"No Child Left Inside" · Conversations with Kids · Family life · Growing Up New Hampshire · Mom is Doing Her Best

Spinning into the Holidays

Clearly the Playmobil (correct spelling) advent calendar has been bumped recently, but as I looked at it this morning, trying not to laugh, I realized how much it is indeed a true reflection of life leading up to the holidays. From the carriage knocked over on its side to the angel looking like she is waiting for a return trip to heaven to the elf maybe having stayed up too late– or had too much eggnog with the angel. Maybe the music from the orange radio on the brown table got a little crazy last night in the advent workshop. At least Santa’s sleigh appears to be in good shape already hooked up to the reindeer and just waiting patiently for Santa to show up a little bit later in the advent schedule.

As ridiculous as this sounds, I choked on a Christmas cookie this week at school which aspirated a crumb into my airway. Who would have thought that could set me back so badly, but I was a mess to say the least. One trip to Urgent Care told me that the crumb had likely resolved itself but that the deep, nasty cough (not Covid, the flu or RSV as they tested me for all of that too just to be safe) was because the crumb had likely roughed up my airway. However, the cough made it very hard for me to sleep, and I was quickly reminded of how much I really need sleep to function. Suddenly, I was brought back to those early months when the kids were babies and how entire weeks would pass when I returned to work at school where I could not remember one day to the next. Yet, we functioned. Sort of. Just like the song from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” goes, “We put one foot and front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor…”

I was not functioning well this week, and therefore incredibly grateful that Mother Nature sent us a snow day yesterday, whether we physically needed it or not safety wise– I mentally needed it. Shoveling snow and snow blowing is like mowing the lawn for me or stacking wood or leaf blowing. In the world of teaching teenagers, it’s hard on any given day to know when we measure up in the big picture. Especially in those crazy weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Especially during the World Cup! (Side note: Not that I agree with any of the reasons for this World Cup being held in Qatar, I have enjoyed the games I’ve been able to watch immensely and also the enthusiasm with which our kiddos share with their friends.) This is what I’m thinking about as I drive home from dropping my kids off to ski with friends at Loon on our snow day from school: How excited I am to fire up my snowblower, and I wonder how did I get to this point in my life?

And then I approach the snowy intersection in the center of our little town, put my blinker on appropriately, and begin to turn left slowly. However, despite my slow speed, I continue to rotate more than 90 degrees. My son would call it a 270, and I’m aware there is no one else in the intersection but me, doing this weirdly slow spin around. The fact that no one was coming in any direction of a 4 way road was a miracle. Otherwise, that could have been an even uglier way to finish out the days before Christmas than aspirating on a crumby crumb. I actually had to put the car into reverse and give myself enough room to get going in the right direction again, but the road righted itself and me soon enough.

So we put one foot in front of the other, and then one kid gets a cold and his sister refuses to enter the room he is unless he puts a mask on. Magical. All of it magical.

I apologize for not writing more these last few months about the personal parts of life that are not always directly related to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation blog kind of writing. But as our kids are almost 13 and 12 now, they have discovered what happens when they google their names, and Mom’s blogs all pop up. How embarrassing. So it’s a fine line to walk, and I want to respect their feelings, but I’m unapologetic for anything I’ve written over the years. I haven’t been able to write about the first dance where our son asked a girl, and I haven’t been able to write about what my girl finds hard about sixth grade friendships– but I’m taking notes so I remember, and maybe one day they won’t care as much about being almost 12 and 13. They may be our children, but this is also our truth, and maybe one day when they are old and gray and their grandparents and parents have since passed, they might find a little strength, hope, love, and laughter too.

Here is to kicking off a Happy Hanukkah week to our friends who celebrate, and best wishes for teachers and school children across the land for a good Last Week of School before Holiday Break. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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