“I can’t” is a luxury

By Mir
June 8, 2012

She says “I can’t, I can’t,” and I keep telling her that she can.

And she hates me for it. (I don’t really blame her.)

I think “I can’t, I can’t,” but I don’t get to say it out loud. I get to talk to doctors, talk to the insurance, brightly assure her brother that she’s fine, just fine, they’re taking good care of her, we have to believe she’s getting better; let’s go do something fun together while I’m home; let’s see if Lemur or Mario can play!

I don’t get to “I can’t” because she needs me and because if I can’t, who can?

One foot in front of the other. Because I can until she can, herself. Even if we all know I’m just faking it.

[Chickadee is in the hospital again. I will be huddled up with the family until further notice.]


  1. Lucinda

    We love you Mir. Hang in there. You are amazing.

  2. Virginia L.

    I am so sorry for your hurt and troubles, I will keep chickadee in my prayers, you too of course!

  3. divrchk

    Wishing Chickie well soon! Don’t forget to take care of you too. 2013 is coming fast!

  4. Amy

    Sometimes you have to fake it until you can make it. You all are in my prayers.

  5. birchsprite

    Oh dear Mir, sending many hugs and much love.

  6. Aimee

    I’m sending prayers out for Chickadee and for all of you — hope she’s feeling much better very soon.

  7. KirstyB

    Love and hugs, Mir. Chickie is so lucky to have you in her corner!! And we all know that you WILL until she CAN.

  8. Crissy

    I have no words. This is a terribly tough time. I pray things get easier soon.

  9. Headless Mom

    You’ll get there. Praying!!!!!

  10. Em

    It is times like this when I wonder how you ever ever doubt your awesomeness as a mom. Take care of yourself and know there are prayers for Chickie from everywhere (most sincerely from here),

  11. Shannon

    Many vibes and prayers for all of you.

  12. Sara

    I’ll say the same thing to both of you: you can, and the proof is that you are. Right now.

    Don’t focus on forever, or next week, or even on tomorrow. Just look at what needs to be done Right Now, and do that thing. You can. Chickie can.

    Hugs to you both.

  13. Michelle

    Our kidlets are the most important thing(s) in our lives. Love on her and don’t worry about us!

  14. Mary

    I’m glad you are where you need to be – huddled with your family! We’ll all be here waiting for your return and praying for a some answers and for a speedy recovery for Chickadee.

  15. Trish

    Prayers and hugs for you and Chickie and all your family.

  16. Bakerina

    Love, love, love, love, love. (Repeat as necessary.)

  17. hollygee

    No words. May all your prayers be answered with healing.

  18. liv


  19. Keryn

    I’ll add my prayers to all the others. Don’t you worry about us–we’ll be here when you get back.

  20. Emily

    Sending love and prayers for strength, health and wholeness for you all.

  21. Beth in IA

    You can and will because you have to, but it takes a toll. Take care of yourself, as best you can, in the midst of caring for everyone else. Wish there was something your Internet friends could do but I do believe in the power of prayer so will be saying many for Chickadee and all of you.

  22. Kady

    Oh Mir. I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending lots of love and good wishes to you and Chickie.

    Is there a real Dr. House? If so, we need him now.

  23. {sue}

    Pretend like you’re someone who can do this. (stealing from Neil Gaiman)

  24. Kristi

    Fuck. I’m so sorry, Mir. I will be thinking about you and your family.

  25. Kelly

    Prayers for you and your family. I have tears in my eyes, knowing how strong you have to be right now. Huddle as long as is needed, take care of yourself and your family.

  26. Kim

    Sending prayers for Chickie and your family.

  27. Emily

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this again. Sending you and your family hugs and strength.

  28. paige

    All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

    Praying for you and your family.

  29. Randi

    Sending all my best wishes and thoughts your way Mir!!!

  30. Megan

    Yes, EXACTLY. When I got (get) people saying things like, ‘I don’t know how you do it,’ or ‘you must be so strong,’ it made me crazy because of course I can’t do it and of course I’m no stronger than anyone else. It’s not that you can do it, it’s that you must, and so you do.

    You guys are in my heart and my thoughts, you wonderful, wonderful family.

