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Bella had a complete meltdown the other day after school.  She had gotten into it with a friend after doing the old “oops, what’s on your shirt” nose flick trick on her.  Apparently people, and specifically Bella’s friend, aren’t fans of being pranked.  Combine that with a load of homework and she didn’t hold it together (or get the homework done) by the time I had to go to my match.  This season Bella has been going with me to home matches as Joe has Jiu Jitsu and she hates to tag along.  Well, when she realized that she couldn’t go…she lost it.  I mean, she lost it.  We are talking a complete lava of emotion.

Joe is doing quite well…except with his sister.  I get it, many of you are probably rolling your eyes as you peel your children off of each other and bandage another sibling induced wound (hopefully figuratively), I know that my kids love each other very much. However, it is incredible how often I find Joe saying or doing something that just isn’t nice or the least bit loving to Bella.  Given that the right/emotional side of the brain doesn’t fully meld with the rational/left side of the brain until 22 or so, I understand when I ask Joe why he has done something and he responds every so blankly, “I…don’t…know.”  He really has no idea.

My health continues to be fine but somewhat variable.  Really, only about 6 months ago (was it only that long ago) I found out that my thyroid was completely shot.  I had a complete health turnaround as I began taking meds to replace the function of my thyroid.  For years I hypochondriacally worried that I had x,y, and z at any given moment (never all that seriously believing that but able to work up a fret from time to time).  To finally know that something was wrong (explaining my fatigue, weight gain, and other issues) without it being catastrophic was a relief.  Now, getting my body into one harmonic state of being continues to be a challenge as we try to find the right dosage of medicine and adjust to life with an autoimmune condition (that’s what attacked my thyroid).  However, I can still spiral into a “what’s going on now” thought chain at any given moment.  I’ve learned a lot about my body through this diagnosis.  Unchecked, it can just be a lot of fodder for further self obsession.

I am no fool.  I am not about to put Rachel’s business out on front street.  Why stop now you ask?  Fair enough.  Safe to say, her life is never underwhelming.  Very often it isn’t even whelming.  Am I intimating that it can be OVERwhelming?  You said that, I didn’t.  In all seriousness, she is a rock, great wife and amazing mother.  Yes, from time to time things pile up around her.  She is occasionally daunted at what life has to offer us.

So I say all of that to say what?  Bella said that after her meltdown that it felt “good to cry it all out.”  Cry what out?  Why is Joe so aggressive to his sister?  Where’s the anger underneath?  Why do I still worry if I have seen the ugliest life has to offer and have not only survived but thrived?  Rachel was able to balance trips to the hospital, dressing changes, chemo throw ups, pta, work, crossfit, and being the best wife/mother ever.  Why stress now?  Why indeed.

Well, we’ve been through a lot.  Then, we went through some intentional grieving/therapy.  Now, and for awhile now, it’s kind of…over.  There’s a definitely new us.  In fact, when we pray at night Joe always starts his prayer with, “Jesus, thank for this day.  Thank you for daddy, mommy, me, Bella and Trey.”  Lately, he has been skipping that whole part of his prayer.  We’re still the Mitlo’s, but we’re a different version.  In many ways we are better, stronger, more loving…but the scars remain.  So how do we move on despite the reminders and pain?

We survive and advance.  Yes, it is football season and hockey season is right around the corner, baseball is coming to a close.  Therefor, I make a NCAA basketball reference.  During the NCAA tournament the motto is to survive and advance.  It doesn’t matter how, just win…and go to the next round.  If you do that enough times, you reach the championship game.

“WAIT!” you say.  “You’ve warned about living the life of the “Next Big Thing” productions.  Don’t just live to get through things, live and love within them.”  True, very true.  I don’t just want you to get through things.  However, what I’m saying is more than that.  Survive (stand) and advance (grow, do more, accomplish, reach a goal, etc.).

So, what can I do for Bella? Hmmm, don’t know but right now I’m going to love her and see what there is…there.  Same thing with Joe, I’m going to wrestle with him, rough him up a bit but let him get his shots in as well.  Let’s see what’s going on in both of their hearts and brains.  For me, I’ll keep taking care of me, listening to the doctor, eating and living clean…ish, and not fretting.  If there is something to be dealt with I will.  If there isn’t, I will not add to any physical issues by adding inner stress to it.  As for Rachel, few are able to do what she does.  She gets better and better at dealing with all of it and being so open with me.

Yes, we had our time where all we could do was stand.  We’ve been through that and would rather not go back.  However, we are now more prepared to advance, to help others, to be ready for what comes next as life has shown it will.  If you are having trouble standing, hopefully we can help comfort you through your tough time.  If you, like us, are on the other side of one of life’s horrific times, join us in surviving and advancing…and let’s help others along the way.

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