Tim wrote a review of 2009 (you know, like a Christmas Letter) and I was ASTONISHED at what we survived last year. The list includes:
Having another baby.
Living in 4 different cities in 3 states.
Surviving a whole-family bout of RSV--a particularly noxious strain that wipes out immune systems--while living in a tiny studio apartment in a city we'd never been in before. It was even a life-threatening illness for our newborn.
Surviving me having a life-threatening case of (probably) H1N1 while Tim was both touring and moving our family out of state.
Having extremely difficult landlords.
Having no job all year except for what gigs Tim could muster--and with the economy bottomed out, those have been fewer and pay less than before (not just for us--for all the musicians we know). It's not that he made no money. It's that adjusting to the self-employed kind of income (irregular) wasn't comfortable for me.
Living in a house in Vegas that was too small and had no working air conditioning with neighbors that were openly antagonistic and a neighborhood that was going to pot before our very eyes.
Moving (gratefully, I might add--I consider this one a blessing even though it was difficult) into our big empty house in Colorado without anything but what we could fit in the car--and living with next-to-nothing and borrowed things for the rest of the year.
Having Tim out of town A LOT (which is also good--means he 's working!).
Our first year EVER of having constant health problems (partially as a result of the immune system hit from the RSV)--first ear infections, first stitches (okay, that was early in 2010), first glasses for a kid, H1N1, RSV, bronchiolitis, Tourrette's, ADD, fibromyalgia, DSPS (Sleep disorder), life-threatening walnut allergy (or is it psyllium? We still haven't figured that one out).....there are probably more that need to be dealt with, but we haven't had insurance (or, therefore, access to medical care) since August 1.
Multiple severe distresses in the extended families on both sides.
It's not that these are all miserable trials only--moving was a blessing, having Nathanael has been a huge blessing, getting back to our own house that we own has been a blessing, Tim working is a blessing (even if it's by gigging out of state), learning all we've learned is a blessing.
It was just a rough and ragged year.
Allow me a lengthy quote from J.K. Rowling. which nicely expresses how I feel about 2009:
"Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.
Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned."