2013, man. Twenty. Thirteen.

By Mir
January 12, 2012

In 2010, Monkey had a seizure, and I spent about three weeks completely convinced that he had a brain tumor. Otto and I lay in bed at night, holding hands, talking quietly about the “what if”s and sometimes about nothing very important, just because neither of us could sleep and it was comforting to whisper in the dark, together. Then the flu tore through the house the next month, causing us to cancel our holiday trip, and our battle cry became “2011!” As in, “2011 is gonna be our year!”

Well, 2011 was good in that we found out that Monkey didn’t have a tumor and wasn’t dying. That was VERY good. But he did stay out of school for about a month, before/during/after surgery, and then there was the whole ZOMG WHERE IS HE GOING TO SCHOOL NEXT YEAR thing, and other stuff happened, and blah blah blah, whatever; we changed the rallying cry to “2012! That’s going to be our year!”

We were about 5 days in to the new year when Otto changed it to “2013! 2013 FOR SURE!” And Otto is the optimist in this couple, as you know, so… things are Not Good.

I’m worried about Otto. If ever there was a rock of a man, it’s my husband. He thrives under pressure. He’s the one who Fixes and Stays Calm and Does What’s Needed. His armor rarely cracks. Right now I look at him and see an ever-expanding field of hairline fractures. Too many people he loves are struggling in ways he can’t fix. Too many losses loom large.

I’m worried about Monkey. Perversely, I’m worried about him because he’s actually doing FANTASTIC at the moment. He doesn’t know yet that several changes are coming that none of us want, that will likely send him into a tailspin. I don’t ever want to tell him. I want to tell him right away and get it over with. I want things to be different and I want the world to stop changing every time we get him to a good place.

I’m worried about Chickadee. I say things to her she refuses to believe. She’s deeply cocooned in that dark teenage self-absorption that whispers lies and insists they are truth. I make her look me in the eye while I tell her that depression lies, anxiety lies, I DO NOT LIE, I love you more than anything, when have I ever lied to you? And then I add “And don’t say Santa Claus, that doesn’t count.” Sitting on my lap, scrubbing at tears on her cheeks, she squeaks, “Easter Bunny.” We laugh together, just for a moment. For a moment I know I can still reach her. I hold her close. I murmur that it’s not true that she’s never been happy, it’s only true that she’s not happy RIGHT NOW, and I promise she will be happy again. Don’t believe the lies, I tell her. What I mean is “Don’t give in. We are fighting for you and you have to believe it will get better. Stay with me.” I watch her vent her anger and frustration with the ones she feels she cannot talk to on the ones who love her the most, watch her cut wide swaths of hatred with her words, and I know it’s because deep down she knows she is safe, but I hurt for all of us. Mostly for her.

I’m worried about Otto’s mom, who is back in the ICU. I’m worried about Otto’s siblings, and the late-night phone calls to discuss paperwork and what was said to whom when. We joke that Otto’s mom has even more than the nine extra lives of a cat, and that if anyone says, “Remember when we thought she was going to die?” the only appropriate response would be, “Which time?” But then silence hangs between us as we consider the reality, which is that one of these times isn’t going to end that way. Maybe this time.

I’m worried that each year we’ll look to the next, forgetting to savor what’s right in front of us, albeit squashed in-between the various stressors and concerns. I’m worried that 2013 might never come; not in the actual sense, of course, but in the “looking back, that was a great year” sense. There has to be a way to find our footing even while all of the rest of this is happening. It feels like I should know how to do that. It feels like my own personal Groundhog Day, like until I figure this out, these “challenges” will continue heaping on, cosmically prodding me to find that magical way of bending under strain without breaking.

All I know right now is that there’s a whole lot of 2012 to get through before we get to that mythical, perfect 2013.

If you could spare a prayer for my mother-in-law, I would really appreciate that.


  1. Navhelowife

    Praying for her, and for you and for the whole kit and kaboodle. I lost my mom this past year, and then had to tell my kids that their grandpa (My Dh’s dad) is dying of mesothelioma. I know about hairline fractures of the soul, and about all that goes with that. Sending prayers for peace and love, and comfort.

  2. The Other Laura

    You and your whole lovely family and are in my prayers. Sending a thousand good thoughts.

  3. Cindy

    I’m praying for you, your family and especially your MIL. Life is hard, isn’t it? Sometimes when it is really sucking hind tit, I just put this thought on repeat: God is good, all the time. (at my church we say that and then go: and all the time, God is good…it’s a comfort thing I guess.) God can use things we never think possible and for me, a big part of faith is holding on to that knowledge in the tough times.

