Ezra,  Family,  Little Brother,  Motherhood,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings,  Special Needs Parenting

Why 2017 was messy and weird and what I’m looking forward to in 2018

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It’s New Year’s Eve (like you didn’t already know) and we are on the brink of 2018. I’ve recently signed up as a DaySpring affiliate (which I’m super excited about, BTW). They recently put out this “Word of Truth” quiz that’s supposed to pinpoint your “one word” for the year. I found this both intriguiging and a little hokey because I always felt like the whole “one word” trend (at least for me) was more of a Holy Spirit given thing and a little less of a thing you can determine from the equivalent of a BuzzFeed quiz. (No offense DaySpring, I still love you.)

So I took the quiz and I was immediately frustrated because, much like a BuzzFeed quiz, I ended up picking answers that were the best fit but really not that great of a fit at all. Basically, the idea behind the quiz is to wrap your thoughts and feelings about the prior year and the goals you have for the New Year around a central theme. Which is great in theory, but life is messy.

I picked a “one word” last year and it was pretty much a flop. But that’s okay.

But I’ve been in this awful funk and so trying to pigeonhole my thoughts about 2017 around these central themes was like trying to pour the contents of a lava lamp into a pretty teacup.

So here’s some thoughts I have about 2017 – why it was messy and weird:

Negative: January sucked – including a week of snow days and landing in the ICU with sepsis after an untreated UTI

Negative but also kind of positive: I realized I have OCD tendencies

Positive: I turned 30

Negative: I totally did NOT lose 30 pounds. #turn30lose30totalfail


Negative: Moving into a new house is a lot of lot of lot of lot of lot of lot of work. And money. And anxiety attacks on certain family members who don’t do well with change, like, at all.

Positive: RUSS GOT A PROMOTION!! Like a big one with a pay bump and new responsibilities and title and everything.

Negative: RUSS GOT A PROMOTION – which meant training, and more training, and 5 weeks in Baltimore, and lots and lots and lots and lots of panic attacks, and trips to the psychiatrist to get on more/different meds. And more training. And more panic attacks. And finally settling into his new job 4-6 months later.

Positive: RUSS WAS GONE FOR 5 WEEKS. Which, as his caregiver, the respite was much-needed. The house was (a little bit) quieter, and I had all of my evenings to myself. My best friend (since 2009 that I’d never met in person) was able to come spend a week with me–having an outsider’s perspective on life inside our walls was invaluable and helped to renew my vision for motherhood.

Negative: RUSS WAS GONE FOR 5 WEEKS. Which meant solo parenting. Also, I DID miss him. A lot.

Positive: I splintered my one Facebook page into four, growing my Facebook audience from just under 2K to about 25K which is incredible growth and opportunity for influence that I didn’t dream was possible in just a short time.

Negative: Maintaining and growing four Facebook pages is a LOT of work. A lot a lot a lot a lot. A LOT. Did I mention, a lot?

Negative: We got kicked out of the VA Caregiver Support Program – a loss of a $500/month stipend and no-monthly-premium healthcare – because my husband is “doing better” enough to hold a full-time job and a promotion.

Positive: A few weeks later, a virtual-assistant job paying $400/month landed in my lap, along with training for affiliate marketing, which is now bringing in more income than I had through the Caregiver Program.

Negative: Affiliate marketing PLUS virtual-assistant PLUS blogging PLUS maintaining four Facebook pages is a LOT of work. A lot a lot a lot a lot. A LOT. Did I mention, a lot?

Positive: I added 18 credits toward my associates degree maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Negative: I had to drop my summer courses. Also school PLUS affiliate marketing PLUS virtual-assistant PLUS blogging PLUS maintaining four Facebook pages is a LOT of work. A lot a lot a lot a lot. A LOT. Did I mention, a lot?

Are you sensing a theme here? 

Positive: Ezra is doing SO well in school. SO SO well. He’s a first grader doing 3rd grade reading, and 2nd grade math. The consistency of having a great team, class, and peers from K to 1st (and he will continue into 2nd) has stabilized his behavior and the academic challenge keeps him focused. He’s doing so well as well in regular education that they are changing his designations and percentage times. So now he’s considered to be a regular education student with special education being considered “resource” – with a higher percentage of time in regular education (starting this December) and a lower percentage of time spent in special education.

Negative: Seeing the words “emotional disability” on his paperwork. Coming to grips with what that really means for him, long term. Having him screened and diagnosed with severe separation anxiety, and adjusting my expectations accordingly. Having ongoing physiological / sensory / behavioral issues at home which we are finally pinpointing as GI distress due to severe constipation. Trying to treat this while it continues to be severe and chronic. Having his LPC finally bring up autism as a potential diagnosis (after nearly 4 years of providers, therapists, psychologists, counselors, teachers, and more insisting that he does NOT have autism) – pursuing referrals for testing for autism (for summer of 2018). Trying to come to grips with what this means for him long-term.

Positive: Switching outpatient therapist to a new LPC who sees our entire family, in home, on the weekends.

Negative: Having our new outpatient therapist second our old outpatient therapist on the autism thing. Trying to adjust our parenting styles and expectations accordingly. Continuing to struggle at home to love him, parent him, to know what’s autism (maybe), what’s sensory, what’s anxiety, what’s constipation, and what’s just a kid being a defiant little kid. 

Positive: LB continuing to be our relatively-easy, chill, calm, happy, musical, precocious, funny little child. Having our boys bond and play together (still parallel, but they are getting there).

Negative: Even for chill kids, two is a hard age. Also, potty training.

Negative: Me or one of the boys, or both, or all of us have been sick off and on since before Thanksgiving. Which is possibly an eensy-teensy part of the reason why I’m in such a funk.

Lava lamp in a teacup my friends. SO much good. So much messy. So much work. So much tired. 

So here’s what I’m looking forward to (and not looking forward to) in 2018:

Looking forward to:

Nothing. As in no big changes on the horizon. No new babies. No new school changes. No new teachers. No job changes. No new churches. No moves. No new Facebook pages. (I promise!) Just homeostasis for a change. I really have no idea what that even feels like.

Trying to get back into a regular blogging (as in actually WRITING for a change) schedule.

Enjoying our house, our yard, our neighbors, our pool, and life being calm for a change.

Continuing to grow my affiliate business and Facebook audience, which hopefully will be a little less work going forward, now that I’m more established and know what the heck I’m doing.

Continuing to grow in God (more on that to come, soon…ish) and hang out with our awesome church family whom I haven’t seen in weeks due to illness.

Working less. Sleeping more. Period.

Not looking forward to:

Continuing to struggle with weight, anxiety, dietary problems, food allergies, and IBS (me).

Continuing to struggle to know how to be a mom to Ezra when I feel so inadequate, all the time.

Continuing to figure out what to feed my family – working around my allergies, Ezra’s allergies and sensory issues, and ongoing constipation issues for the boys.

Biology (as in the class I’ve spent the last 2 years putting off and have decided to take spring semester).

LB turning three. Three was when things got REALLY hard with Ezra and, if I’m honest, I’m scared as crap.


So there you have it. No one word this year. No resolutions. No neatly wrapped vision for 2018. Just me (in a bad funk), always and ever seeking God’s beauty in my mess.

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