New Year’s Eve has come and gone in the way most years end with the world humming along, quietly, then with a great crescendo, bang, it’s over.
The end of the year is all about the holidays, celebrating each other, giving thanks and appreciation. In focusing on other people, we sometimes lose ourselves, a sense of ourselves, forget to take care of ourselves. And this is just what happened to me. The run up to the end of the year was a flurry of school activities, shouting at friends across the parking lot while wrestling the kids into car seats, road tripping with my daughters, and furiously cooking for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
And on the fifth day of the new year, the last day of their winter vacation, something strange happened.
I just got this weird sickness. It started out at night when I felt queasy and by the next day, I was unable to muster any strength at all.
It didn’t help that on the fourth day of the new year, I decided to go to an exercise class after a long hiatus. At first, I was unsure if I felt achy from muscle fatigue or if I was coming down with something. By late morning on that fifth day, I was sure that I was sick.
It became clear that I was going to be no help to anyone that day. Maybe we had all been out for bagels in the morning but my husband could tell I didn’t feel well and needed to sleep. He didn’t bother me.
So I slept for hours. All afternoon. Clad in my comfiest clothes, I tossed and turned in our flannel sheets, in between fits and starts of sleep I wondered the last time I took a real nap. I regretted that this might be the only true nap I’ve taken in months. I slipped in and out of sleep, the bedside lamp bright on my husband’s side of the room.
My girls came in and out of our bedroom, looking for attention, a cuddle, any sign of life.
My husband fed the kids lunch after shoveling the slush off of the driveway. He took the big sister to a playdate. He baked with little sister. He puttered around the house.
Hours passed and eventually it was dinner. My cheeks were warm with a little fever so I left bed to take some Advil. For the first time all day I wasn’t queasy, but I barely wanted to stand up. Husband fixed dinner and I listened to snippets of their dinner chatter from upstairs as I had listened to the lunch conversation. The girls seemed a little more intent on eating but by now, they were concerned. Why hadn’t I joined them for two meals? For a Sunday, this was a little uncharacteristic.
They took a bath and husband reassured them that they could come in and see if I was awake once they had their pajamas on.
The bath drained, one at a time the girls filtered in, asking, “Mommy, do you feel better?”
My kindergartener looked so sweet and nervous. I don’t think they have ever seen me sleep this much during the day. “I feel a little better,” I lied. “Don’t worry, I’ll feel better in the morning.” I hope.
After a day of sleep and no food, I felt empty. I stayed horizontal. As bedtime edged closer, the little one threw a tantrum, screaming for different pajamas. I eventually hobbled in and cuddled her. Little giants eventually fell hard into bed.
When it was quiet, I crept downstairs to make myself a slice of toast. Spread with butter, it tasted divine. I retreated to our bed and snuggled back into the sheets.
This day was a total wash. The last day of winter vacation and the last Sunday before we take a trip next week, I had so much planned. But what I needed to do was sleep. And not because I was tired, but because I was sick.
I’m never quite ready for a new year, the next phase of the year, and I felt frustrated at having forfeited a perfectly fine day in the world in bed. Except it wasn’t just any perfectly fine Sunday, it was the last Sunday before the real work of 2015 began. I didn’t feel ready to hurtle headlong into 2015–this last day of vacation was the remainder of 2014 for me, really.
On this Sunday, I was holding on to the little and big things that happened to us last year. My dad got married. My older daughter turned five and started kindergarten. My little daughter turned three and has blossomed into this incredible person. I started to do some freelance writing. I told a story at a public storytelling event. We took our first family trip to the beach. I found a new professional opportunity. We celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary.
I celebrated those events and accomplishments in the moment but I wanted my year in review, a chance to reflect, to make some resolutions. 2014 didn’t feel fully closed out. And now the new year has materialized and I feel like the account on 2014 is still open.
That last Sunday taught me something though. We don’t get to choose which days we forfeit or which days just never materialize. I may not get the perfect start I want or need, but I have to keep life rolling along.
And it will roll along. 2015 is off and rolling and I don’t want to be left behind.
At least I’m well rested.