I did something during the close of 2013 that I never had done before in my entire life. I took my children to London for Christmas. Normally, we celebrate the holiday by the warmth and comfort of our own hearth. But, this year was different. This year, I needed to exchange routine for "new" in order to meet the needs of my evolving family life. So as December 25, 2013, rolled around, me and four of my five children found ourselves strolling down a desolate Bond Street on our way to partake in the festivities offered by the only venue that was open in all of London during that day -- Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" Museum. There began the adventure that led me to come face-to-face with a lost child and take her home.
It had been unexpected, but much of what had unrolled in 2013 had been unexpected so I guess this was "normal" for the year -- a year that had been extremely challenging, unusually hard, and one that seemed to test my character and fortitude daily. Many, many days, I felt as if I had been pushing a very large boulder up a hill with no end in sight (for good cause, mind you, but still... not easy). But some years, I believe, are designed for pushing; others for pulling; and still others, for sliding into your goals after all of the pushing and pulling has finally paid off. 2014 is a sliding year for me, without a doubt.
That said, like so many others can relate, the toll the stress of life can take while running its usual course can sometimes blind, and even numb us, to the changes it is making to our lives and personal happiness. Women (and especially mothers) can relate to this reality as evidenced by the enormous amount of widespread depression, anger, and frustration so many of my sister bloggers blog about.
In my opinion, many moms inadvertently misplace their own inner-child as they endeavor to raise their own children. Playfulness gives way to responsibility. As such, we begin "growing up" beyond what is good or healthy for us -- truly to the detriment of ourselves and our entire families. It's a slow metamorphoses that swallows many of us whole well before we even realize that we have entered the belly of the beast. Waking up from this can sometimes be a bitch -- arising only from a sudden and strong "kick in the ass" called a "reality check" that you never saw coming but hit you squarely between the eyes and knocked you back to your senses... thankfully.
That is what my recent trip to London did for me. Hauling me out of "routine," the change not only required me to have fun at the hands of wanting to entertain, bond, share, and frolic with my kids, but it also made me realize just how much fun "I" had given away in 2013 in order to meet the demands placed upon me -- both self-imposed and otherwise. Needless-to-say, I had not done anyone any favors in doing so. As such, a clear and decisive change -- not to the goals or obligations required of me, mind you, but to how I was choosing to move forward in handling them -- needed to be made.
This woman -- who always preachers how short life can be -- had spent an entire year hearing her own words but not listening to them, herself, it seems. The realization struck me hard... and I am quite grateful it did as out of the pressure now dissipating from my brow, emerged the playful child I had not even realized had gone away until that moment. Once she showed up again, she played all throughout our time in London -- remaining fully responsible, mind you, but renewed in her realization that you can actually do both with little difficulty and a great deal more pleasure and happiness.
At the end of our trip, this child returned back to the States with me and my family. Suffice-it-to-say, I am gleefully and unquestionably confident that she is here to stay. And truthfully, right in time. As I stated before, some years are made for pushing; others, pulling; and still others, sliding. 2014 is the year of the "slide." And who better than a child to remind a grown-up how to "slide." Right?
I think so and I think most people would agree! Something to think about as we begin navigating our first full week of the new year.