant I could finally use my voice without being overwhelmed by emotion and use it in a way to really get what E and Q would need.
Sara Bareilles “King of Anything”
Faith and happiness: As we continued to build, Q grew and developed, E progressed, Ordinary became Extraordinary, I felt lighter, bit by bit. As if the bricks that had been crushing me were slowly being removed. I felt like I could walk again.
Foo Fighters “Walk”
Acceptance: With the practice, practice, practice of being grateful for many things, little, big and in between, I started to know I was feeling acceptance. I could not go back, I could not change how anything happened, and, as it was, I am very lucky. Whatever happened with E and Q, they are radiant lights in our lives, and E because of her special needs was given to us with a purpose. We were given a most precious gift to grow, learn and be bathed in her light and joy that she gives to anyone who comes in to contact with her. Q taught us this very early on when he showed us that he did not see her as we saw her, he loved her just was she was. And so we stopped wishing backward and started focusing more on hoping forward.
Pink, ” Perfect”:
8 months after starting ‘mynewfavoriteday,’ this is how I feel. Like I am home. Like the sense of home has finally nestled into my heart. It’s not to say there aren’t rainy days but it’s now mostly sun that shines down on my face as I turn my head to the sky in gratitude. To have found this place, to have been able to make this journey from where I started. To have so many friends, real, virtual and some mix of the two. To accept that our family is different but that make us special. To know that things aren’t always easy but as a unit and with our friends and family we can truly get through anything.
Coming Home, Diddy – Dirty Money ft. Skylar Grey
Optimism: And now, as of today, it’s the first day of a new year.
A brand new journey yet still part of a journey we started long ago. As I look forward to 2012, there are many things I want to do, accomplish, and achieve, but mostly, I just want to keep healing. To keep remembering how lucky we are, to continue to find a nugget in each day, no matter how challenging, that reminds me I am lucky to have the opportunity be alive. To have my family. To be a part of a family. To have friends who care and nurture me and us like family. To have a virtual family that has given me more than I could ever reciprocate and to continue to TRY to make each day ‘mynewfavoriteday.’ I thank you for joining me, I am honored and grateful. I hope that you will continue to join me and when, and if you are inspired, you will share and spread the movement of ‘mynewfavoriteday.’ One moment of gratitude and appreciation at a time.
Andy Grammar, “Keep Your Head Up”
Happy New Year everyone! May 2012 bring you much joy, love, hope, happiness and everything else and that this will make up many ‘newfavoritedays’ which will make 2012 be ‘yournewfavoriteyear!’
Linking up with the wonderful bloggers at Lovelinks this week! Head on over on Thursday to vote!
27 thoughts on “A Look Back and Forward at “Mynewfavoriteyear” through Music.”
I just posted this to my LinkedIn after sharing the link: This is an AMAZING blog post that you MUST read. From a woman who started a BLOG in March of 2011 about her experience of having twins with special needs 2/3 mos pre-mature…. it it, she shares so deeply and honestly her journey from guilt/devestation to recovery to strength to the beginning of this year where possibilities seem endless. She communicates it not only through her brilliant words, but through the music that has the capacity to throw us directly into someone else’s experience. It will make you grateful for your own life and compell you to pass it on to any of your friends/family who have a “different” type of child. Thank you Shannon Pruitt.
Thanks so much Krista! I am so touched that you would share this and by your words. It is an amazing gift to me and hopefully it will help just one other person who may feel like I have do in some way.
You … made me … cry.
Thank you Eric…Happy New Year to you and your family!
There is so much in this blog post that I want to read but instead I’m just left with “wow” and “strength.
A Wonderful 2012 is heading your way.
Thank you so much, and I appreciate it…I know it’s long and has SO much, but I appreciate your popping by with kind words. I am hopeful that’s true and I hope the same for you:)
It is so easy to forget or not see the positives and only focus on the negatives – I was just telling my son that the other day. The negatives aren’t the sack we are hauling around with the positives fitting neatly into a small box in our pocket – quite the opposite is true! We are the every positive thing that we give to the world and get back. The negative things are just speed bumps we need to slow down a little for. Thanks so much for sharing and reminding all of us to focus on the good, the beautiful, the wonderful that makes up our everyday existence!
I love this comment Theresa. The positives and the negatives. Things are never really so simple and if we are honest about that with ourselves and our kids from the beginning we give them a foundation. I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that with every positive thing we put out in the world we get back even though it may not be right away. Thank you for sharing and for coming by and commenting!
This was very moving because I really didn’t know your story and all that you’ve been through to get to that FABULOUS Christmas day photo – both of them – so touching. Thanks for writing it. Lovely story to read, and I am so happy for you.
Thank you so so so much. It’s cathartic in it’s own way to look back and then see that photo of them Christmas morning. Thank you for reading and thank you for your kind words. You made my day.
Loved this post. loved adelle’s song too! Thanks for posting it!
Thank you! Adele is amazing and when she sings this song it goes straight to my heart! Thank you for visiting and for reading!
You’re so full of optimism, hope and acceptance, it’s hard not to be slightly infected by your cheeriness 🙂
May the sun always shine on you and your beautiful family in 2012.
Thank you…for me it has worked out better than the alternative which for me is no way to live…:) I wish the same for you Alison! Thank you for coming by:)
I am blown away by this post, Shannon! You are an amazing mother, a courageous fighter, a beautiful woman inside and out. You are an inspiration to many with how you’ve lived your life and handled the obstacles that life has thrown on your way.
I wish you love, joy, peace, and so much more to be grateful for in 2012. Love, love, love everything about this post! Thank you for sharing it with us…
Thank you! Such lovely words and they mean a lot to me as I have tried very hard to fight my own way back and make sense of all that has happened. I wish you all those lovely wishes as well…and thanks so much for coming by, and for your very kind words!
I love the idea of not wishing backward but instead hoping forward–my first son spent 2 months in NICU (he was born weighing less than 2 lbs)–and I know full well the terror and guilt and darkness of that time. I’m delighted that you’re now able to hope forward…and I wish you joy and happiness and continued “hoping forward” (great phrase) in 2012.
Thank you Deborah. Yes, you do know…I am looking forward to 2012 and hoping the my Q and E will one day have conversations like your Caleb about their views on life!
That your children are so strong, so beautiful and so full of life is a direct reflection of…YOU 🙂 This is quite possibly my favorite “looking back at 2011” type of post. I love it. I love that you shared your special music with us and filled us in on why it is special to you. This is just such a great post for so many reasons.
You write truly inspirational words that no doubt speak to many people. They definitely speak to me. Thank you for that.
I am also inspired by music, and today I am inspired by you! Thank-you for sharing your story, your struggles, your successes and you joys. Your children are beautiful! Happy New Year to you! (Tweeted, Stumbled and +1d your post!)
Thank you Sue for everything…for the kind words, for identifying with my purpose of writing this post and for helping to spread the word. It means a ton to me! Hoping for a much happier playlist in 2012…perhaps we can collaborate:)
A collaboration would be fun!
This is more than a blog post, it is a celebration of life and all it brings us. Thanks for sharing this creative and beautiful expression of love with us!
Thank you Kimberly…I love this description…it is a celebration of all we have and the lows bring highs but you have to know them to appreciate those highs. Thanks for your thoughtful words!
I love a wide range of music so I can enjoy your selections…. Your babies are such troopers. Blessings to all of you! 🙂