Even though it may not look like it on paper, I accomplished quite a bit in 2017. Not everything that happened is considered positive (like a divorce becoming final) but I guess in some cases, it is all in the way you look at it, right? 😉 I did move house, find a new job and kept my sanity through a few questionable moments, so I’m calling it a win!
One thing I didn’t do much of last year was feed my creative side. Obviously I had (and still have) good reasons for that. The primary ones included, but are not limited to, single mom-ing and getting a full time job. Things like cooking meals from scratch or packing the healthiest lunches for my kids have gone by the way side. I maybe touched my Nikon only 5 or 6 times the entire year (but the camera phones are so damn good!) and the writing, well it kind of stopped.
The pure dichotomy of changing out of my SAHM suit and into a working mom one, leaving a different lifestyle in the past, while pursuing a new one, is enough to zap anyone’s creative energy. Although you would think it would provide good fodder (and in some cases it has), it also makes a person stop and go, “HUH???” The slap in the face of reality saying… “Oh wow, that’s right, this is my life now,” can be overwhelming and even stunting.
There’s also this constant tug-o-war going on in my heart and mind, as I see others’ seemingly happy families on social media and smiling back at me on Christmas cards. I want to be happy for them, but it still stings a little because of my own, recent situation. I miss being a full-time mom to my kids. I miss being “traditional”. And this idea of the ideal I thought I had when I was part of one of those families… as I baked cookies and birthday cakes from scratch. Purchased cute clothes from Tea and Etsy. Coordinated lovely outfits for each kid, ready for holiday photos and church (this year I bought clothes three days before Christmas, in a hurry, at the mall, while the kids were with me). All of that is different now and therefore, so am I. I tell myself, “Lots of people get divorced, Elaine” and “maybe they are not as happy as they seem”… yet I am not doing the best job of convincing myself.
All this to say, it’s hard to keep up, even when life does appear (and really may be) flawless and somewhat perfect. And I do not begrudge anyone who is truly happy – we all deserve to be. Also, I know I can be happy in the imperfect, which is ultimately my choice (and is probably an aspect of everyone’s life, no matter the circumstances). It just takes time to get over leaving certain dreams behind, and probably more time than we expect. In this case, it is much like a death and acceptance is the goal. However, the amount of time and effort it takes to get there varies and is different for everyone.
There is also beauty in the mess, as they say. My “mess” is a previous family broken, while exploring the possibility of building a new one. All while tidying up my mind, heart and soul, to ensure this next one is constructed on a stronger foundation than the first time around. The last one was not built well enough to the weather the storms. I can work and hope and pray the next one will be more steadfast.
So within this home and not-as-traditional family, I am claiming no goals or resolutions or words for 2018. Instead I am claiming life – one that is well lived no matter how it plays out. I am claiming afternoon naps in the hammock and walks with the dog and bike rides with the kids. I am claiming wind in my hair and kisses on the lips from the man I love. I am claiming thrown-together meals that taste okay-ish and maybe more trips through the drive-through than before. I am claiming the right to be unabashedly myself and to give and take forgiveness. I am claiming real love and new traditions and times to cry and let it all out. I am claiming “me time” and “you time” and all the together times in between. And if some words make it on the page (screen) and some great photos are taken (with my phone) and I have time to bake something (pre-made cookie dough anyone?), then those are just bonuses to my days.
Happy New Year. Happy New Every Day.