2012: The year of love

Having spent the last three weeks recovering first from bronchitis and quickly thereafter from the wicked sinus/phlem/flu bug going around Pittsburgh, I think I can say with some certainty that the hardest part of adjusting to parenting for me is accepting the periods of simply not being well, thanks to occasional sleep deprivation and the daycare germs Evangeline brings home.  I realize of course that I could prevent a lot of this by staying home with Evangeline or hiring a nanny but unfortunately neither of these options are realistic for our family at this point in time and anyway, I’ve heard that if we don’t go through this period of illness now we’ll just have to face it when she’s in kindergarden.

It’s not just the not feeling well, either – it’s difficult to have our schedules thrown out of whack because of illness.  I don’t mind even the smallest bit using my time off to stay home with E when she is sick but I do mind losing time off to care for myself and that is something as an adult I have rarely had to encounter. Maybe I took a sick day here or there but nothing like what I had to do at the close of 2011 in order to get well.  Every parent I’ve talked to has said this is just how it is with young children and I think I’ve moved past my denial and am finally in the acceptance stage of what our pediatrician calls “the new normal.”

All of this is to say that I wanted to return here and reply in the comments section of my 2011 book wrap up, and I wanted to write a wrap up on the recipes I cooked and the albums I purchased this year, but I was figurately (although at times it felt like literally) glued to my couch or bed, when I wasn’t chasing E around the house, trying to keep her from eating the dog food. My apologies for a very lackluster blogging end to the year.

I did spend some of time I had thinking about resolutions for the new year.  Last year I was almost eight months pregnant with a broken foot and I decided it was probably best to forgo resolutions beyond giving birth to a healthy baby girl in 2011 – I am blessed to be able to say I did just that and for one year, it was enough.  This year, I conteplated concrete resolutions…remodel the living room? really start writing again? write letters to family members that live far away…and I contemplated lifestyle resolutions in areas I think I could improve…rely less (or not at all!) on processed foods (even that wild mushroom flatbread from trader joes)! Buy only American products! Recycle EVERYTHING no matter how much work it  takes God you totally SUCK when it comes recycling certain things…and I even, in a moment of sudefed-fueled despair, thought about choosing to make myself happy above all else for one year instead of worrying about the happiness of others and seeing how that trickled down.  In the end, though, I decided to do what I’ve seen others do in the blogosphere and choose a guiding word for the year and that word, for me, is love. I am going to try to continually check my motivation and my reasoning and make sure both are coming from a place of love. Even as our Christmas plans came to a grinding halt this year I could hear how off-center I’d become in the last several months…I was worrying about things like not getting a haircut and manicure for our holiday photo and failing to prepare the cranberry/lime vodka bottles for our neighbors and disappointing my family by failing to make it home for Christmas…all things that ultimately don’t matter in the length and breadth of one’s life.  What I received as a response to all that worry was a knock-down, drag-out illness that ultimately allowed me to spend an unprecedented amount of time with my daugher, in her room and in our living room, in our pajamas, playing and napping together.  Because S. had the same illness, he joined us during this time, and even as we lay collpased in bed after Christmas, neither of us willing or able to muster up the energy or appetite to eat dinner on Christmas day, I realized at the very least this holiday would be one I’d remember for the rest of my life.

I’m not fatalistic enough to believe I became sick because I was focusing on some of the less important aspects of life – I became sick because I was exposed to bacteria and viruses – but at the end of 2011 I do know the illness allowed me to hear my thoughts clearly for the first time in a long while, and I didn’t love what I heard.

And so I hereby declare 2012 the year of love, wherein I pay greater attention to my motivation and reason for doing what I do, and attempting to return to a place of love when making decisions large and small, whether I’m deciding what to make for dinner or how to respond when one of my parents or in-laws momentarily angers me.  I also hope this means more blogging for me, since it is something I love that I missed doing last year.

Happy New Year!




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13 Responses to 2012: The year of love

  1. What a fabulous, inspiring resolution!

  2. Your resolutions sound like mine. #1 is to make healthier, more deliberate choices in the name of balance and some thought to a healthy overall self. I can tell you that the period of illness does improve greatly. Greyson has been in regular daycare for almost five months now, and he’s doing much better — and has been for a while now. I can also say that I’ve contracted fewer and fewer illnesses. Hang in there, Courtney! “New normal” is so right.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I love this so much!

  4. Grad says:

    I was reading your previous post and was interested in your comments on The Hunger Games. My daughter was returning to Chicago after being home for Christmas and I bought The Hunger Games for her at the airport (I had not read it, nor heard about it, but a friend of hers did) to read on the plane. She just e-mailed me to say she loved it and was running out to get Catching Fire. Now I really must get a copy for myself and see why everyone who has read it seems to love it. Happy reading.

  5. shoreacres says:

    Just a teeny-tiny bit of humor from the downslope of life… I was born and raised in the days before there were germs – that is, in the days before germs became a preoccupation and hand sanitizer manufacturers became billionaires. When I was a kid, I ate dirt. I shared my sandbox with who knows how many neighborhood cats (although mumsie and dad did try to stay on top of that situation). I went barefoot all summer and ate snow all winter, just like all of my friends, and we all survived. I’m a firm believer that my better-than-excellent health is due partly to genetics, of course, but also to firm immunities built up in those younger years.

