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!