A Year I Will Always Cherish: 2017

This special end of the year blog post is dedicated to my daughter, Sloan. With her arrival this year, she changed by life dramatically for the better.

As I sit here reflecting on the year, I can’t but help feel accomplished. What did I manage to do after having back-to-back-to-back banner years from 2014-2016, each one besting the one before it? Well, I went out and had a 2017 that trumped them all.

Oh Brent, don’t get cocky. Even though 2017 was perhaps the best year of all, you had little to do with it.

I can always depend on my internal conscience to bring me back down to earth while imparting truthful wisdom. What can I say? The voice inside of me is right.

As long as I live, 2017 will be an extremely special year for me. I will use it in passwords, I will make a Christmas tree ornament out of it, and if I ever decide to get a tattoo I will have those four digits inked close to my heart.

When you have your first born, especially when it is a sweet and beautiful little girl, it can turn the worst year into the best year. Even though the first quarter of 2017 was going just fine for me, when Sloan was born on St. Patrick’s Day, it elevated the year into my personal history books. And yes, as I was reminded above, I had little to do with the blessing of Sloan (at least the hard stuff, anyway). Sidney labored long and hard while Sloan fought tough to make her appearance in the world. When the operating team placed Sloan in my arms, I had to ask what did I do to deserve her?

Other blessings of the baby variety came in 2017 as well. My sister-in-law had her third child, Henry, on June 1. My sister had her first son, Johnny, exactly four months after Sloan was born on July 17. It was exhilarating to watch our extended family grow!

Speaking of blessings, I saw my parents more times over the course of the year than any of the previous years I spent in Myrtle Beach (having a grandchild will do that). My dad surprised me in Nashville at an awards banquet. Both parents visited Myrtle Beach shortly after Sloan was born, providing more support than I could ever dream of. Mom and dad also made individual trips out east as well. My little family went to Spokane twice, once in the summer and then again for the holidays.

We vacationed with Sidney’s family in Hilton Head. It was nice to spend time in such a beautiful, laid back environment considering we had all spent so much time together in hospitals over the year. Two births and some other health issues had made us regular occupants at Conway Medical Center. But the challenges grew us closer together and at the end of the year everyone is healthy.

Our faith has strengthened over the year. Observing the miracle of birth will remind you that God is amazing. We had a great 2017 at St. Andrew Parish. We said goodbye to our pastor and parochial vicar but welcomed equally excellent clerical members when Father Roger Morgan and Father Jose Quilcate arrived at our parish just prior to the Lenten season. Sloan was baptized inside the walls of St. Andrew in a beautiful ceremony as our roots as parishioners at the sole Catholic church in Myrtle Beach grew even more entrenched.

It was a year to remember at work. Our social media team won several national awards from various organizations. Our program was also analytically declared one of the best in the country as both our Twitter and Facebook accounts earned spots in the top 10 among all division I schools for engagement. Outside of my social media duties, I had the honor of writing the cover story for our fall/winter edition of Coastal Magazine. I continued to work with some excellent individuals within our University Communication department and I watched my two hardworking interns graduate.

As 2018 beckons, I am looking at a year that has no predetermined life changing events (i.e. wedding, birth of a child) that will define it. That is okay. It just means that I will have to make some of my own along the way. If a couple goals I have set don’t come to fruition it won’t be a major bummer, I know my family could use a low key and relaxing year.

But back to 2017 for just a final minute. This year was incredible, and I am thankful to everyone who played a part in it. It was one for the ages and I feel so fortunate to have lived through 12 special and life changing months. Thank you, God, for the gift of Sloan. Don’t Blink.