    Oh – and when the flu/bronchitis/whatever swept through our grade school – sometimes they just shut it down. We’d be handed a note to give to our parents that said, “Due to significant absence because of illness, classes will resume on January 5”. Or whatever. Of course, in our state the speed limit signs said “Reasonable and Proper”, so there you are.

    I think your resolution is marvelous. And isn’t it funny that the Christmases and such we remember longest and with most affection never are the “perfect” ones? 😉

  6. Wishing you all the best for 2012, including more perfect health. I think doing everything from a position of love is the best resolution ever, and a wonderful way to live life. If it’s any comfort, we also had a semi-cancelled Christmas, with three of the six members of our household down, and it was a little depressing. In the end, I realised that the fact that we weren’t having perfect meals in perfect health in a perfectly decorated home wasn’t important, but the fact that we were together and the healthy ones were looking after the unhealthy ones and that there was an atmosphere of love was.

  7. Amanda says:

    Happy New Year! I believe every stage of parenting has its challenges but the constant daycare germ related illness has certainly been the most challenging for me so far- my daughter is now 8. The sheer exhaustion of having to force yourself up to look after a sick child even though you are sick yourself is, I think, a quintessential parenting experience and also a test of character. It will get better! People have different experience so your mileage may differ but I’d say my daughter’s constant daycare related illness phase gradually tailed off by the time she was about three, which I gather, is in line with other people’s experience. In fact generally from when she was around 3-4 the workload started to lessen a little bit and there began to be a bit more time for me.

  8. Anne Camille says:

    Love; nothing but love. Happy New Year!

  9. litlove says:

    Happy New Year, dear Courtney! I loathe the illnesses – could put up with most of the other stuff but being ill myself and having to drag myself around after a convalescent toddler who was picky and grizzly and out of sorts was just the pits. Not to mention the being up all night. Your resolution to act out of a place of love is wonderful and inspiring, but, you know, it’s really okay to moan and bitch and be angry with raw deals when you need to. I had this big idea that I would be constantly loving and it nearly finished me off. At the end of the day, we’re just human with good feelings and bad feelings and not a great deal of control over them. I think you are a hugely loving person quite naturally and that you don’t need to do anything other than be yourself, exactly where you are, from moment to moment. You ARE love – you don’t need to many any special effort.

  10. litlove says:

    Oops! That should be ‘make’ rather than ‘many’. Note to self: put lenses in before typing!

  11. Sarala says:

    Happy New Year to you too. Too bad about the chronic colds. All I can tell you is I’ve had two in day care and it eventually gets better after you’ve been exposed to most of the childhood cruds. Now my kids are 14 and 19 and I’m rarely sick with a cold. It improved a number of years ago (I forget how long), just to not have you feel it took 14 plus years to get here.
    Of course, now I miss my cute, cuddly babies even if they did wipe their noses on my shirt!

  12. Illness is a mixed blessing sometimes, isn’t it? Especially the way lives are so full and busy these days, sometimes your health just has to make you stop and rest, because you might not have otherwise.

    Have the colds let up by now? We usually find, while September through December are rough, after the new year, things are usually pretty clear through the rest of the year. And if anyone does get sick, it’s much less intense than in the fall. There’s something for you to look forward to! 😉

  13. A – why, thank you!
    Andi – thank you so much for telling me there is light at the end of the tunnel. Oct. – Dec. it truly didn’t feel like there was one at all – so happy to hear little G is doing well in daycare!
    Jen – thanks! That means a lot coming from you!
    Grad – welcome – i am looking forward to getting to know your blog! And I’m glad your daughter enjoyed the Hunger Games…there is certainly something hypnotic about the trilogy.
    Shoreacres – I was raised much the same way, actually. We aren’t afraid of germs in our house – we don’t use antibacterial soap and we don’t buy meat with antibiotics and we have one very dirty dog who loves to lick E…this fall did give me a run for my money in terms of holding fast to the belief that dirt=a healthy kid, though!
    Charlotte – I think you are spot-on right…the fact that our family was together and caring for one another is the absolute most important thing, and something to be treasured. I am sorry, though, that your Christmas was a bit of a sick on as well…
    Amanda – I am so thankful for the hope everyone is giving me that there will be an end to this silly daycare illness nonsense. I keep trying to remind myself that ultimately I have (a.) great health inurance and (b.) a generally healthy kid and that is so much more than most people in this country have. I’m thankful.
    Anne – love on!
    Litlove – thanks so much for the kind words. I guess what I mean when i talk about making decisions from a place of love..well, it also includes love for myself. I want to make sure I am loving to my family but also practicing better self care and making sure the decisions I make help foster our entire family, not just 2/3 of it…so don’t worry…it wasn’t an entirely unselfish post!
    Sarala- thanks for the words of hope! I know that this too, shall pass…three months of it just felt like a really really long time!
    Laura – you know, we’ve actually been healthy so far this year! I am almost hesitant to admit that but hey, I don’t believe in jinx and I have been enjoying this new-found health, that’s for certain. happy new year to you!

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