  31. Susan in SF

    What Kristi said!
    We have a flight layover today in Atlanta, so I’ll be sending you strength and courage from not-too-far-away. Hoping things turn around very soon.

  32. Jodifur

    When I was young my sister was very ill. (she’s fine now) I once asked my mom how she got through it. And she said, “you get through in life what you have to.”. It was the best piece of advice I ever got.

    You can, because you have to. And you will. I’m here if you want talk. Much love.

  33. Fairly Odd Mother

    Sending you much love. I don’t pray but, dammit, I’m praying that this gets better for you all soon. Much love to Chickadee too and hoping she can find the strength to beat this.

  34. Kate

    Praying for you all Mir.

  35. Pamela

    Praying for all of you.

  36. parodie

    Oh Mir. Prayers for you all.

  37. Jeanette

    Wishing Chickadee well and praying for your entire family.

  38. Julie

    I am in awe of you. No one could do this more lovingly. Wish there was something I could do, but am sending every ounce of strength and healing your way

  39. amy

    Thinking of you.

  40. Renee

    Praying… hugs

  41. Wendy

    I don’t know if it would help, but you certainly have enough followers on here who would be willing to write some guest posts for you if you’re worried about keeping something going on here and on some of your other sites!

  42. Jen

    I can’t go on…I must go on.

    Oh Mir. This sucks and I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that it sucks, I’m sorry that Chickie has to go through this, I’m sorry that it can’t possibly be anything remotely easy convincing Monkey, I’m sorry that we all can’t just make this better for all of you.


  43. mamalang

    I’ll add a suggestion to Wendy’s. Do you have a trusted friend that could repost some of your best of the bests from a few years ago? I know, you’re struggling, and loving on your kids and hubby is the best thing. But that might help you relieve a little of the worry for you.

    In the meantime, thoughts and prayers for you all.

  44. liz

    Sending love to you.

  45. Kathy

    I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. Parenting is hard enough when your kids are healthy. All I can offer is hugs and know that lots of people, like me, who don’t even know you IRL are rooting for you and your chickadee.

  46. Pam

    You can because you are. She is, too – she just doesn’t know it.

    And it all sucks in the middle of it.

    But you can tell US, “I can’t” – and we’ll wait for you. Because we can and we will. :)

    Love to you — xo

  47. Rebecca

    I’m so sorry your girl is struggling so much! Tons of prayers for your whole family, Mir. I hope there is a long season of health and peace in your very near future!

  48. summer

    Sometimes it’s not so much “you can” as “you are.” You ARE getting through this because there is no other choice, there’s no way out but through. But that is a hard, hard lesson even for an adult, so it’s got to be even tougher for Chickadee. I’m so sorry for her and for you and for your whole family, and I dearly wish I could somehow make things better! All I can do, though, is to send my prayers and best wishes, and to keep imagining the day when a healthy, grown-up Chickee thanks you for being her rock when she was sick.

  49. Joanne

    You can say it HERE as much as you need to. We love you, and will always offers words of encouragement. Sometime, to break the cycle of misery and terror, let yourself say “I can’t”, and go there.. into the depths of what might happen. And let us carry you, until you can come back to say “I won’t”. We might just be internet friends, but this is exactly what friends are for. Get a bottle of wine, and we’ll get ours, and we’ll sit and commiserate with you until you feel better, or at least more stable. Really.

  50. JP

    That sucky beast that is 2012 just keeps on giving. Best wishes to Chickadee, she is stronger than she knows. Like others said above, you cope because you have to, not because you want to. Your internet legions will circle the wagons, don’t worry, we are here for you even when you are unable due to time or emotional exhaustion to post. Hang in there.

  51. HG

    Oh Mir. Thinking of you all.

  52. deb

    Prayers and meditations for strength, grace, and healing going out to your family.

  53. Deirdre

    2012 is almost halfway over, so maybe the good part is coming? In the meantime more prayers and hugs headed your way.

  54. Sharon

    I’ll be praying for you and yours.

  55. bj

    So sorry. I hope you have a place where you know you can fall apart and yell “i can’t” if you need to, as well, and that someone will pat you on the shoulder and help you endure. Remember that we’re always willing to do that, virtually, if it helps.

