I’ll have to admit that January is kind of eating its way into my bones these days. It’s not that I’m so very weary of winter (I actually kind of like it) or especially unhappy or particularly wishing for something exciting to happen (in fact, I really don’t want it to, because then I would be compelled to get all excited, and I just don’t feel like it). It’s just that life feels kind of blah. Which makes me feel a little guilty, because I have every reason to be thankful and overflowing with joy.
But…life feels blah, and there we are. Things that would normally make me very happy-a clean house, for example, or the laundry washed, dried and put away for the ten minutes (more or less) it takes till the baskets are full again, just don’t seem as delightful as they should. That good book that looked so enticing in July when I was too busy gardening and mowing lawn to read doesn’t hold my attention like I expected.
It’s part of the fun of this time of year for me. Seed catalogs help a lot. So do far-away friends to message and close-by friends to have coffee with. So does the long to-do list on my counter. So does a good walk. So does cleaning out my catch-all drawer. Maybe if my vitamin D supplement came in Whole Food Form like I read about the other day, I would be a different person. According to the article I would be, and it’s quite possibly true.
How do YOU beat the winter blues?
I’m actually not sure why I’m here today. I want to come up with a brilliant, helpful, or entertaining post, but that doesn’t seem likely. I would like to share some beautiful, comforting words about my lovely young friend dying of cancer and leaving behind a husband and a row of motherless children. But that still feels so wrong and sad that I can’t. It would be nice to write something that would be a big boost to some unknown person out there. Not likely either.
Maybe I could expose some of my thoughts as Tim and I sat at the funeral of the friend I mentioned. A bunch of us old friends sang together, gulping down our tears more or less successfully. At one time, not really that long ago, our lives were heavily intertwined with each other’s. We (ladies) hung out in the church nursery and took care of our babies, talked about our gardens, discussed our housekeeping struggles, and (all of us) got together for suppers and ball games and Valentine’s parties. Now one of us is gone from this life, and the rest of us are scattered in all directions. I can’t think of too many other things besides a funeral that would have brought us all together like that.
It’s how life goes. People come into our lives and leave their mark, and then sometimes they slip out of it again, and we lose touch. I thought, as I made my way through that crowd, hugging my friends, how differently I feel about them now than I did when I first moved to Missouri, terrified and insecure and uncertain. They felt pretty scary then, but now they are home folks, old friends, exactly what I longed for back then. What I longed for was right there, I just had to find it.
Sometimes we need to step out of those safe zones where things are familiar and enter new territory. It’s scary, but I’m discovering something: new and scary things begin to feel safe and normal with time. The ladies that felt scary twelve years ago were the same ones I cried with happiness over seeing again last week. Things level out and we learn to love people and feel at home. And often the things we long for are within reach, we just haven’t found them yet.
Another thing I’m sloooowly discovering: when I’m pinched and silent and terrified and in my own little world, I tend to think that I’m alone and unusual and nobody understands me at all. But when I’m willing to jump into the scary waters of the unknown and let myself be known for who I am (along with accepting people for who they are), I often I find that I’m actually fairly normal and there are plenty of people who “get it.” And even if they don’t understand, most people don’t despise a person for being real. What a relief! Probably most people are born kind of knowing that, and here I am still struggling to grasp it.
Well, that was plenty sappy, so I will share a few of the activities the children are enjoying on these snowy days to kind of steer our minds in a different direction.
I took the little girls to Story Hour at the library a while back, and the craft for the day was stringing beads on pipe cleaners. They have had the most fun since, carefully making rows of beads with the big bag of red and green beads I found for $1 at my favorite thrift store.
A cookie sheet of rice is not what you want when you’re trying to keep the house clean, but once in a while it’s worth it.
We read Mr. Popper’s Penguins together, so they wanted to color Captain Cook and Greta. Another book we are enjoying right now is The Moffats. I love children’s books.
I really need some ideas for keeping school age children busy doing something profitable in the evenings and on weekends. They are a little beyond rice in a cookie sheet (most of the time). (And yes, they help with laundry and cleaning and dishes regularly.) But there still seems to be time left, and I don’t like to see lots of energy being wasted when they could be learning or doing something useful. Thoughts, anyone?
So there you have my brilliant, helpful, entertaining post.
Someday…probably NOT in January though.