I am not a fan of the end of the year. I find it hard to slog through these final five weeks or so of turkey and gratitude, of jolly and bright. So many expectations are crammed into such a short span: thanking, traveling, list making, list checking, to-doing, giving, receiving, helping, donating, bestowing, buying, returning, celebrating, assessing, resolving.
It’s pretty intense, stressful even, and when I’m stressed, I start to skim. My mind checks out. I don’t want to exercise or grocery shop or pick up anyone from anywhere. I don’t want to cook or put on jeans. I don’t care what’s for dinner or if my 7th grader has all of her materials for her science night project. I go through the motions, but I’m not really here. I’m not really anywhere.
I suspect this is no way to live, not even for just the remaining 28 days of the year. So what can I love about right now that might bring me back?
I can love this chair, the one with the errant pen mark shaped like the number seven carved into the back from Lilah’s wild toddler hand. It is the chair I sit in when I write. It is off limits to all butts but mine.
I can love this mirrored desk cluttered with half-finished novels and unread memoirs, bills and school missives, monogrammed pads and favorite pens and an Empire State Building snow globe because there’s a piece of me that will always belong in New York City.
I can love the lights twinkling across the bay through the window I face when I’m sitting in my chair at my desk near my snow globe. My parents live in that general direction. I can love that too.
I can love the new One Direction song Steal My Girl. The melody is super simple, the words are few, but there’s a rawness to it that lights me up for the three-plus minutes it’s playing. Suddenly I know all the words and am singing along in the car, my girls rolling their eyes Sasha and Malia style. I know Harry Styles is no Bruce Springsteen, but for now, maybe that’s the point.
I can love the way my body doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I can be gentle with its extra skin and jutting ribs, the pale skin of my belly. I do not need to wrestle it into too-tight jeans or too high of a heel.
I can love the little breakthroughs: the conversation about marriage Josh and I had in bed after lights out; Ruby’s “ah-ha” moment when I showed her how to multiply double-digits; the sun straining through three days worth of rain clouds.
I can love my flip-flopping heart when Lilah jumps off the three-foot high concrete wall by herself for the first time without my help. She lands on her feet with a smile that turns into a joyous giggle. When my girls succeed my heart explodes; when they fail my heart breaks into a million little pieces. Either way it quickly grows wondrously whole again. Extraordinary how the heart can crack and mend in so many ways so many times.
I can love the next phase of the motherhood project, the part where I have to parent a teen. I’ve never done this before. I’m scared I’m going to screw it up. Love is the other side of fear. I saw that on a coffee mug once. It’s time to break on through to the other side.
This post is part of the Reverb 14 December daily writing challenge, a series of reflective writing prompts designed to help let go of 2014 and move into 2015 with intention. Today’s prompt is: What can you love about where you are now?