Thursday, January 5, 2017

This is It

(Title not meant to refer to Michael Jackson’s 2009 rockumentary of the same name, though let’s face it, the death of Michael Jackson affected me immensely and I still miss him, RIP MJ)

Every year bloggers across the globe write terribly thoughtful posts about their word of the year.

What is a word of the year, you ask? Well, allow me to explain.

After all, I need to fill this post with words about something.

Children, a word of the year is a word that you adopt as a short mantra, one that you hope will influence your life in a positive way for the year. It is a word that you can meditate over and remember in good times and hard times, and in all the in-between times. You choose it to remind you of an area you need to work on in your life, or for something you want to do more of, or to stop you from being such a jerk in a problem area. Usually we hope that the word will motivate us to change for the better, that it will manifest itself into our lives and make us a supreme version of ourselves.

Not a Supreme, though wouldn’t it be amazing to have Diana Ross’s hair for just one week?

In choosing a word, I try to think about what I had such a hard time doing the previous year, something that I struggled with over and over, something that I wanted desperately to change but couldn’t without picking a word from my native lexicon that has magical powers to make me a better version of myself. Last year it was Let Go, two words that reminded me of the movie Frozen but also inspired me to not let things that my husband does bug me so much.

It worked, but honestly, I need to Let Go more and it could be my word of the year for the rest of my years on earth.

But that is boring, so I’m picking another word. I’m letting you go, Let Go.

My word for 2017? Breathe.

As in: take a beat. Think before you speak. Don’t say it DON’T SAY IT. Breathe instead. Get back to basics. Simplify and detoxify. Breathe first, think later.

I thought of this word the other day and was all – way to go, girl, you found your word! Way. To. Go. Genius. Child.

Then I realized this was my word another year, I think. I’m too lazy to go back and find the blog post where I chose Breathe as my WOTY so let’s pretend that I came up with Breathe this year for the first time and I’m not just recycling words, hmmmmm?

Or just face it. I have deep-seated issues that maybe can’t be undone in a year by thinking about one word every couple of days.

Breathe in, breathe out. All the time, all year long.


This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #2: Did you pick a word for 2017? Share!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How I Lost My Spirit on New Year’s Day

Probably the best thing about the holidays is the free time to do whatever the heck you want.

Like this is my life but go with it, okay?

I mean, there’s no school, no work (for those lucky enough to not have to work during the holidays, I mean I used to work during the holidays and I didn’t hate it but there is something to be said for not having to be anywhere for at least a day or two because of a holiday, amiright?), no something to do.

Except if you have a spouse and kids and a house and still have to do all the chores that life has to offer, isn’t life so generous with all it has to offer, especially in the chores realm?

Well, in fact I like to keep up with chores and stuff and try not to let it get ahead of me lest I completely lose my mind since I like order and cleanliness and whatnot, so some of that whatever the heck you want to do stuff includes laundry and cooking dinner and taking out the trash but I like not having to do that stuff on a timeline, and if I decide to cook dinner at 2 pm or cook three dinners in one day or start vacuuming in the evening because I can, I’m for it. And if I want to bag it all and just go to the movies instead, hey man that’s cool too.

Anyhoo, one of the best things to do is waste away the first day of the year every year by drinking mimosas, watching garbage TV and lounging around.

That’s usually on the menu for New Year’s Day in our house, but for some inexplicable reason this year, my family members had specific plans that included going out of the house.

Which is not at all in line with the spirit of New Year’s, and I was deeply offended by their industry. So of course I took my wasteland day a step further and vowed that I would wear pajamas all day.

Now I know what you are thinking – Big Deal. People (non-babies) wear pajamas all day every day, what’s so special about that? Check out any Walmart or grocery store or Walmart grocery store and there will be a lady in there wearing her pj bottoms, dirty slippers and carrying some sort of Coach accessory. By the way, let’s stop pretending that Coach is some sort of exclusive designer brand. How can it be if every pajama-wearing lady in Walmart is swinging around a Coach wristlet? I’m not trying to disrespect Coach or pajama-wearing ladies, but let’s be real. Sell Coach at Walmart already.

