I’m not late. This is exactly when I planned on arriving.

Even with all the wonder, joy and twinkling lights as far as the eye can see, Christmas is not always sugar plums and rum balls.  For some people, the holidays can serve as a reminder that things are no longer as they were or as how they would like them to be and trigger unthinkable sadness and grief.  Humans, at least the humans I know, are comparers by nature and when that is part of who you are, it’s hard to not let the holidays remind you of people that for one reason or another, aren’t there anymore or who haven’t arrived yet into your life or just that you can’t fly off to Bali on a moment’s notice.

I’m not going lie.  For months, I have been dreading this Christmas and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas.  The last 5 Christmases I woke up  in a house with a kid who was beyond excited to see what Santa had brought and another “kid” who would tolerate us, eyes half open, until the first present was unwrapped and then he would not be able to resist engaging in the merriment.  There was Gingerbread and a huge tree and more presents under it than there should be. This Christmas is different.  For obvious reasons, those kids won’t be here Christmas morning and although it makes me sad and I will miss them, the thing you need to remember, is life is not constant and things change all the time and that’s okay.  Also, on the plus side, I don’t have to make bacon for a crowd Christmas morning.

I talked with my mom about all this a few months ago and she said to me, in her very wise way, think about how less stressful this Christmas will be for you.  And at the time she said that, I couldn’t see it, but it has turned out to be an amazing blessing.  I have been beyond sick for the last two weeks and I can’t even imagine what would have happened if I would have had to pull together Christmas this year.  Instead, I have been able to sit in my cozy chair ( Shout out to Sarah Hotchkiss and her bungee cordless husband, Mike), watch more Hallmark movies than allowed by law and just take care of me.  I would also like to thank Amazon Prime, Instacart and Target free holiday shipping.

This shift I was so fearing, has also allowed me to enjoy Christmas more and do things I haven’t in years.  Like wrapping presents in a way only I can.  I really think I outdid myself this year on the present for my almost 4 year old Spiderman loving nephew.  I was also able to put time into thinking about the perfect gift for my nieces and can hardly wait to see them open their presents tonight.

Oh yeah, that’s a spider web with a spiderman ornament in the middle of it.

This year, I get to spend Christmas morning at my mom and dad’s, something I have missed so much the last years but didn’t want to admit and I’m finding, even though it will be so different than the last, and I wasn’t sure I would be, I’m excited about Christmas this year and have moved away from my plan to sleep through it.

Here’s the thing, I know you’re wondering how the title ties into this jibber jabber.  2 things –

1) I am well known in my family for being tardy to the party and you know what, it is what it is.  I drive an hour and half to get there and oh, today, it’s snowing, so yeah.  I’ll get there when I get there and it is mostly likely, now that I sat down to write this, I will be late.  Plus, I still have to shower and gather my things.

2) You can’t rush life and you certainly shouldn’t waste today, tomorrow, or any other day being overly sad about things in the past or that haven’t happened for you yet.  It’s ok to feel sad, just try not to dwell on it and set up camp there. Only you can live your life, so what’s done it done and what will be will be and everything you need will happen exactly when it’s supposed to.   Trust that.

I have some friends that I know that are struggling this holiday season and I’ll tell you a secret – it’s ok to not be as happy as Buddy the Elf.  But please try not to miss the beauty of the season either.  Take a moment and remember that you are so loved, and so important to people around you because before we know it, we’ll be 80 years old, sucking on an oxygen tank, probably because we won’t quit smoking ( ahem, you know who you are) and wish so badly for today back.

You are probably so tired of hearing me say this, but really, Christmas makes me extra super sappy. In this year of turmoil and sadness and anger, I have never felt more loved by the people in my life and I have a sense of gratitude I don’t know that I will ever have enough words to express.  You have held me tight and loved me when I needed it most and what greater gift can you ask for.

So with that,  I hope that you have a wonderful, Merry Christmas filled with laughter and love and some great food, you didn’t have to mess your kitchen up making. 🙂

 

 

Let them take your picture – good or bad hair day

So last week, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, who I will not call out by name except to say that she is bringer of beauty to other people, and we were talking about family photos and she was saying how they hadn’t taken one in a while and she was knew they should and were going to, but she was not looking forward to it because she was unhappy with something about the way she looked. ( Now, for the record, I would give an arm and a leg to have her body- which is probably what it take to get down to her weight for me and she is always super stylish when I see her with great hair)

And while we were talking about it, I understood, far too well, what she was talking about.  Many of us, especially women, avoid the camera because we don’t have makeup on or out hair isn’t right or we’re wearing something that isn’t the most flattering.  However, this is a demon, I’ve been working on facing mostly because I read an article online like 5 or so years ago after seeing a story about on the news, that really kind of changed my thoughts on that.  It was a post on the Huffington Post called the Mom Stays in the Picture.  I don’t think I can do the original post justice, so here is a link:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html

And what I want to say is this.  As we roll into the Holidays, smile for the camera, you aren’t getting this Christmas back.  Let there be a record that you were there and happy because years from now, those pictures will be worth more than we can even imagine.

