Two weeks before the jolly big guy in the red suit was supposed to arrive, I couldn’t believe that for the first time in my 18 years as Mother Goose, I hadn’t done a single thing to prepare, not a one, and even more shocking — it didn’t bother me in the least.
It’s not that I didn’t care, mind you, but something unbelievable happened to me this past fall that changed how I do everything in my life now. I am staying true to my resolutions (the ones I made when all my kids went back to school) and am the happiest I’ve ever been. Can you stand it?
Now, the word “resolution” might be a tad strong for my new way of functioning, but seeing that the New Year will arrive on Jan. 1, whether we are ready or not, it seems fitting.
Sure, I used to be one of those well-meaning folks who made a list of everything I intended to improve in my life come the end of each holiday season, but it’s been so long since I jotted down things like being fit enough to wear jeans that don’t require wrestling with my spare tire before I can snap them, splurging on a bottle of wine that costs more than $5.99, using my carefully clipped coupons for actual savings rather than discarding a wad of chewing gum, and making every effort to actually take long, relaxing showers several times a week instead of sponge baths on the go. (I’d like to have something to look forward to when I’m a resident of Shady Pines).
The reason I no longer care to document such lofty goals is because come the end of each year, it became a little depressing to realize I had failed yet again to wear denim that was seated comfortably on my hips rather than nestled under my bust line, and what was the point of buying expensive wine in a bottle when my cup could runneth over thanks to those space-saver boxes that are actually all the rage now?
So it was then that I decided I was going to forgo the resolutions and instead, concentrate on things that made me happy — mainly my family, taking care of our home, and finding new ways to wear my middle-aged hair without embarrassing myself or my kids. The simple things in life!
For years, this worked just fine, but deep down I felt like I wasn’t making any real strides towards my lifelong dreams and goals. I realized that although having the upstairs and downstairs of our home clean at the same time was near nirvana, I didn’t know a darn thing about sitting quietly, for even a few minutes, where I could get lost in my own private thoughts and get excited about projects and ideas that would make my heart race.
This fall, that all changed however. My last little one flew the nest and entered all-day Kindergarten. There were no tears shed, no long goodbyes — we were both ready for this, believe me, and neither of us have ever looked back.
Annie is in complete heaven being part of Mrs. Parkinson’s wonderful adventures in Kindergarten, and I am refreshed beyond words because for the first time in nearly two decades, I can go to the bathroom alone and stay there as long as I’d like, I can take care of the house in half the time because I’m never interrupted, but best of all — I am getting to know myself again and in the process, am fulfilling some of my own, personal passions.
First, I’m getting more rest. I used to rise and shine by 5:30 a.m. to powerwalk most mornings, but thanks to Kindergarten, I can now sleep in until 6 a.m. and walk after the bus leaves our neighborhood at 8:35!
Second, I no longer have to take anyone food shopping or on errands, which has not only saved me hours upon hours of time, but loads of money as well, and I can listen to any station in the car that I like. Oh, and don’t worry, I’m not the least bit lonely!
Third, I have finally begun reading for pleasure again! Actual novels that are on this year’s New York Times bestseller lists are in my possession and actually being completed before the next Presidential election. Wahoo!
And last, but certainly not least, I have been extremely fortunate to share my passion of writing with a fellow writer friend, resulting in several “literary adventures” that have given me a major extra spring in my step. There truly is nothing more exciting than getting out of a cozy, flannel-sheeted bed and diving into writing your very own novel. Why my fifth grade son doesn’t see this as exhilarating, I’ll never know!
This phenomenon of having a few hours alone each day may still be new, but I already know the value of it must never get old. And because I have finally realized this, the only resolution I really need to make each year is to never let my family know how tickled I am to actually use the bathroom for its intended purpose — reading, of course!