Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday Odyssey Goes On Forever

I survived Christmas and the rest of the holiday with sanity intact, and I even enjoyed myself.

We went, we shopped, we managed a few potentially stressful interactions, we enjoyed small but meaningful moments.

Christmas Eve we made it to the early service with the childrens' pageant and stayed for a communal meal between services, meeting lots of people we hadn't seen in months or longer. It was a luxury to visit and ask about other people's lives. We spent hours watching the little girl play with wrapping paper (never mind the presents), then spent an additional afternoon of fun and laughter and paper shreddings and food with family. The little girl tolerated the madness remarkably well. We are so proud of her!

I also survived (but just barely) the packing/travel madness to and from a New Year's dance weekend event with the little girl in tow. Much wrangling of the schedule, trying to catch the main events, and missing out on many other things. When the clock got close, I told my husband, "count it down for us," and he whispered the count and we kissed while the little girl snoozed on. She continued to snooze soundly through fifteen minutes of nearby fireworks. She did not sleep well through painful diaper rash episodes. We traded off dancing and got to visit occasionally with friends who ran across us and wanted to chat. How I had any brain for that is astounding. I never did get to go walking down by the ocean this trip, and I was sad about that, but not eager to extend the trip that much longer.

The whole project was another semi-miserable travel odyssey, wherein an trip that ordinarily takes a reasonable amount of time mysteriously extends by some factor of time, and any "quick stop" takes half an hour if you expected 15 minutes, or 1.5 hours if you expected an hour, or nearly 3 if you expected 1.5. I'm still trying to decide if all the aggravation of traveling is worth it these days. The time and effort expended don't seem to quite fit into the pleasure of a given goal. A number of things feel that way. I find myself narrowing down my ambitions and focus. I have only so much energy to work with.

OH! And did I mention we had half a kitchen of new cabinets installed the day after Christmas?! Yes, those same cabinets we've spent a couple of years planning, the same set that we bought more than a year ago - all finally installed by one of my mother's church friends, a master carpenter in need of work. The best present for all of us my mother could have ever thought of. Even as a partially completed kitchen, they look beautiful. We've spent so much time rearranging the new space, both of us gleeful over it all. And today, while I pulled another long day with the kiddo, Mr Sweetie went to the nearest IKEA for the rest of the kitchen's worth of cabinets for a future final installation. Another long odyssey that took nearly twice as long as hoped.

So all of this to say that this "break" has not been very relaxing, yet remarkably, it's been mostly gratifying. I still have cookies to mail and a kitchen to clean up and.... oh, did I mention that the little girl is starting to pull up on any available furniture? We are just trying to keep up with our lives! And the internet is not feeling so special at the moment. I just don't have the attention to spare.

Does that ever happen to you? I feel myself sitting back, watching the flow of interaction among my friends and interest groups online, but not yet ready to dive back in. I feel tired, truth be told. I leave my computer alone for hours at a time while I try to keep up with the latest episode of diaper rash and the little girl finding new ways to nearly endanger herself, and myself trying to beat back the leftover mess and chaos of the holidays. Even new gifts are an additional drag on my time, wanting new attention and more ambitions. I can't do it all. Anything new has to come out of something old. It's not bad to drop a few things if it means making space for new things. It's also not bad to put off new things to take care of ones basic priorities.

And although it's a cliche of the New Year to set out wishful goals and resolutions, I have a few of those too. This year, it does feel fresh, blank slate ready for a new start. Or as the lovely Oprah quote says, “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” If I pick my battles and refine my vision of what I can actually do, I am hopeful I'll get it closer to "right."

Happy New Year and new decade to all my regular and random readers!


Lori said...

Sounds like a good season overall but it seems to include a bit too much diaper rash! When my younger one was small, calendula cream was one of my best friends because it seemed to be the only thing that worked very well.
I think little girl is about to become very mobile. Better get training for the chase! :)

danilouwho said...

Ah, I love this post. I don't have any children right now, but so much I can relate to and have been thinking about lately!

I hope you and your family have a great 2010!!

Flying Saucer Jones said...

As one of your regular and random readers :) I wish you a wonderful New Year and New Decade. So much to look forward to.