Today is New Year’s Eve. In a few hours, the USA will ring in 2016.
I am not sure if I will stay awake until midnight this year, but even if I don’t I am eager to start a brand new year.
This morning I met up with a friend for coffee. I met her 5-month old baby for the first time, and it was so sweet. The baby girl is a doll. Spending a few hours with a baby really took me back. Even though it was only a little over two years ago that I had a 5-month old baby, I felt so far, far away from that part of my life.
My friend’s sweet baby sat in my lap all snuggly warm as I swayed her back and forth and talked and visited with her mommy. I enjoyed that little baby in my arms.
Later, I enjoyed watching my friend change her little diaper as I lamented over her tiny, kicking legs. I enjoyed watching my friend nurse her sweet girl in a most maternal act, and in such a powerful way that reminded me, a mother is the start of life.
But although I adored spending a few hours with a wee one, I am beginning to realize I am getting closer and closer to joining a new flock of women – the flock of women “done having kids.” In many ways it is exciting to me – a whole new phase of life as I prepare to close the door on 2015 and open the door to 2016.
I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and that is exciting to me, too. I haven’t made New Year’s Resolutions in years, but last night at a restaurant my husband and I made seven – TOGETHER. It was fun. I wrote them all down on a napkin and now we have a few resolutions for the new year to connect us and keep us centered.
Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, NONE of them have anything to do with our children. Our children are fine. Heck, they are better than fine. We have to keep doing what we are doing in that department, of course – loving them, teaching them, learning with them, and taking care of them. We have to keep them safe and pray they’ll always be safe and appreciate how special they are to us. We have to meet their needs, but not go overboard on the amount of energy we put into them. Because, as this year comes to a close, I feel depleted. Sad, but true.
The last month of this year has been full of some unexpected ups and downs in my life. I am prevailing, but it’s been a ride. In the new year, I want to recharge my batteries and teach my children to recharge their own batteries in ways other than by plugging into me. Not that they don’t engage in their own play without me or have calming skills if they are upset – I have worked hard to make sure they do – but at the end of the day, I still step in any time they need me and it is exhausting. It gets worse when other stressors enter my life and I do not have time to deal with them because I am too busy (and very preoccupied) taking care of my kids.
It’s a vicious cycle and, I do not ever want to resent my kids for holding me back from self-growth or for wearing me down. As The Dude from The Big Lebowski says, “There’s a lot of ins, there’s a lot of outs.” For example, the young ages of my kids, the amount of care they need vs the time I want to spend with my husband or self, my extended family, my mental health, my home, exercise, everyday life, unexpected problems, celebrations, funerals etc, etc, etc. Now I am channeling the guy from Talladega Nights who says he feels like he “has a pretzel in his head.”
But through it all, there is a resolution in there that pertains to my kids. To teach them (and people who can help) how to recharge by plugging into something other than me when I am depleted. It needs fine-tuning, so I guess it is good that I have a new year to figure out exactly what that means. But in a sense, I want to recharge and protect and monitor areas of my life with intentional self-awareness that will help me kick a little ass.
That involves my need for a new (metaphorical) baby to bring me joy, and I am going to work hard creating and crafting something special, that no, won’t ever be as special as my children, but that can sustain me outside of my obligation to my kids. I guess you could say, I plan to fulfill some promises to myself this year — with and apart from my family. Some promises that won’t deplete me, but that will fill me up.
As for the resolutions my husband and I made last night? Number one on our list is to get away more together. Most wanted — a beach vacation for four nights. We aren’t sure when or where or any of the details, but we resolute to make it happen.
Do you hear that 2016?
Let’s get this (beach) party started.
(Even though for reals I am already in my pajamas, stone-cold-sober, getting ready to listen to sappy versions of Auld Lang Syne, watch a movie and/or read a book).
Happy New Year.
May your spirit be bright.
Special thanks to my friend and her 5-month old sweet baby girl who helped spill all of this out of me on the last day of the year.