The most difficult days of winter have passed, yet it still often feels as if the sun and warmth will never return. February is for me, as it is for so many, a difficult time of year. The magic of the season has long since worn off and the world at times feels grey and dreary. I’m often drawn to feelings of darkness and isolation. I’m tempted to sleep every possible minute and I forget what it’s like to feel invigorated and alive. I hate that about myself.
I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I’ve fallen into a rut. Very little seems appealing and the days pass almost without notice. I’m so busy pining for spring that I neglect to notice the gifts each day offers.
This week I was yanked from my abyss by several events that made me realize, once again, that my life is abundant.
My teenage daughter blessed me with her company last Sunday as we spent an afternoon together, shopping and more importantly, just talking while enjoying a day without obligation. Kacey isn’t ashamed to hang out with me and she talks freely with me. How many parents would give their left arm to have a kid like this? I am so lucky to have her. She even told me that in one of her classes recently, a teacher asked how many students have a good relationship with their moms. Kacey said she raised her hand without a second thought before looking around and realizing she was one of only about five students willing to admit to this. The teacher took it a step further, asking her, “Really?” And she proudly told him, “My mom and me? Yeah. We’re good! We talk.” God, I love that kid!
But as any parent of more than one child knows, your relationship with each child can vary drastically from the others. For me, this means my boys don’t appear to need me nearly as much as their sister seems to. I know that’s normal but it’s not always easy to swallow. My oldest, Brad is busy enjoying life on his own away at school. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that he’s not going to call me constantly and when I call him, he’s not all that interested in long and wordy conversations. But when he’s home, he’s affectionate and I know that he loves and misses me when he gives me one of his fabulous bear hugs. And then there’s my Jake. I’m always trying to figure out what’s going on inside that head of his. He and I are so different in many ways and yet so similar in others. I guess that’s why I connect with him. I love that we share a love of music and the fact that he comes to me when he hears a song that strikes a chord with him. He always wants me to listen to his “new” discoveries. This week he discovered Matchbox 20 and I loved being able to go into my CD collection and surprise him with two CDs he could load to itunes and transfer to his ipod.
I have also been blessed with some amazing friends, both online and in real life. I’ve felt uplifted by several of them this past week. My best friend, in particular has been there for me through thick and thin for the past twenty-some years. On Monday I helped her celebrate her fortieth birthday. We didn’t do anything overly exciting or exotic. In fact, it was a relatively quiet night, compared to some of the adventures we’ve had. We simply spent time together having fun. I needed to laugh again and we did plenty of it. We stayed out way too late and I paid for it dearly the next day, but I would do it over again in a heartbeat. She is like family to me and I love her to death.
There were little things throughout the week too. The friendly stranger who joked with me while waiting for a very slow elevator in my building… The security guard in the lobby who always smiles and waves as I come and go… The guy that comes to water the office plants, one of which hangs in front of my window. He’s always armed with his watering can and an encouraging word… A feeling of accomplishment in my work and the sense of a job well done… The neighbor across the street who always seems to be out and about in his yard. Yesterday he saw me come home with a trunk full of groceries and offered a helping hand… My friend Shelly who is the mom of one of Kacey’s best friends. She reads my blog – one of the few real life friends who knows about it – and joked to Kacey that someday she’s going to put together some of the things I’ve written into a book and get it published. To be given such a compliment very simply warmed my heart through and through!
We were hit with a good winter storm yesterday, but even that held blessings of sorts. Since it was my day off, I didn’t have to navigate rush hour traffic and treacherous roads. And as much as I hate to see more snow fall, it IS only February and around here, that means winter is nowhere near over. I found myself watching the snow fall in sheets throughout the late afternoon and early evening, feeling in awe of the way a beautiful snowfall never grows old in my eyes even as I realize I’ll be cursing it for one reason or another soon enough.
I’m done feeling like Eeyore. The weekend is upon us and life is good!