What I do enjoy, though, is the concept of a New Year. A new start, a new leaf. A do-over, a second chance. A clean slate, a blank canvas. An opportunity to think and act differently, to do and be better.
However, before you can achieve all that newness and betterness, you must, of course, reflect on the previous year's highs and lows, strengths and weaknesses. From there you can begin to make plans and set goals for the next calendar year's success.
My reflections these last few weeks of 2016 have been all over the place, but especially in the last day or so, I have been thinking of the personal changes I want/need to make in order to be a better version of myself.
These past four months of being a stay-at-home mom to a toddler a baby have been difficult, to say the least. I did not anticipate the change from being a full-time teacher to a full-time mom to be this hard. Survival mode was my permanent setting for the first two or three months, and even now it's still my daily default. At times I look in the mirror and don't even recognize myself. I know I'm not the first and certainly not the last person to come to this realization, but motherhood is exhausting, dang it! The physical, mental and emotional toll is overwhelming. The feelings of isolation and loneliness are real. The social media-induced guilt and stress are real, too.
For me, the outer display of this inner tornado of emotions is usually anger or tears (or both!), directed first towards myself, and then to those closest to me.
Tonight was no exception. The boys and I have been quarantined inside the house for the past three days with varying degrees of colds, coughs and runny noses, and tonight I reached a breaking point. Call it cabin fever or whatever, but I momentarily lost it.
Two tender mercies pulled me back from the edge and gave me a lot to reflect on.
As I sat in a chair, eyes closed, tears silently falling, my sweet, perfect little 2-year old came to my side and said, "You're fine, mommy. You're fine."
Later, as I was trying to convince a very wide-awake 4-month old to, please, go to sleep, he looked at me through the dim lights, eyes dancing, and just laughed and laughed and laughed.
First Reflection: I'm fine. I'm going to be fine. Everything's going to be fine. Whatever changes and goals I work on for 2017, it will be fine. I don't have to be perfect, don't have to do it all, don't have to have it all together. I'm fine. You're fine. We are all fine. (Thank you, Jackson.)
Second Reflection: A baby's laugh can cure anything and everything. A baby's laugh is also the perfect reminder of what really matters most. (Thank you, Charlie.)
Here's hoping your 2016 reflections bring you peace and comfort for 2017.
Happy New Year! Happy New You!