By the end of mid-morning I was loving life. PJ day is for me, I thought to myself. I chose the correct pair to wear all day: not too heavy or light, and even added a lightweight robe to snuggle in and brand-new fuzzy socks. I munched a square of breakfast casserole and drank some coffee, poured a mimosa in celebration, and shared a picture of my triumphant plan on Facebook.

Feelin' good at 11:45

At noon – three mimosas o’clock – I got up to stretch and waddled out to the kitchen to stir the pork and sauerkraut, our dinner that evening and my one superstition. My husband had returned with our daughter from a sleepover and I hugged her hello. She disappeared to her room to unpack and take a nap before basketball practice. My son and husband started discussing their activities for the afternoon, shopping and other vagaries that interested me little. I grabbed some leftover Christmas cookies and a fresh cup of coffee and settled back on the couch. I was beginning to feel slightly filmy but ignored the creeping discomfort.

By two I had to tap into my resolve to stay clothed in last night’s sleepwear. I felt gross and my hair was sliding off my head. I dug in and closed my eyes in the hope that I would fall asleep. Naps make time go faster.

Four pm. I was making mashed potatoes for our dinner and found myself fantasizing about scrubbing the filth off me using a Brillo pad.

By 6:30 I wanted to die.

After dinner and clean up I was so sweaty and gross that a record must have been broken. Running upstairs to the shower, I warned my family that I would be gone for some time and reveled in scalding hot water for longer than is probably medically advised.

I slipped on a fresh pair of pjs and joined my husband in the basement for some post-New Year’s TV and wine.

He asked me how my pajama day went, and I cried a little. It’s hard, I whimpered. I don’t know how people do it.

All I know is that I can’t. Not ever; not again.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Just Another Christmas Memory

Me (to oldest child): What should I write about on my blog today?

Him (takes huge bite of cereal): I don't know.

Silence hangs. A couple of years ago I would have received thirty crazy ideas for what to write about. Aliens taking over the world, if all our furniture came to life, how you cut your arm and had to get stitches. I take a picture of the cat and post it on Instagram. I notice that my Instagram feed is becoming a series of pictures of our cat. Oh well. Some people like cats I guess.

My coffee is cold. I warm it up; it's almost 6:45 and the youngest child isn't out of bed yet. I don't blame her. Every day they get up, go to school, have after school activities, and then come home and do homework. It's your job, I say when they complain. Find the good. You're building a knowledge base and expanding your brain power. You see your friends. School is fun.

I know it's a lot. They are used to it, can handle it. Just like I handled it for years.

These kids are growing up and out. Few weekend nights find all four of us under the same roof. They make plans, only need my driving services and spending money and the occasional help with arranging carpooling. Can you find a ride home? I ask more than I ever thought I would. Not long ago I'd set up the activity and arrange it all behind their backs and let them know what was going on.

Now they are reminding me what is going on.

* * *

It's Christmastime and our house isn't decorated because holiday decorations get in the way of house projects. We planned it like this, even though we didn't really think about what Christmas without a Christmas tree would look like, would feel like. It's strangely freeing. My daughter noted that it's hard to imagine that it's Christmas because we don't have those markers of the season in every corner of our home. She wasn't complaining. It's Christmas everywhere; you just can't see it. I turned the Christmas music up on the radio after she said that.

It's nice, having teenagers. Nobody says it. But it is. They are the babies we watched grow. They are our family, our people. They have their own opinions and thoughts and personalities and they surprise us with what they know and frustrate us with what they haven't yet learned. I like seeing their two- and five- and ten-year old selves in their words and actions today. I like having a holiday marker like Christmastime to remember how life looked in the past, to think about how much they've grown, how much we've all changed.

It doesn't really look like Christmas, it's true. There's plastic sheeting making a division between the dusty and non-dusty sides of our house. We have caution tape instead of stair railing, boxes of supplies where our Christmas tree usually stands. I found the Santa hats and hung them on a chair.

It's okay. We are making memories, as they say. This is the year we did house projects instead of decorate for Christmas. When our teenagers are all the way grown, it will be just another blip in their conversations when they remember Christmases past. This one will come up and they will remember how Mom and Dad made the questionable decision to do home construction over the holidays.

Hopefully I will be there to defend our decisions. To say it didn't really matter. To remind them that we still had Christmas, even though it didn't really look or feel like it.

I think they will agree.