  56. cheyenna

    You can and you are. Hugs

  57. Tarrant

    Lots of hugs from a non hugging sort to all of you–and prayers. And empathy.

  58. Little Bird

    I’m sending all the best vibes to your whole family, it WILL get better!

  59. kim

    Well, crap.
    Hoping she’s home soon. Take care of yourself, too.

  60. Heather

    Sending Chickadee healing prayers and positive thoughts. Sending you and the rest of your family prayers of healing, comfort and wisdom.

  61. Allanna

    *hugs* I hope things get better soon.
    (I mean, I know that they have to get better. I just want it to happen, like, TWO YEARS AGO. Because you’re so pretty. And you’re amazing. So I think you should only have amazing things happen for you and your family. ^_^ Of course. ^_^)

  62. Heather

    We we can’t, God can. I am praying for you all to be bathed and comforted in His light, love, healing and comfort. I am so so sorry you are all going through this. ((hugs))

  63. Crista

    Prayers and Hugs and Good Thoughts and pink unicorns being sent your way. I hope they get this figured out soon.

  64. Jan

    “I don’t get to “I can’t” because she needs me and because if I can’t, who can?”

    This is pretty much the essence of motherhood, isn’t it?

    I’m so sorry things are so very hard right now, Mir. Wishing strength for your and your beautiful girl.

  65. Karen

    Big hugs. I’m so sorry for this setback – but I pray for you and chickie that the number of setbacks in the future is numbered and dwindling. Much love to your whole family.

  66. Susie

    Go huddle. And we’ll be here when you four come through this. Don’t come back a second before you feel up to it. Hugs. Prayer. A giant vat of your favorite icecream.

  67. Tricia

    Sending you strength and sunshine. Don’t forget to eat ice cream out of the carton and hug Licorice… whatever will make *you* feel a little better so you can make everyone else feel better.

  68. Jen H.

    So sorry. Virtual Hugs and forbearance thoughts coming your way. This too shall pass…

  69. Fabs

    So sorry you all are going through this. Hang in there and give each other lots of support! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  70. Holly

    I’m so sorry, Mir!! Praying, praying, praying.

  71. Anna

    Ok, this, I get. As much as she needs prayers and hugs, I know you need it, too. And the mom is so often overlooked. I’m praying for both of you.

  72. Katie K.

    Crappity crap crap crap. This is just not fair and I am sorry. I will keep her and your family in my prayers. Take care.

  73. EG

    Oh, Chickadee. Sorry to hear for all of you. Prayers!

  74. pharmgirl

    As you should be. God Bless and virtual hugs to all.

  75. ste

    Thinking of you and your family.

  76. Cora

    I’m so sorry. All the best to you and your family

  77. Rachel

    Hugs and prayers to all of you from me in ND.

  78. Melissa

    Good thoughts headed to all of you!

  79. Karen

    If we lived in the same state I’d drop off a wheat-free lasagna with my husband’s OMG sauce, a gluten free crusted chocolate cream pie with real whipped cream topping and a big fruit salad.. with Mangos.

    Thinking of you, Love to you all from this reader in Connecticut.

  80. angela

    Yes. You. Can. We’re praying!

  81. Katherine

    So sorry you are all going through this. I hope the drs can come up with a plan (and Chickie can deal with said plan) that will keep her out of the hospital for a very long time. Take care of yourself and your family. We’ll wait however long it takes.

  82. Scottsdale Girl

    So sorry to hear this news. We all understand and hope that things turn around VERY DAMN SOON

  83. Lara

    So sorry to hear that Chickadee is back in the hospital. And I know that feeling. Hang in there! Sometimes even one day at a time is too overwhelming. One minute at a time, if need be, just keep plodding on and somehow you will all get through this. I hope you have lots of support locally cause that really helps (so I hear anyways, haven’t experienced it myself, sigh). I hope Chickie is ok and back at home driving you crazy really soon ;)

  84. Grace

    Prayers for all of you. And virtual hugs.

  85. abbiejoy

    Thinking of you, Chickee and your family. Thinking good thoughts, hoping for good progress. You will make it. xoxo

  86. KGP

    Sending good, healing thoughts your way.

  87. Tenessa

    Hugs to you and your family.