  4. divrchk

    Mir, I’ll send some good vibes to ALL of you! I hope you make it to the other side as unscathed as possible.

  5. Julie

    I will keep all of you in my prayers. Life, it just keeps coming.

  6. Forgotten

    Oh, sweetie. I want to wrap your whole family up and hold you until it gets better.

    You know as well as I do that storms pass and through it all nothing has kept you down. I don’t usually comment. I read and I listen and I nod my head but I rarely comment because you sum things up so well that I’m generally at a loss for words.

    Today I want to help. I want you to reach out, take the hands being offered to you, and breathe. I want you to look around you and find the good. Please do not keep looking at all that is bad right now. There is too much and you need to find your spotlight of happiness. I know you see it. You’re probably even slightly cracking a smile right now thinking of the first little ray of light that popped into your mind. Hold on to it, dear heart. You will get through this and come out stronger. Otto will get through this and come out stronger, too. Chickadee can make it through the teens. Do you remember how hard the teens were for us? She will get there and see past it and then laugh about how dramatic it all seemed. Monkey has amazed me over and over with how strong he is. He’s a fighter, that little guy is.

    Your family is in my prayers, all of them from your MIL to you. You can do this. I *know* you can. ((HUGS))

  7. Jean

    Mir, my heart aches for you. Lots of prayers coming your way and your MIL’s way too. Hang in there…

  8. Jen


  9. RebeccaF.

    I am so sorry for all you and your family is going through right now. Praying for you all, lifting you up… Pray without ceasing, Mir!

  10. Sheila

    Keep your face to the light. Sending good vibes and thoughts for you all.

  11. JennyA

    Hugs and good vibes….

  12. Stimey

    Sending good wishes and thoughts to your mother in law.

    I’m sorry things are so sucky right now. I caught right there too and it’s hard to see that not only does it get better in the long run for teenage girls, but that it gets better for many of us. Hang in there. Maybe you can look back on 2012 as “that year that started out terribly, but ended up being pretty awesome.” We can only hope. Love to you.

  13. Katie in MA

    Saying lots of prayers for all of you, right out loud.

    And don’t worry (ha!) about not savoring the moment and always looking forward. You savor each happy moment even MORE because of the sometimes-crap you weather. There’s an archive of proof that you do.

    Another happy moment will roll around. Fissures will mend. Clouds will pass. Sucktastic weeks will pass. And Monkey will keep finding his groove. I don’t know anyone who had an entirely good (or even mostly great) year. And if they think they did, they have a very short memory.

    It’s okay to worry a little. Because to me it looks like you’re all leaning on each other, and if that doesn’t make a tight-knit family, I don’t know what does.

    Sending prayers and hugs and chocolate…

  14. Lucinda

    Praying for your mother-in-law, of course. But also….hairline fractures…that really hit me. You see, he may have more to worry about, there may be more pressure, but he has more people to love now and that wouldn’t have happened without you. He also has more to hold him up, make him smile, create memories with. Also, not so much without you and Chickadee and Monkey. I’m willing to bet it’s a price he’d gladly pay over and over again.

    You’ve had some tough times and I know this blog only shows a snippet of your life but I’ve been reading for years and I’ve always walked away with the sense that you seize every moment you can and make it count BECAUSE there is so much struggle. So quit beating up yourself. You are doing the very best you can and I’m willing to bet there will be a moment or two that makes 2012 worth the pain.

  15. Hally

    You know how the internet is meant to be all secretive and anonymous to world? You are not…you are *our* Mir…and when you struggle (or your family) this little internet family of yours rallies and swarms behind you with gluten free pizza and somewhat healthy food for the kidlets, fruit for Licorice and BBQ sandwhiches for Otto. (does he even like bbq?) Whatever, but we’re here, Mir…1,000+ strong (accdg to FB) and we’re lifting you all up.

  16. Arnebya

    You got it. And I hope everything works out for everyone, really I do. I think we can still make 2012 be great; it’s still full of possibility. We won’t let ourselves fall for the lies that depression and anxiety whisper to us. We will not succumb to the sometimes shitstorminess life can throw at us. We will win. Hold on.

  17. Mom24

    Definitely praying for all of you. I’m sorry things are so hard right now. Thank you for your honesty. It helps so much not to feel like the only people who struggle. I hope Chickadee finds peace soon and that Monkey weathers the changes and that Itto’s mom has another miracle up her sleeve.