 

 

 

 

For the love of all that is sacred, why must cough medicine be so securely packaged?

So like most of the rest of you, I am once again suffering from an intrusion of my body by a violent virus that really likes to attach to mucus membranes.  I will not lie.  I am not a just leave me alone and let me sleep sick person.  I am whiny and I will not pretend to be anything else.  But here is the real problem, Saturday morning, I gather all my strength to go to CVS for cough medicine and Vick’s vapor rub.  I get the goods and get to the car, and since I had been out of cough medicine since the previous night, I was going to take it right there, straight from the bottle in the CVS parking lot.  But like everything else when you’re sick, this too could not be that easy.  So first, I tear open the cardboard box, then there is plastic shrink wrap “for my protection” over the bottle and dosage cup.  Thinking I was almost to the good stuff, I was then faced with the obstacle of the child proof cap.  After successfully pressing while turning, I was ready to victoriously swig my way to cough suppression, only to find a foil seal on the bottle.  Seriously????  What are they protecting me from?  Feeling better? Not being aggravated?   I feel like there are other products where maybe this level of security is warranted and not there, but really, cut a wheezing whiner a break.

Speaking of coughing, I have just come up with a million dollar idea. Let me know if you want to help me make it.  You know when you’re sick and you cough and your head hurts and you want to hold your head why you cough?  Why doesn’t someone make a like head “snuggie” that holds your head with some pressure to give you relief when your cough?

Next thing of concern – why does cough medicine come blue?  When I was a kid, and would make sugar cookies with my mom, she would make a table full of cookies and then Jes and I would decorate them, as she frosted them.  She would make yellow frosting, green frosting, white frosting but never blue because, I’m pretty sure I remember her saying, nothing comes blue naturally. ( In all fairness, yes blueberries do, but they are not christmassy- just let it go)  Why would they find it is necessary to include yet another chemical in the cough medicine just to make it blue?  I do not find it comforting that I’m drinking blue liquid.  In fact, it creeps me out.

In all seriousness, I did see the Doctor today, I was awarded a steroid inhaler, these weird, yet really awesome cough pearls for day and the treasured codeine cough medicine for night.  She confirmed that I was pretty sick and it would good I came in.  I don’t know why at 42 I needed to hear that, but just the same, it was nice.  And truth be told, when I picked up my prescriptions at Target, I may have also treated my self to a new humidifier and some nail polish.  A girl’s got to do what she needs to feel better.  6 hours later, I have almost caught my breath from that adventure.  Screw you lung invading virus.

I know that I am a lot luckier than most of my woman friends, because although I’m whining about feeling lonely and wanting someone to take care of me right now while I’m sick, I don’t have to get up in the morning and get someone to school and make sure they comb their hair, brush their teeth, then provide them with dinner at the end of the day and bake 40 cupcakes for school tomorrow for the holiday party.  Moms – you bitches are fierce!  I also have the luxury of working from home, so I don’t have to deal with traffic and unscheduled naps are sometimes allowed, plus, no cares that I didn’t comb my hair this morning and I am in fact, recycling yesterday’s classy 1 second bun.  So in reality, this could be worse but I’m just struggling getting past the 4 four layers of protection on the cough medicine bottle and that’s a great distraction from thinking about how I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet.  I still 5 and half days – no rush.

 

 

 

Why don’t we just take our own advice?

I remember when I worked at my last job, this time of year, illness would run rampant through the office and during the quiet parts of the day, there would be this symphony of coughing and sniffling and other mucus related noises coming from all corners of the office.  Super annoying.  When I started working from home, I was excited because I figured my exposure to pathogens would be reduced.  Introduce Bailey, my in-house disease vector – bringing home the best illness public school had to offer.  So this fall, I’m working from home, not seeing Bailey or any other public school kid for that fact regularly , and I’m thinking terrific – I’m going to be healthy as a horse.

