Perhaps 2016 was offended by my clumsy thumbs that kept trying to skip over it, typing “2017” multiple times in multiple messages in the weeks surrounding the New Year. Or perhaps 2016 felt slighted because our entire family, some here and the rest at Grandma’s, did not even attempt to stay up until the strike of midnight to usher in this new trip around the sun much less with style, fizzy drinks, and funny hats.
Whatever the cause, it seems that 2016 started off a wee bit fussy with my sweet family, and the laundry list of ailments from the new year’s first few days reads like a lyric from a bad country song: half the Littles sick, pipes (both in the house and in the mama) not working, and we missed family Christmas on New Year’s Day with B’s family because our van broke down at the gas station with what we later found out was a not-so-cheap busted fuel pump. How ironic.
If you’re a superstitious soul, and for some reason – I am, you might look at our start to this new year and begin to wonder exactly what happened to bring about such an abundance of rotten luck (see above for my best guesses). But if you’re also a faithful soul, and yes – I believe there is good and love and grace in this world, you might look at our first few days of 2016 and think, “OK. Here is a chance to breathe. A chance to trust that, somehow, this too shall pass.”
While I don’t believe in sugar coating stories or stuffing down emotions (I am an advocate of the Feel All the Feels movement), I also work hard not to wallow. It is one thing to feel like your world has entered a massive crap storm and another thing completely to believe your entire world is a massive crap storm.
I believe it is perfectly normal to look at our first few days of 2016 and be a bit depressed by it. Sickness and home/car repairs are never fun. But just because our first few days started out a little (OK, a lot) rough doesn’t mean we are destined for an awful year. In fact, I refuse to believe that even though some of our earliest moments of it have literally had me sweating and in near-tears. What pulls me through is perspective.
I have written before about perspective on HVFH and I’m writing about it again now because gaining perspective is one thing; keeping it is a lifetime practice and therefore bears repeating.
When my kids get sick, I am thankful to have modern technology at my fingertips. I can scan their foreheads to get their temperatures and I can then double check via Google to know just what to do when a fever gets just so high. And all of this only takes three minutes or less. Medical monitoring and guidance help me breathe easier as I watch them rest and recover as I give thanks that their illness is only uncomfortable and not chronic.
When we find drips and leaks from one floor of the house to the next (or when our own systems shut down a bit), I am again thankful for the helpers. In the case of my house, knowing we have a good plumber to call tells me we will get to dry land again. In the case of my body, well, thank goodness for fiber and the ability to laugh at oneself.
And as for the busted down vehicle? That one is a little harder to swallow, but when I take into account that the breakdown occurred 8 blocks from my house instead at a little gas station on a highway in the middle of nowhere on a freezing cold holiday in NE (which would have been the case had the hubs not gone to fill up before leaving town with the toddler and the newborn), I can’t be too upset. My boys got home safe and sound thanks to the divine intervention of an acquaintance who also pulled into the same station on an early morning coffee run (she even had an open carseat for the 2yo; newborn was still home with me), and my in-laws brought our other kids and the rest of Christmas to us that afternoon instead.
We are not cursed. We are still blessed. We just need to remember and see that, even though we know crap storms are going to keep happening. It is not because we have done anything wrong (although, 2016, if there is something I can to make it up to you, give me a sign, OK?). It is just life.
And so, in line with what seems to be the anti-resolution revolution of 2016 (so many writers and bloggers and friends are posting beautiful messages in recent days about loving who you are and what you have instead of getting caught up in the pressure and stress of new year’s resolutions), I, too am going to keep perspective in check this new year.
Even with bumpy starts and unexpected (not to mention large) bills, we keep moving forward. There is no need to wish away the entire year just because its beginning was less than awesome. Rather each day, each moment, is thankfully, mercifully an opportunity to begin and see anew.