Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ahh, December with your beautiful white frozen coverlet of flakes, your sharp, crisp pull of fresh air in the morning, your gentle sliding of tires into other tires into trees and... yeah, I'm not a big fan of winter. But it's not really here right now, either. The only time snow is acceptable to me is a week before Christmas, and then it needs to melt by the 26th and not come back for a year. This never happens, by the way.

Despite all that, I have a tremendous amount to be grateful for this year. It's been a trying year, to say the least, but we have an amazing, gorgeous, healthy little miracle of a baby boy and that puts everything else into perspective.

I had so many issues with my health after he was born that it kept me from enjoying the things I should have been enjoying. I don't really mind sleep deprivation, since I was never one to sleep a great deal to begin with. I slept fitfully, at best. Now, when I DO sleep, it feels awesome.

I went from accomplishing twenty things in a day to being lucky to get a load of laundry finished in 24 hours. I went from cleaning two houses in a day for cash to wishing I could hire someone to clean my own house because I just didn't have the energy or the time to even begin. I went from cooking a couple of times a day to eating frozen meals other people brought to me because I would just not eat rather than try to make a sandwich for myself.

Never in my life have I been so dependent on others. Never have I had to give up so much independence, so much pride, so much ... dare I say it? Control.

It puts things into perspective, that's for certain. I started going to a therapist for the first time in my life. I started taking Prozac. I started to admit that I can't handle every single thing that gets thrown at me on a daily basis along with the battle I go through with anxiety nearly every moment of every day. There's something that's so difficult about admitting all of this but, at the same time, something so freeing about admitting that I'm not in the driver's seat.

And, to be honest, I don't want to be.

I just lost a very good friend. She was 83, but the age didn't matter a single bit when we were together. I saw so much of myself reflected in Fran Troyer, and often thought I'd be much like her when I got to be her age. When I met her, she had just started to use a walker, often but not always, because her muscles weren't working the way they should. Over the decade plus that I knew her, she became completely wheelchair bound. We discussed the struggle and frustration she felt with that and with other muscles in her body, talked about what God had in mind for us on our journeys, prayed for each other, and respected each other's opinions even when they weren't the same. We learned from each other. I loved her like family, and when I learned that she had passed from this world, a big part of me fell apart. She was one of the smartest, strongest people I knew... and she was gone.

The struggle for control we had talked about so often came back to me once again and I realized that it's not a struggle at all. We're not in control, plain and simple. We can try to force things to be the way we want them to be, but if it's not meant to be, it's not going to happen. The only thing we can do is pray, and then do our best, day by day, to do what we feel is right in every situation. For so long, my husband has been a one-day-at-a-time guy and I've tried to plan out my whole life. He seems more at peace every day than I've ever been for a moment in my life.

It's time to change.

When I began this blog, it was called "A Year of Reinvention", as you might know if you've been reading that long, but so few have. I quickly realized it was going to take a lot longer than a year to become the person I wanted to be, the person I was meant to be, because I didn't even know who that person was yet. And it would take a lifetime to get there.

I'm always grateful for another Christmas, another new year, another fresh start. 2015 was peppered with sorrow and joy, as most years are, but this one was particularly seasoned. I'm interested to see what 2016 will bring, and live in the hope that, day by day, there will be happiness to be found.

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season.

Stephanie Jean

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