Sounds of the Season

At our house, the sounds of the season have included someone falling (twice) through our ceiling that wasn’t Santa, the sounds of the tummy bug, mama’s frustrated yelling at cranky children, stomping feet by said cranky children and the crunch of being rear ended. Despite my best attempts at perspective, I was starting to think agoraphobics are onto something.

And then, there are my babes, constantly reminding me (in their brightest of moments) of the joy and humor of the season. There was the uncontrollable giggling in the back seat from both boys when the dogs barking jingle bells song came on the radio, Pumpkin’s eyes lighting up as he helped me shop for his gift (ah, the beauty of a 13 month old memory) by testing out toys in the store, Pumpkin screaming and crying when we attempted the sit on Santa’s lap, riding the infamous Pink Pig, watching Peanut “sing” (and pick his nose) during his school’s Christmas performance.
As I pack up the clothes, gifts, Santa, car activities and snacks for our trip to North Carolina later this week, I will do my best to remember that my kids, playing with the wrapping paper instead of the gifts while decked out in their matching Christmas pajamas, will more than make up for the crazy that was the rest of December.
Never doubt the power of the matching Christmas pajamas.

More Perspective

Nearly two years to the day, I wrote about getting a little perspective. Funny, but I’m back in the same place.

We spent November sharing a nasty cold from one member to the next. It hung on at least two weeks per family member and it spared no one. Then, last Wednesday, a freak chain of events led to a flooded crawl space and a therefore flooded water heater. From Wednesday until Friday we had no hot water. None. The hubby and I were showering at the Y. The kids were getting sponge baths that we told them were space baths like the astronauts do it (hey, it worked). I was heating up water on the stove to fill the sink to wash our dishes. Thankfully, we got the pilot light relit Friday on a fluke…only for it to go out again today. Looks like our glee at avoiding a several thousand dollar new water heater expense around the holidays was short lived.
Friday, I got a stomach bug. And although it could have been much worse, I was really not myself until Sunday afternoon. Monday, work began in the house to remediate mold found in our crawl space and attic. I can’t tell you how stressful of a project that has been to ensure the kids are safe during the process not to mention having to turn our heat off during some of the coldest days Atlanta’s seen in December in years while they cleaned the HVAC (um, Brrr?). Then, Peanut got the stomach bug Tuesday night.
Luckily, on the brink of falling into my own pit of self-indulgent pity, I was hit again by the perspective stick. Tonight, I’m making dinner for a neighbor’s family. A neighbor who at 46 was struck by heart failure and a series of set backs that laid him out so badly in ICU he was given a one percent chance of survival forcing his wife to prepare their two daughters for daddy’s death. That was several weeks ago and through the power of love and prayer and sheer determination, he is coming home soon. He has miles to go, but he’s alive and ready to take those miles on.
Then, there was the mail today. The arrival of a Christmas card. From my aunt. Signed with a single name. The absence of a name on the card speaking louder than my aunt’s neat, nun-taught script.
As I filled the sink for tonight’s primitive dish washing episode and planned tomorrow’s schedule around an early work out just to earn a shower at the Y, I took a deep breath. Although my problems are still annoying. Although the sicknesses and the caring of the sicknesses have left me exhausted. Although our wallets are not enjoying the Friday installation of our new (tankless!) water heater. I have my boys. I have the hubby. I have the promise of our blank Christmas tree awaiting trimming.
And I will enjoy all of them a little bit more thanks to this year’s perspective.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 31

I got pretty slack there at the end with my 30 days of thanks. Sorry about that. It’s not that I wasn’t thankful, I was just tied up with NaNoWriMo and taking the time to enjoy our trip away to the NC mountains for Thanksgiving. It was a lovely trip and unfortunately, I came back woefully behind in my word count. It took some serious buckling down to complete it before yesterday’s deadline, but I did it.

That’s right. In 30 days, I wrote 50,860 words that included a beginning, a middle and an end. I can now claim for all eternity that I wrote a book. WHAT?! Seriously, this still amazes me. Okay, it’s got some serious flaws, needs some major continuity help, and I already want to cut a whole character’s point of view and develop another character more fully, but those are all things I didn’t have 31 days ago.
I learned a lot about my own process during this experiment and how I work best. More importantly, I learned that inspiration is a fickle mistress, but most of the time all you have to do is sit down and start. I battled my fears and proved that yes, I can do it. It’s not impossible. And despite all its problems, there are parts of this book I wrote that are darn good. All in all, it was quite the rewarding experience.
That being said, today I am supremely thankful for my family and friends. I made my journey public to my family and was quite vocal about it on Facebook as well as in this space. I can’t tell you how the words of encouragement and questions throughout the month of November helped me. Having a personal cheering section made all the difference. So to all of you out there who offered a virtual high five when I was feeling successful, who offered a word of encouragement when I wasn’t, asked me how it was going when we ran into each other and who helped me celebrate my victory last night and today now that it’s complete – THANK YOU!
So, what’s next? Christmas. Catching up on a month’s worth of DVR programs. Sleep.
Then, come January, I’ll print this sucker out and read it to see what I’ve truly got. Then the real work begins. After all, it takes most writers years to write a book, not a month. Thanks to the experience and all of the fantastic people in my life, I’m confident that I can handle it.