“The time has come. The time is now. Just go…go…GO! I don’t care how.” (Marvin K. Mooney, Dr. Seuss)
It’s that time of year again, when people make wonderful promises for the next year and ring the old year out with acclaim. Not for me. As far as I’m concerned, 2016 can slink out of the house like a teenager trying to avoid their parents’ curfew. It’s been a hard year for many reasons – personal reasons – that had nothing to do with the national situation or global situation at all.
Take yesterday. I spent yesterday afternoon in the ER. All afternoon – how’s that for fast service? It wasn’t a complete waste of time, because they ran a test that proves I’m not insane. It’s not all in my head after all – there really is a reason for all the pain I’ve been going through. Apparently my body hates me. But, at least I’m not a hypochondriac. I can wave this test in everyone’s faces and proclaim “see! I’m not making it up!” (because two autoimmune diseases wasn’t enough, apparently.)
Even though it’s hard, I’ve learned something about myself. Something truly important. You see, I’m strong. Not physically, goodness knows, but I’m tough. We’re tough. This year has dealt blow after blow, and we’ve managed to weather it and stay a strong family despite it all.
This year we’ve had 3 surgeries (2 adult, 1 kid) and 2 new, life-altering diagnosis for me. The Engineer kept spiraling down..down…down…until we thought it would never get better. The Destroyer proved that he can top his big brother in the rigidity category, and is headed for his own diagnosis workup and therapies. We wrecked the car. I spent 2 weeks being mom with an undiagnosed fracture. We weathered not 1, but 2 insurance changes right at the worst possible time: the car accident. I found out that my preconceived notions for all three kids’ school level was woefully wrong. Our roof was defective: not just bad, but defective.
If I’m honest, I can say that I don’t expect 2017 to be a great improvement on 2016. I have to figure out how to live without being in agony. We have to keep the Engineer on track and find out what’s going on with the Destroyer. And I have to teach – hopefully better than I’ve been doing.
We’ll make it. We’ll do what we’ve been doing: take each day one step at a time. We might have to suspend therapies until the insurance company gets with it, or we might have to go into financial hunker-down until the accident settlement pays out to cover the medical. Whatever it is, we can do it.
If you had told me that all of this would have happened in one year when I was 20, I think I would have laughed it off. No way I could do all of that and stay sane! No way I could stand up and change diapers and fix lunch for little kids when all I wanted to do was to curl up in pain. I would have told you “I’m not that strong.” But I am.
There are depths of courage and strength within you that you might never discover until you’re forced to. It’s not pleasant. It’s not fun. It’s not what I wanted to do, for sure, but I’ve discovered that I am capable of so much more than I thought I was.
I’ve read so many desperate posts by people in situations like mine. People who are dealing with their world collapsing, who are watching their children fall apart before their eyes. They don’t think they can do it. Not one more day of this, not one more desperate situation. Well, I’m here to say you can.
Just like me, you have a strength in you that you might not realize. You can stand up, do what you need to do, and be there for your children. It takes courage. It takes self-sacrifice. It takes all you have to give. It’s not easy and it’s not pleasant, but you CAN do it!
So if you’re like me, and you’re dreading what this new year could possibly bring, take heart. Whatever it brings you can handle. One day at a time, one step at a time, you can do this. You know why? Because you’re strong. Stronger than you know.
So goodbye 2016. May the next year dawn cold and clear, with promises for tomorrow.