Now, I know that there are tenancies to blame one’s mother for many issues they face as an adult, but in this case, there is a clear cause and effect relationship.  I have seen my mother twice in the last month.  BOTH times, within a few days of seeing her, I have come down with a horrible, exhausting, mucus producing illness of which my mom already had.  And my dad wonders why I don’t visit more….

So, as you probably know by now, I belong to an awesome group on Facebook of women who like to travel all over the world.  When one of them needs support or advice about something travel related they often post in the group looking for some wisdom from the crowd.  Tonight, there was a girl who had some apprehension about traveling alone due to some personal issues and I saw it and there was something about it I really identified with and so I sat down and wrote her this super long comment.  As I was posting it, I was looking at what I wrote to her and I thought, why is it so easy for me to be so kind and encouraging to this stranger and not to myself.  I’ll spare you the bulk of it, but this is the part, I need to keep reminding myself:

We’ve all got something that makes us fear going out into the world at first. But here’s what I see – if you are brave enough and strong enough to deal with life’s issues head on and ask for support, there’s nothing you can’t do. Really – if you can do that, there’s nothing you can’t do. I have never felt more in charge of my own life and stronger than I did on that trip. When I start to doubt to myself, I literally say to myself, “you camped alone at the Grand Canyon, who does that?” and remind myself of how strong I really am. It’s your life. Write your own story and make it a good one.

This got me thinking – what do I want my life to be? Do you know what you want?  I mean just because we started on a path doesn’t mean we have to finish it.  Sure, people are probably placing bets right now on how many more cats I’m going to get in the next year.  But that’s the beauty of life – I don’t have to be a crazy cat lady unless I really want to be.  I can be J-FO –world traveler, J-FO bringer of weird home crafted gifts, J-FO perpetual student and decide I need another degree or anything else I want to be.

I think maybe we should work through this together.  I mean, just because you have a house and a dog and 2.3 kids, it doesn’t mean your future is written is stone.  Who do you want to be?  How to want people to remember you? What adventures are waiting for you?

On that inspirational note, I’m going to puff on my inhaler now and blow my nose.  Thanks again mom.

Confessions of a blogging slacker

So I’m sitting here tonight, stuck and as I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, I thought, I bet the sweet peeps who read my blog wonder if I have hurt all my typing fingers or just some.  Like I did to try to make sense of all the feelings that have surfaced in the past months, I thought maybe bringing you up to speed would help.

I’m not good at being alone yet. I miss being part of a “we”.  Now, before you dive into your well meaning “advice” about how I need to be okay on my own before I consider getting involved again, I’d like to tell you a story.

I have a friend named Nancy.  ( her real name) One day we were talking and she was expressing some normal martial annoyance and very well meaning, I gave her some advice.  The advice was, just overlook being annoyed, welcome him home from work with a big hug and kiss and be the bigger person.  I called her about 3 months later and apologized for giving her shitty advice because I was in a similar situation as hers, months previous and there was no way I was going to be the bigger person.  The moral is – it’s really easy to see what someone else should do/needs to do/really ought to do when it’s not you.

So basically, enough with the talks about being ok on my own.  I’ll get there in my own time.

Frankly, I’ve spent a fair amount of time dreading the holidays this year.  But then I finally decorated my tree the other night and got to see all my favorite Christmas treasures I hadn’t seen in years because somehow, “someone” could never find all the Christmas boxes and once my living room was all decked out in blue and white and silver, with things I haven’t seen in so long, but loved, I started to almost look forward to Christmas.  So, while there will be moments where I will be misty missing what had become normal the past years, life goes on and there are no do-overs, so I might as well enjoy it.

So last I left you, I dangled the carrot of a potential date with Kyle.  He is a nice guy, I’ve seen him twice and I like him.  He works a lot, has been sick twice and had a major family situation all since Thanksgiving.  (In case you were wondering, I have independently verified all these events)  It’s weird going from talking to someone hours a day and spending all your time thinking about your life together to just seeing someone occasionally.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit, I was having some trouble with the transition and honestly, I probably come across pretty needy, but he seems nice enough to pretend to not notice/care.  We’ll just have to see what happens.

I do know this, my wanderlust is coming back in a bad way.  Although I have been planning a trip for April, I don’t know if I can wait that long.  I keep fantasizing about going somewhere warm between Christmas and New Year’s and feeling the sun while I swim in a sweet outdoor pool.  I’ll have to see what the next weeks bring and who knows, I might be out in the world again before you know it.