never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
Today many of us scribbled into a notebook or said to a great friend over a bottle of wine, the top things we did over the last 12 months and what we want to do in the coming year. Gym recruiters and travel agents prepared for their biggest month of the year. On my flight to Lake Tahoe with the family this week, I too scribbled a few things into a notebook. Family Plans. Personal goals. The luxury and necessity of self-care, and how I might go about it all. I reflected on where each of my kids is in their development, joy, sense of self, and how I can continue to support them. I threw some minor health issues on the table and tossed some home renovations into the mix. Then I sat back and looked at how busy I was going to be. In the spirit of good health, and in an effort to be a human being over a human doing, I added, “rest more,” at the bottom of the page and closed the book.
We skied in Tahoe. We take our kids skiing every year. There is nothing like the fresh air, mountain views, and a world of white to glide down to make a person feel totally free. The kids have gotten quite good. When they first began they would follow behind me in a slow slalom like baby ducks following their mama duck. Now the older two can sail down on their own. I planned the trip several months ago, and I’d been looking forward to the time together as a family. But well laid plans are only well laid plans. They cannot account for the serendipitous or the accidental. Today, I lay in a hotel room bed contemplating how quickly things can change.
I was coming off the chairlift, one of my kids on one side of me, one on the other, when they each landed with their skis angled toward the middle, crossing over mine before pealing off in different directions, taking my legs with them. I fell into a splits, knees twisting. It was a fluky accident and must have been a sight. My kids had to help me down off the mountain. This time, they had to guide me down.
My knees are sore today, and one gives way occasionally when I walk. While it could have been worse, and I know with a doctors evaluation I will get it sorted out, I will certainly be slowing down as I start the new year. Self-care will begin with honoring my vulnerabilities and giving myself time to heal. I will be forced to let go and rest. It will not be easy.
While I tend to be an overtly positive person, I struggled with my situation at first—wallowed for a couple hours before I pulled myself up by my bootstraps (or, more exactly, knee braces). It was my kids who gave me the strength to laugh about it all. My ten-year-old snuggled me and named the best, funniest parts of our trip, ending with, “And accidents happen but they don’t change the good parts.” My eight-year-old boy (my tenacious one) whispered in my ear, “I prayed for you and God will heal you fast.” My six-year-old insisted on tucking me in before bed and singing lullabies. And my husband took care of everything. Took care of me in the most tender and protective way. There wasn’t a single thing I wanted to do then other than sit in that little room and enjoy the love and care from the ones I love and care for. It isn’t the kind of thing you scribble into a notebook on New Years Eve, but truly the highest points in a year are the ones of connection not accomplishment or adventure. The ones you can’t orchestrate because they unfold like quiet magic, like light that breaks through the cracks in things.
There have been so many blessings in this past year. So very many. There have been bumps too. For all of us. Some of us, like myself, might fight our way through. Focused. Productive. But sometimes we all need to be reminded (or even forced) to slow down and take the time to honor our experiences and give ourselves time to renew. Then we can stand up stronger, take charge of our resolutions and revolutions and pursuits and radical self-care. Whatever our challenges, whatever our goals and ambitions, I suppose the key to happiness and well-being is simply reveling in the ones who strengthen us on our adventures. The ones who make us laugh, who pray for us, who believe in us… so we can each get down the mountain. So we can then decide to surmount it again. Resilient. Free. And embrace the gift of a new year.
Tonight I raise a glass to the magic of friendship and wish you all a safe and joyful New Year! (mind the ski lifts!)