  18. Tracy B

    I want to say exactly what Forgotten said. Our God doesn’t bring to you a storm that he hasn’t already passed through. Just hold on to the fact that He’s right there…trust Him and He will help you! Praying for you and your entire family! {{{hugs}}}

  19. Gwen

    Oh, Mir, I am so sorry for all of it. What a harsh way to start 2012. Hugs for everyone who wants some, and prayer that these things will turn, as the year does, back towards the light.

  20. Grace

    Prayers for you all.

  21. Jamie

    Hugs and prayers and happy thoughts coming your way! Hoping all works out for the best in quick time!

  22. {sue}

    Mir, my heart breaks for you all. I wish there was a way that we could collectively will it all to be better, but if that were possible, I know you would have already done it. Just know that you are doing an amazing job with your kids. Amazing. That’s what they need most – a fierce and unfailing advocate.

    Prayers for Otto’s mom. I know that stress as well.

  23. Ann from St. Peter MN

    I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers!

  24. Amy

    Prayers for you all. And virtual hugs, too.

  25. Christy

    Definitely praying Mir. Hang in there and things will get better. One of the things my husband and I talked about the other night was “staying present” – the idea that we need to not always be forty-six steps ahead of where we are right now. Not easy (or even possible) sometimes, especially with anxiety and things that are crazy….but I will pray that for at least a couple of moments each day you get to be present – be present with your kids and with your husband and in your world. Remember that what you told Chickie is true for you too. It won’t always be this hard. Much love and many prayers.

  26. elz

    Heck, I’ll pray for you all! That’s all I can say.

    That and big hugs.

    And, you’re very pretty and funny and smart.

  27. Alison C

    Prayers for ALL the family xx

  28. Em

    Thinking of you all and don’t forget I am in the Boston area if there is anything I could help with. With all of these prayers from commenters, only good things can happen, right? (Don’t answer that.) I hope good things start to happen.

  29. abbie

    Thinking of you and your family. Those are tough things to deal with, esp all at once. xoxo

  30. Megan

    You’ll be in my heart and thoughts – all of you.

  31. Golden

    You all are in my thoughts, Mir.

  32. emily

    Mir, I don’t comment often, but I look forward to your posts everyday. I will be praying for you and your whole family. Peace for Otto, and the knowledge that it is ok, sometimes, to not be the strong one. That Monkey will be able to take the coming changes and figure out how to make his world work in whatever new ways it has to (from your words it seems that although he sometimes struggles mightily fitting into the world that he is a remarkably resilient boy once he has the time and emotional space to work through things). Wisdom for Chickadee – her age is such a tough and turbulent one – she is lucky to have a mom who is looking after her so well and giving her all the love she will accept. Healing for your MIL and wisdom for her doctors. Most of all, Mir, I pray that you will remember to take care of yourself through all of this, when it is so much easier to remember to take care of everyone else. You can’t do them any good if you are not also being kind to yourself.

  33. Aimee

    Sending up a prayer right now.

  34. Tenessa

    Thinking of you guys. Look to the east and watch for the dawn. It always comes.

  35. Jenne

    Sending prayers, love and hugs to all of you.

  36. hollygee

    You’ve got it!

  37. liz

    Thinking of you all and sending hugs and kisses.

  38. Katie K.

    Prayers from here too. I am so sorry things are rough right now.

  39. Sassy Apple

    Ditto x 37

  40. sonia

    Why/how are things going to change for Monkey?

  41. Chris

    (((hugs))) and peace to you guys.
    Prayers being said for Otto’s mom. You guys are good people. Hoping things turn around for you soon.

  42. Billie

    Thinking of you all.

  43. parodie

    Praying for you, Monkey, Chickadee, Otto & family. Perhaps The Bloggess’ posts on the lies our brains can tell us might help? Though since you’re using that language already I’m guessing you’re familiar with them. Good luck.
    Prayers for peace for your MIL.

  44. Debbi

    That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger … pretty lame, in the whole scheme of things, but Jimmy Buffett used it in a song called “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” one I turn to when life looms large. Sending you light and adding you to my prayers.

  45. Nancy

    Hugs…and prayers for you and your family.

  46. Crista

    I’m sorry. Prayers and more prayers for the whole family~siblings and mother-in-law included.

  47. Beth R

    Another member of the “good thoughts and love being sent your way” group reporting for duty, m’am!

    Hugs to everyone and a good scruffle to Licorice.

