Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year In Review

If I were to pick one word to describe 2012, it would be....sucktastic....lets go with "challenging." Areas of concern were uprooting my life, lack of a job, and worrying about my child.

When I was little, my grandmother had a children's book that was titled "Fortunately".  The book went something like this:

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane. 
Unfortunately, the motor exploded.

2012 could be described in this manner.

Fortunately, the Mister was offered his dream job.
Unfortunately, the dream job was located 3000 miles from our family and friends.  

We have made a friend or two.  This was a long, lonely year, for the most part.  Things are looking up: I have a circle of mom friends that are pretty cool, and Princess and Greg have some buddies from school.  Sadly, Peter's good buddy from school just moved, so....we will work on that in 2013.

Fortunately, I am ready to go back to work.
Unfortunately, I had a midlife crisis this summer over my lack of career. 

I turned 38 this year, and my birthday coincided with a meltdown of epic proportions.  I felt quite sorry for myself about my lack of a career and the lack of accomplishment in my life.  It was a hell of a pity party up in here. The fact that I was contemplating all this during a time immediately after uprooting my entire life and when I had no local friends or people to talk to mayyyy have contributed to the hysteria.

I am still on the fence about my lack of a job, a career, and any sort of external accomplishments.  I like gold stars, I like recognition, and I like people thinking that I am reasonably intelligent.  Those things are in short supply in the SAHM world.  Yes, having three kids in four years and not losing your mind is an accomplishment, but at 18 I was full of myself and how smart I was and how I would be a fabulously smart person doing fabulously smart things at 40....and that isn't quite what happened.

I hate writing on this topic--it is so tangled with people's entrenched opinions about what constitutes being a good mother.  I don't regret staying home with my kids for the past four years; I've enjoyed them and I feel it was the right move for me at the time.  And now the right move for me is to go back to work.

This is high on my list of things to accomplish next year.  Whether it be full time or part time, I need more interaction with the outside world, I need more intellectual challenge, and I need to do something that is not about my kids.

And then there was the Big Thing I Don't Blog About. My child was diagnosed with a special needs issue at the end of 2011, and that has been a huge part of 2012.

Fortunately, we live near an excellent medical center and school that deals with this specific issue.
Unfortunately, there is a waiting list and it is expensive.
Fortunately, there are a number of therapies that can help treat this issue.
Unfortunately, none of them are covered by insurance.

I have debated many, many times about whether or not to blog on this, even in such a brief way. I would love to--I could write REAMS on this issue.  I have decided largely no, I won't blog about it, because it is disclosing medical information about someone else who isn't old enough to make a decision for themselves, and my children are entitled to privacy.  So I won't tell you which child or what specific issue. But I will talk a wee bit about my feelings on the matter.

We got our diagnosis last year right after Thanksgiving.  At the time, we were living with rats, the Mister was interviewing for jobs in four different states across the country, I knew something was not right with my child, and I felt as if the ground were caving in under me. Last year's end-of-year post noted that I was not able to make resolutions because I was trying to keep my head above water and was not in a place of growth.  That feeling persisted for quite a while.

Getting a special needs diagnosis is just a label. Your kid is still the same kid that you love.  But its also an unmooring, a casting off from the shores of What I Expected and sailing your boat into unknown waters.  It is an acknowledgement of "oh crap, things are not the rosy, perfect picture I had hoped and dreamed."  At best, it can be a benefit; now you have a direction, an idea where to start researching and finding help.  It is a "thank goodness someone is finally listening to my concerns". At worst it is a paralyzing fear of "oh SHITE I am overwhelmed and I have no flipping idea what to do."

For me, much of 2012 was spent in the latter "oh shite" category.  I read and I researched and I read and we visited doctors and more doctors.  Worrying about this issue in addition to remaking my entire life has been kind of stressful.  2012 has been accompanied by an ever-present low thrum of anxiety that I can't get away from.

Fortunately, things are looking up.

We have plans in place and doctor appointments and therapy appointments and evaluations and a hope that 2013 will be better.  I am hopeful that we will get this thing figured out and this will all be a non-issue eventually.

Even if it isn't, having a hopeful attitude feels better than the swirling-around-the-drain feeling I have had for the past year.