  88. Beth R

    Hugs and good thoughts heading your way. Wish we could do more to help

  89. Jamie

    Hugs and healthy thoughts! Maybe some chocolate, too!

  90. Joan Allison

    Oh dear. Praying for Chickadee and the rest of y’all.

    Please take care of yourself. You can do that, too.

  91. Jean

    But you are, Mir, you are. Sending love and prayers…….

  92. Leah

    Praying. You are a strong mama you can.

  93. RuthWells

    I think there is a lot of value in “fake it ’till you make it.”. Doesn’t make it any easier, of course. Big hugs to you all.

  94. Andrea

    You can have all of my “I can” and you can have all of my prayers too. When you can barely whisper “I can” know that all of us out here are roaring “I CAN” for you.

  95. addy

    Huddle away – as long as it takes. We will be here when you get back. Hugs are just so inadequate right now. But, it’s all I got.

  96. Sheila


  97. Jeanie

    I’m so sorry, Mir. As moms, we have super-human strength when needed, so just keep saying “I can.” You are all in my prayers.

  98. Kemi

    Oh, Mir, no. No, no, no, no, no. I’m so sorry.

    Sending you all my best thoughts and prayers.

  99. ccr in MA

    Oh, I’m so sorry! Thinking good thoughts toward all of you.

  100. Raquel

    De-lurking to say I will be thinking of you and your family. Much internet love to all.

  101. Leslie

    You’re in my thoughts, Mir!

  102. aem2

    Adding my voice to the hundred above to send hope and support across the interwebs.

  103. hallie

    I’m so sorry. Prayers to you all!

  104. Suebob

    Oh dear Mir. I wish for the best for you and your girlie. I don’t know why but your post made me think of this song, which, to me, is about relying on a greater strength when we feel weak:

  105. TC

    Whether you can or can’t, you ARE, both of you, and that’s what matters.

    Hugs. Many of them.

  106. Carmen

    I went through this with my stepdaughter. who was in and out of multiple hospitals for a couple of years.

    You can do it – I have faith in you.

    If you need an ear or a shoulder, I’m here for you.


  107. Mame

    Do you have a business address, (maybe a post office box) where we could send Chickadee get well/thinking of you cards to help distract her, without violating her/your
    privacy? My daughter has been hospitalized a few times and people were both kind and helpful, I’d be happy to have a chance to pay that forward.

  108. Kristi S

    So sorry…sending healing thoughts your way!

  109. Pam

    OMG Mir, I can’t believe it! My prayers and thoughts go out to you and the family. I know God will bless her and keep her safe. :)

  110. Krystal

    So sorry. You are in my thoughts.

  111. Rachel

    I know you don’t need another thing to do or think about but I know what it’s like to be at the end of one’s rope.

    Please, please just read this one page: http://www.gaps.me/

    Or just google gaps diet. Yes, it’s a stupid name. But tell me that you don’t see your family all over that page.

    Consider it. You’ve already cut out gluten. It might save Chickadee’s life.

  112. Ruth

    Oh, Mir. I am so sorry. Hang in and hang on.

    All my best to you and your girl.

  113. Ruth

    p.s. I’m visiting my mom, and after hitting “submit” on my comment above I walked into her kitchen and saw the Eleanor Roosevelt quote she has hanging in her kitchen … “You can do the thing you think you cannot do”.

    This has been such a tough year for your familly. Surely the tide must turn soon.

  114. jen

    sending prayers and strength to all of you…

  115. Jessica

    Mir, keeping all of you in my prayers. There’s a song that has lyrics that I always think of when life beats me down, because the lyrics remind me that being human hurts. It’s rocky and it’s jagged and sometimes it hurts like hell just to take one more breath. The hardest thing is to hold on to hope when all you feel like doing is just lying down and taking the punches life is throwing at you. We all start so small, so fragile, and we forget that growing bigger doesn’t make us any more invincible than we were in the beginning. Not invincible, no, but a helluva lot stronger than you ever imagined needing to be. Hugs and prayers.

    I don’t imagine there’s anything else this internet stranger can do, but I liked the idea that someone else mentioned of showering Chickadee with cards, so she knows there’s a huge group of people wishing her well. Hallmark helps organize card showers (I haven’t done one, so I don’t know how they work, but I thought I’d pass the info along): http://www.hallmark.com/Events/LoadAddCardShowers. I understand if you don’t have a separate, non-home address to comfortably give out to random internet peeps (if that’s required on there).