  48. Melissa

    Good thoughts for all of you!

  49. Sharon

    I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Sometimes we get through life one minute at a time.

    May the days get easier as time goes on ~

  50. Sherri

    My prayers are with your entire family.

  51. pam

    Prayer done, for all…

  52. Headless Mom

    Saying a prayer for all of you, my friend. xo

  53. Little Bird

    If that which does not kill us, makes us stronger, then there should be an entire stadium full if us invincible folk!
    May every year continue to get better, Mir. It may not get easier, but it’s GOT to get better!

  54. Steph

    I will pray for your mother in law, and for your family. Blessings.

  55. Jeanie

    A prayer has been sent for all of you. I understand your worries. I really do. I’m a huge worrier myself. Just like you tell Chickadee, things WILL get better.

  56. Katherine

    Prayers being sent for you all. I hope that things unfold in the best possible way.

  57. addy

    I wish there was more I caould do for you all, Mir. Prayers and love.

  58. addy


  59. Chris

    You are all stronger than you think and my thoughts and prayers are with your family in these trying times. I hope you can take some comfort in sharing your challenges with people who really care (even if over the internet). and that for those of us going through our own challenges, seeing someone else admit to struggles but who always comes out on the other side is a true, true comfort.

  60. Jessica

    Praying is the one thing I can do for everyone who asks, so you can have my prayers any day. Hugs to all of your family and fervent prayers for peace, comfort, wisdom, and health.

  61. jen

    hugs, prayers and good thoughts… for all of you

  62. Mary

    Prayers for you, your mother in law and your whole family.

  63. Paula Bronander

    Sending happy vibes your way and some mortar to patch up some of Otto’s cracks.

  64. mamaspeak

    I pray that things are not a dismal as they seem. I pray that Chickee & Monkey will respond in positive ways that will surprise you all. I pray that Otto’s mom will have a quick & full recovery. I pray that you and Otto will get to take a deep breath & relax.
    I find that doggie hugs can do wonders. (A glass or two of wine & chocolate probably won’t hurt either.)

  65. Lise

    Sending you many good thoughts of a return of optimism for Otto, and healing for his mom, and stability for Monkey, and help for Chickadee. And for peace and strength for you.

  66. Brigitte

    I show my love with food, so I am currently showereing your whole family with cookies that you can magically eat too. In my thoughts, anyway, along with the prayers.

  67. Sheri

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I wanted to let you know I’m praying for her, and for your family. I have been reading your blog for about a year, and I felt an instant connection because of the kid stuff you deal with that is so similar to what I deal with. Mainly with Chickadee; I have two teenage boys and I firmly believe that middle school and pretty much all of the teen years can be deep, dark holes of despair, for the teen and for the parents. This is hard, harder than potty training ever pretended to be, and the consequences are much more serious. I’m not exaggerating when I say it feels like I’m walking a minefield many, many days, one step away from serious disaster and harm. I know it will pass, and most of the time I know we will all be stronger and better for it when it does pass, but omg it does seem like the better days will never get here!

    All that to say, my heart goes out to you. If its any comfort, know that you are being prayed for and that you are definitely not alone in your struggles.

  68. Cara

    “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -Christopher Robin.

    I am praying for you all.

  69. Kailani

    You are loved. You are not alone. You will overcome.

  70. s

    wishing you virtual strength and hugs for the whole family. I’m with you – sometimes I think when will life turnaround and give some relief…how can we not just slog and muck our way through days looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow and enjoy life amidst the chaos and uncertainty and meltdowns and school crisis…and I think wow, did my parents feel the same way or do we now just think we should be able to wave magic wands and FIX everything? wish we could find some of those wands – I would share it with you!

    Hope that your MIL is ok – hard stuff.

  71. Nancy

    Prayers, Prayers and more Prayers.

  72. Traci


  73. Heather

    Sending you prayers and all kinds of love <3

  74. Lee

    Don’t know how I ended up here…just surfing around and here I am, and love it here…and this post is sounds like every year I have had for so many years. This year I just said to my mother when she said…this is going to be a better year, I just said…this year may we just live to see the next year. Let’s not push our luck. And, who knows, maybe that’s all we can ask for and then we end up with more than we bargained for?


  75. NTE

    Boy, did I understand too much of this. I am thinking of you, and your family, and hoping that 2012 turns itself inside out to be a better year for you all.

  76. All Adither

    Sending positive vibes and healing thoughts your way, Mir.

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