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Happy New Years…are you as tired as I am?

On December 21 I received a text from a very good friend of mine, “OMG…the stress of the new job and the holiday may kill me!” My dear friend, who I mentioned in an earlier post as one of the strongest women I know, recently returned to work after being at home with her two daughters for the past three years. Over the next few days we texted back and forth with holiday stress support notes, if we lived in the same city you may have found us at a local bar, possibly under it. As I read her texts, I felt pretty good about the holidays…. Then it went downhill quickly.

The Friday before Christmas our youngest child came down with the flu, which meant she and I had to miss the day trip to my husband’s family (and for the record, I really did want to go). That Saturday was the first day in I don’t know how many years that I actually spent the entire day at home, and it felt good. We made cookies, we organized, we watched TV, took a long shower… but by Sunday night we were at urgent care getting meds. By Monday morning, the day of our 8th annual Christmas Eve party I had not started any preparations after losing time with my little patient. With some help from my amazing au pair, Julia, we had made quite a bit of progress by 9 a.m. As I am getting dressed I touch base to see how Kanessa is doing… she was hanging in there. She comments on how calm I am given that my house will be full of people in a matter of hours and I need to pick up my mother from the airport. “It’s all good,” I respond.

But it wasn’t’, my mother’s plane had already landed and I was off by an hour! On the way I miss the exit and on the way home I miss the exit again. At this point I feel like a mouse in one of those exercise balls, running, running and getting nowhere. Party goes by, I forget to serve some of the food and as we are cleaning up for the night… down goes Julia, the flu hits her next. On Christmas day, after the 1000 calorie breakfast and gift opening, I am cleaning so that the cleaners can come the next day. You know that concept men just can’t ever get – why do you clean before the cleaners get there? Well, we had a living room with all the gifts just opened by three very greedy but cute children. Then off to dinner at another friend’s house. Wednesday was quite calm I must admit, then Thursday off to Indianapolis to see friends of ours in route to Toronto. As soon as we check into the hotel, my mother realizes she too has the flu. Two days running between friends and hotel to check on mom and we are back on the road home. That night we go out for a birthday dinner for our sweet Julia who is feeling better. Then it hits me… I am down too. One week after the first urgent care visit we are back – they know me there by name. Both my mother and I have bronchitis. I was supposed to visit our lovely niece in Chicago that night before she flew off to L.A. – and I missed her. I would go anywhere to see this sweet girl, and I don’t think I could have pressed the gas pedal to get the 20 miles to the city.

Last night was New Years. We called our neighbors to say we would not be joining them after all. And we all cuddled up on the couch and watched Home Alone 3. And it was the absolute best part of the eleven days since I last went to work. This morning, my husband says, “Last night was a lot of fun”. He’s absolutely right. Delivery pizza and laughing children, I couldn’t agree more.

I suspect that no matter what your holiday plans were, you experienced some sort of roller coaster that resembles mine. And your annual plan of going back to work refreshed is once again a fading dream. In the back and forth between Kanessa and I, when she comments on my ability to handle the ups and downs… my response is not valiant. It’s simple, we cannot control everything that happens, and eventually when you are worn down enough you just stop worrying about it. Clearly my dear Kanessa, you just have too much energy left.

Take a few minutes to look back over the past couple of weeks and remember the really good moments, those moments are the pieces to remember. The uninterrupted slow day with my 5 year old, hearing my kids and their friends in Indianapolis belly laugh, my husband’s 5 a.m. efforts to put together the air hockey table from Santa, the smile of a highschool friend that takes me back in time, my mother’s hugs, realizing my girlfriends biggest concern with moving to Canada is how to get our favorite wines over the boarder (this is why we are friends!), watching Home Alone 3 as a family… the rest is just noise.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint (just ask my husband)and I am not super human. I might just call in sick tomorrow and hole up in a quiet hotel room and sleep for an extra 10 hours. Either way I will remember to put what I really want on my Christmas list to Santa next year, 2 days at a spa between the holidays and returning to work.. While my body is wimpering, my soul is roaring into the new year.

 Happy 2013 to all you mamas that work it!