  116. sarah

    WTF??? What is wrong with her???? I can’t stand this. WTF? Just come here and we’ll get her to some new doctors.

  117. Beverly

    Oh, not fair. :(

    Sending lots and lots of prayers and good thoughts and cyber-hugs.

  118. Reb

    Oh, hell. You poor thing. Praying this nightmare will end soon and you’ll all be able to hang in there till it does.

    Don’t worry about not posting. We’ll still be here when you get back.

  119. Lisa Kay

    Dang it! I’m so, so sorry to hear this! I’ll be praying for all of you.

  120. Saskia

    Thinking of you and your family.

  121. Ickaboo

    Sometimes verbalizing “I can’t” helps. I know it sounds stupid, but I’ve found it to be true. When I lose it and completely give up, things seem to be easier to deal with. Admitting defeat makes marginal success a triumph. Sounds stupid and defeating to people in a “normal” situation, but ours is not “normal”. Allow yourself to break down from time to time.

    I have just a smidge of good vibes to spare, but you have all of what’s left. You are a tremendous mother. Your children are exceptional. Your husband is a rock. It will be ok.

    Just please take some time to sob, rip things up, and get centered. As much as I can care about an invisible internet person…I care about you guys.

    Sending every ounce of love I have,
    Bah, aka Ickaboo.

  122. Angie

    Words are so inadequate. Sending virtual hugs and keeping your whole family in my prayers.

  123. Wendy

    Sending prayers, hugs, and all good thoughts I can possible come up with.

  124. Karen

    Infrequent poster, but I just had to add to the cavalcade of positive thinking headed your way. I’m so sorry she’s back in the hospital, and so sorry you’ve been stretched too thin this year trying to keep everything together and moving forward. SO MANY positive thoughts heading your way. I hope an upswing is coming soon.

  125. suzie

    You guys are in my thoughts. S

  126. Daisy

    I hope someone is taking care of you. You’re a strong woman, and strong women often take on too much without enough support. Hugs and strength to all of you.

  127. Caroline

    Still praying for you and the fam Mir. When you feel like you can’t remember that God can and will. (((hugs)))

  128. Brigitte

    Sad about what’s going on with you and your family, but I’m glad you’re funneling your energies this way. Sending strength, love, hugs.

  129. Jenn

    I don’t know you or Chickie in person but your story mirrors our in enough ways that I feel like I can say that I am sending love and prayers and as much positive energy as I can muster your way. You can and so can she. We will wait for you. Be strong and love her as much as you can.

  130. Erin

    I’m with Kristy: “FUCK.”

    I’m with the people who said: “You CAN because you ARE.”

    Also: thinking of you and the whole family, and adding my voice to the chorus of folks expressing their love and virtual support. Words fail me, but know that you’re all on my mind.

  131. Lindsey

    Whimper. Wishing you and yours the best Mir.

  132. Joan

    A friend of mine in college was diagnosed with juvenile onset diabetes when he was 12. He didn’t take very good care of himself, and he said his mother was very upset because she didn’t think he would live past his mid 20s. I recently found out that he is very much still alive and about to turn 50 soon.
    Teenagers sometimes think that they are invincible (because they have no sense of the future) and won’t take care of themselves properly, but they grow up, and mature, and realize that what you and the doctors have been telling her all along was right, and she will do all she can to take proper care of herself. and will someday thank you for beating yourself up to do all you can. Which is not much consolation now, I’m afraid.
    Good luck.

  133. Debra

    Thinking of you & Chickie & Monkey & Otto. Sending prayers for peace & healing, strength & grace.
    You are a strong Momma Bear. You can.

  134. Katie in MA

    You can say you can’t to us all you want to; not only will we not hate you for it, we’ll completely understand and do whatever you need us to in order to help you through.

    Sending prayers and happy, calming, think-I-can thoughts to all of you. I’m here if you need anything.

  135. erika

    sending you all love and prayers.

  136. Jan in Norman, OK

    …just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

  137. Tara

    Your family is in my thoughts.

  138. Liz

    Any news, Mama? Thinking of your family and wishing you well.