I like things settled and predictable. 2012 was not settled in the least.  It felt like someone had picked up the box containing my life and shook it up like a snowglobe.  New things are coming together.  Good things are coming together.  It is the building the new good things and clearing the wreckage of old stuff that is the difficult part.

Life was not all terrible this year. I found a good friend. I live in a place where the weather is fantastic (returning to NJ at a snowy Christmas reaffirmed my love of the weather in CA).  My husband made a happy and fulfilling career move.  The Mister and I weathered this challenging year together. I can't imagine what this year would have looked like without his love and support.  His love was the best part of this year. Good things happened this year.

I have big dreams for next year. I am building a new life in a new place.  I've done the hard part.  The foundations are in place, now its time to raise the barn, so to speak.  I am going to find a job this year. I am going to help my kid this year. I am going to get rid of the clutter left over from my old life (literally and figuratively; I have a massive purge of our belongings planned for this year).  I am opening the door to bad stuff out, good stuff in.

I can do this. I'm good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.  (Can you tell I'm feeling a little beat up by 2012?)

I'd tell 2013 to bring it on, but my triskaidekaphobia says I should politely ask 2013 to lay it on me gently, kindly, and with as much consideration of my tender feelings as possible.

Life is good. And getting better. I hope your 2013 is filled with love and happiness.


  1. Thank you for being honest. I think that so often in blogland, we get so caught up in showing the shiny, happy side of things that we forget that life is not always ideal or even good. I always appreciate openness. I've had years like you described. And the upside is that for every rough year, a good year follows. I have confidence that 2013 is the Year of Lisa!

  2. I am sorry for your hard year. You are not alone in any of your events. Smart enough? Seriously? You are BRILLIANT! By the way, you are crazy talented, too. It really is one day at a time, and on some's hourly. 2012 was OK..not earth-shattering high or low...until, I skid on ice in my car and now have to deal with car damage. What I would give for CA weather.

  3. Living through all of that without having a total meltdown? You deserve a forehead full of gold stars. I might be biased, knowing a few things up close and personal about career crisis, uprooting, special needs diagnoses, the whole snow globe thing, but I think you've definitely earned some something good. A truckload of somethings.

    Wishing you a more settled year this time around the calendar. And hope that your career choices will leave you time to continue blogging.

  4. I agree with Ms. Amy. Thank you for being honest! I hope that 2013 is gentle and kind... full of happiness and contentment.

  5. Lisa, it was great to meet you this year (even if the event itself was challenging for this 40+ introvert). You've certainly had your share of challenges -- moving across the country is stressful enough, plus all the other issues.

    I sincerely hope we can meet up again in '13 -- whether in my old stomping grounds in the OC, or way out here in the Inland boonies. ;-)

  6. I am sorry to hear about your child' s diagnosis. My son was diagnosed with autism at age 3 & it was so devastating. You are a great mom and I know you will get through this with grace. I wish you all the best. Have a great '13!

  7. Wowza, Lisa.

    I can relate to so much of what your wrote...the overarching themes of needing stability and recognition...yep, yep, YEP.

    Best wishes for the new year :)

  8. Thank you- I really needed to read this today. It encapsulates my year to a tee. I am in the process of coming to terms with having a special needs kid, and dealing with his school, and just what you stated about leaving the land of 'What I Expected' in terms of my life and my parenting experience. And although I didn't move across the country, this all happened at the same time as I experienced what I'm calling a friend break-up, actually centered around someone I trusted saying some horrible things about that child (judgmental, ignorant) and having to disengage from our main group of friends. And with New Years I have been mulling over how to have hope that 2013 will be better, that the passing of a calendar year somehow means I'm done being kicked in the teeth by the world. But I think I'll take your vision of letting the bad stuff out the door and welcoming in good things. And focusing on the wonderful people I do have in my life, like my hubbie, and my parents, and making new friends. Thanks again

  9. Oh, Lisa. I'm so sorry for such a sucky 2012. It certainly sounds like you have the right attitude for 2013! Here's to a better year this time around!

  10. Lisa, I'm so sorry I did not see this post earlier. My heart was hurting for you as I read this. I wish I could come through the computer and give you a hug. I know a friend in Nashville is not the same as a friend next door but please count me in the mix. I really pray for positive things for you and your family in 2013. I know it will be a better one. - Brandy


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