(This blog should have been published weeks ago, but- life. I am determined to getting back to regular posting, so please bear with me.)
Have you ever had a holiday where you thought, “Dear Lord, we could write a country song about this one!” I’m just going to be honest; this holiday has been a bit of a train wreck from stem to stern. I am always dreaming of a big technicolor, perfect, shiny, magical Christmas, and we have had many, many wonderful Christmases over the years- not perfect, but memorable in their happy and joyful moments (which is perfect to me). This year almost felt like we were living in a Saturday Night Live skit. I only wish I could have changed the channel…
Where to begin? i guess this is the best place:
I had to have surgery on my left big toe to remove an extra bone where my toe bends. All these years the periodic sharp pain made me think I had gout. Nope, obviously just a gene pool that needs to be chlorine shocked. I scheduled the surgery to happen right after the semester ended. There never is a good time to be out of commission, but this was as close as I could get. My podiatrist assured me I’d be able to get around enough to travel to Chicago to present at the MidWest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, with a huge perk being able to room with my BFF, Diane. Medicinal best friend time is always good.
While it was tough to walk so much so soon after surgery, I made it through in my lovely surgical boot, saw many friends, and my session went well. And even better, I got out of Chicago O’Hare on Wednesday, the day before Old Man Winter decided to go cray cray all across the country. I was extra glad to make it home because my little sister and her husband were coming to spend Christmas with us for the first time ever. I so wanted everything to be just perfect for them. I guess this is the part where the Universe laughs and talks about best-laid plans.
I made it home on the 22nd and immediately began to bake my traditional million cookies for friends, neighbors, colleagues, and my favorite seniors over at Princeton Towers (aka, ‘The Home for Wayward Seniors’). I didn’t get too far in, but managed to take care of some friends at school before vowing to finish all the baking the next day. I had people to make smile! Baking is what puts me in that all-important Christmas spirit, holiday tunes filling the house along with the wonderful aromas. Surely I could get it all done…
That afternoon, my sister and brother-in-law called to say that Rob had a heart event at work and was at the ER. It turned out that the event was a heart attack and he had a triple bypass a few days later (he went home today and is doing well!). They, of course, wouldn’t be able to join us. Soon after, I began coming down with a sore throat, followed by congestion, extreme exhaustion, headache, nausea, coughing- the whole shebang, Dan joining me in the fun soon after.
The holiday we had such high hopes for was spent sleeping in separate bedrooms because of all the coughing and nose-blowing, lots of naps thanks to the exhaustion, watching movies, and (I’m afraid) eating way too much chocolate. I have now officially gained back most of the weight I lost during the first year of the pandemic. Oh, and there was that historic cold snap that came and froze our pipes on Christmas Eve, causing a burst pipe on Christmas Day and no water for a couple of days. Our special Christmas dinner was reduced to vegetarian meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It was sort of like camping with no water, and when the plumber finally came, I have never been so happy to flush toilets, do dishes, and take a shower.
I was supposed to travel to Phoenix for a festival and Board meeting in early January, but I hoped to attend by Zoom…but ended up being too sick to do anything. I just wasn’t physically up for traveling and didn’t want to take any chance of spreading the wicked virus. I was really sad about heading into a very busy new semester feeling drained instead of recharged and invigorated, behind on life. I have been giving it my best, but to be honest, I crossed the 2022 finish line overwhelmed and very behind the proverbial 8 ball. I have tried really hard to look for the silver linings in the holiday; they are there. And I have no doubt that next Christmas will bring its own challenges, too…but also many joyful things.
As I wrote about last year, I’m not doing big New Year resolutions anymore- especially after ‘the holiday season that was’. I turned 60 in early January and am trying to give myself a good redirection- or a ‘back to’ direction. I hope to greet the next New Year healthier, more grateful, kinder, more compassionate, stronger, and more loving. I hope to set a good example for my students and to learn to live my most authentic life. I want to let go of the silly things I worry about, to be in the moment and enjoy each precious day with my Dan. One day at a time, hopefully learning from my many missteps and growing into the fun and cool old lady I hope to be. Exciting things to come, including introducing you to our new dog, Gracie, from Two by Two Rescue where we adopted our precious Marley.
Wishing you all a joy-filled 2023. Thank you for following along.