Friday, May 07, 2021
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A Framework of Each Other
Reflecting on My Daughter's First Year of Life

Aubrey in front of the Happy Birthday sign
Cupcake smash to celebrate

My daughter turned 1 Year Old this past week, and I have been on an emotional journey of reflection as a result. One whole year with her in my life, and I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. An entire piece of me has grown and developed before my own eyes this year, and it has changed me every day. I’ve grown more than I ever expected, and I have my little crazy family unit to thank for that. As difficult as it is to do in the year 2020, this reflection on her life has been eye-opening to me. From understanding her own development, to reassuring my belief in my abilities as a Father and Step-Father.

Growth Can Be Shared

Collage of pictures with my Step Kids
We knew we meant a lot to each other, but learn more every day about HOW much we mean to each other.
Over 3 and a half years ago, I stepped into my role as a “Step-Father.” The two kids I took under my wing were instrumental in shaping my understanding of the world around me. The work that we put into building a family unit has been unmatched elsewhere in my life. They’ve helped me grow exponentially, allowing more room under my wings. Last year, we welcomed a new addition to the family. Our little girl was born, and every member of our family has grown with her over the last year. Any family unit consists of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but we have built a solid framework around us to hold us together forever.
A Framework of each other. 
As she was introduced to the world around her, her oldest sister was introduced to the First Grade – and subsequently torn from the classroom due to the pandemic. Her brother, hasn’t grown very much vertically, but he has grown into so much of his own person, with his own opinions. (For better or worse.) We all got to watch her grow over the last year, and it helped inspire each of us to fight harder. One year later, and little Aubrey-Rose is starting to physically get her feet under her. Little does she realize, she was the feet we needed under us. 
Serena and Aubrey-Rose
The love between these two is undeniable and unbreakable
Her oldest sister, Serena, while removed from school, has gotten to show her true Mother Hen traits. With pent up energy, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, she became the perfect Tour Guide for Aubrey-Rose. Keeping the motivation for learning alive without a school structure proved to be difficult, but she embraces her mentor position, and has deepened her own knowledge in order to pass it down more effectively. This has given her a new, unmatched confidence in herself that will help propell her into this new school year filled with unknowns.
Her older brother, Logan, has had quite a transition of a year. He reached 4 years old, and combined with becoming a “big” brother, took the helm of maturity (In a 4 year old sense of the word). While in a sense he is more ‘defiant’ at this point, it is simply him testing any and all limits in order to figure out the world. He’s finally diving head first into things without the guidance of his older sister, and carving his own path and providing his own answers – however wordy and rambling they may be. He has ditched diapers for good at our house, is always on the hunt for new Math problems, and has more questions than he knows how to ask. (He thinks me and Mom are magic because we know all the answers)
Another point of growth this year is Amber’s belly. What I mean by that hilariously blunt statement (Sorry hun) is that we have another little one on the way! Ambitiously, we have decided we want to be even further outnumbered, and are adding in one more hooligan. While Aubrey-Rose continues to grow, develop and progress, I have a feeling she will fall gently into her big sister role just as easily as the others have. I can not wait to see how she interacts with a new addition, and I impatiently invite the growth that will inevitably come along with each step of the way. 

It Was Not Easy, and Nothing Went to Plan

After she was born, and I had a few days to recoup (ie SLEEP), I released the article “Welcome Aubrey-Rose” and I ended it with this passage:
    It was not easy, and nothing went according to plan, but this birth was perfect. We now have another beautiful girl in the family, with a beautiful name. I will take today and everyday to celebrate Amber for the fight she showed every step of the way,     all to welcome Aubrey-Rose.
All 3 Kids on a Journey
What a beautiful disaster of a year. Another one lined up.
The exact sentiment is even more true one year later. This has not been an easy year. We had a lot of plans set up for this year, and not a single one of them happened. Yet, our family has been so perfect and beautiful. From the pandemic, to multiple family losses, and even the loss of the place we call home – I’ve had to work incredibly hard to fend off the feelings of ‘failure’ this past year. The negative thoughts casting me in such light seem to creep up consistently, but they fade away whenever I take a step back to soak in the beauty of my family. 
Happy Birthday Aubrey-Rose. Thank you for making us all stronger, more passionate, loving people. 

Anthony McGuigan
August 2020

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