  139. Tracy

    Dang it! I keep checking back to see if there are any updates. {{{hugs}}} No news is good news, I guess!

  140. Julie in Colorado (was Austin)

    Hugs and prayers to you and your lovely family Mir! You are a strong and loving Mama, and you CAN!

  141. Melody

    I’m so sorry that your family is going through this again. You can do it, not only because you have to, but because you love your baby girl more than anything. Many prayers for you and your family during this time.

  142. matinyoupi

    I don’t comment much. But I wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you and Chickadee, despite not knowing you in flesh and blood.

    I keep coming back here to “hear” good news from you about Chickadee.

    Your blog makes me appreciate a lot more my two birdbrained sloths… It’s so much easier to handle than what you’re going through…

  143. mamalang

    I had to come back and add another two cents.

    “I don’t get to “I can’t” because she needs me and because if I can’t, who can?”

    Here’s the part that you get to look at and know that you are a good mother. Because some mothers, they do say I can’t. Some kids don’t have the luxury of a mother who won’t even contemplate the option of “I can’t” when it comes to what her child needs. And though it may seem overwhelming and frustrating and drive you to the brink, you do. And that alone is proof when you need it. And someday, she will get that as well.

    Still thinking of and praying for you all.

  144. Lora

    I haven’t posted before, but have read your blog for a while. I keep checking back, somewhat obsessively, to get an update on how things are going.
    You and your family are in my thoughts. Sending you positive thoughts every day, and please know that it won’t always be this hard. The only way out is through. One step, one minute, at a time.

  145. Michelle

    Just wanted you to know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Cyber hugs from Vienna VA. . .

  146. Stephanie

    Woke up this morning dreaming of you, of this post. Not sure why. Sending strong thoughts and a little extra prayer your way today, just in case it’s needed.

  147. Deanna

    Oh Mir. Like all the others here I’ve been checking back every day to see if you guys are ok. Today something struck me. I know it’s really had to ask for help, but perhaps we can pitch in and get you a gift certificate for a housekeeping service? A bonded and insured one of course, but someone to sail in everyday and clean everything while you guys ate taking care of each other? Someone that can do the little things that you may worry about so you have more energy to focus on the family? Take a little bit of that pressure off? It’s just a thought

    I hope you and your family are weathering this storm!!

  148. Jenne

    Belatedly sending love & hugs . . . hope she is feeling better soon.

  149. Jen

    I just wanted you to know that I’ve been thinking of you and your family today, and sending thoughts, prayers and general good vibes your way. My hope for you is that you will get a chance to just take a deep breath, and that you can hold on to the fact that you are doing a great job, already, and that life will just be a little softer to you, soon.

    You are loved and missed here, and we will be here waiting when you come back.

    Peace, Mir, and a hope for a brighter tomorrow.

  150. Jean

    Hi Mir – I have also been checking in and sincerely hope that you and your family are okay. I would also like to help and like Deanna’s idea very much. Sending many, many healing thoughts and prayers….

  151. Casey

    Have been checking in and wondering how you (and Chickie) are doing. Sending lots of good thoughts and healing vibes!!! Just wanted you to know that so many of us are thinking of you!!

  152. Tricia

    Mir, just checking back to remind you that you have lots of pretty ladies here in the computer who are thinking of you and your family and hoping that you’re all doing well. Many hugs to you as you deal with Chickie being in the hospital. My fingers are crossed that she’s getting better quickly.

  153. Andrea

    Just wanted to say that you guys are always in my thoughts & prayers. Sending good thoughts & karma & ice cream your way!!

  154. Jean

    Just wanted to let you know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I keep checking back. No worries or rush, just checking to see if all is ok. (((HUGS)))

  155. Amelia

    You can. You can. You can youcan youcanyoucan.

    And you will. Praying for peace all over you.

  156. Lori in MN

    I read and comment in order…control freak, anyone? So I didn’t realize how long it’s been since we’ve heard from you, but knowing your strength and wisdom you’re doing what you need to do. We’re so lucky to have you and wIll patiently wait till you’re ready and able to share more.

  157. kapgaf

    Thinking of the four of you (no, sorry, five, how could I have forgotten Licorice?) and hoping that things are getting better.

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