“I have big news to share!” I blurted as we sat down at the coffee shop.
“What?” Robyn asked.
I hesitated, took a breath, and said excitedly, “Nothing.”
My eyes unexpectedly watered, and I held my breath for a minute to feel what it was like to have no new agony, or even worthwhile hiccough, in my life to share (that is, other than an angry new sinus infection – which by the way, is still causing significant suffering two weeks later).
Every Sunday for the past three months when my friend and I got together for our listening partnership (which is a chance to intently listen to each other and offload our emotional baggage so we can be more present and patient with our children) I seemed to have some new unreasonable stressor to share:
- My father’s massive heart-attack and abrupt passing
- Greg being stranded at midnight because his car was broken into
- Greg’s car actually being stolen a couple weeks later
- Raphael’s custom orthotics not fitting, which required yet another visit to our home away from home: Children’s Hospital
- Greg taking his cell phone for an accidental swim, which inhibited our communication for several weeks
- Raphael exhibiting a new gagging/vomiting reflex at every meal
- Raphael injuring his foot and requiring an X-ray
- Raphael burning his right hand practically down to the bone
- Having to fight for my son’s state health insurance when it was canceled for no reason as well as handling incessant other issues that come from being a patron of a bureaucratic system
- My precious kindergartner coming home from school with surprisingly bad language and emotional, challenging behaviors
- My molar breaking on a seemingly benign tortilla chip, requiring six dental visits in nearly as many weeks
- A new speech therapist giving me even more things to do every day to get my youngest to eat more independently
- An early-season Hanukkah, holiday gifts to buy and send, events to attend, and family visiting
- A rare night-out with my husband turned puke-y and respiratory anxiety because our little crying guy just won’t be babysat by anyone other than his regular daytime caregiver
- Switching from quarterly to monthly (ugh!) prescription management so Medicaid will cover my son’s many meds
- Last-minute childcare scrambling when school is out and others (never us) are on vacation
- Sudden end-of-year work deadlines plus a transition to a new supervisor
- The unexpected announcement from my three-year-old’s ophthalmologist that glasses, and (oh no, not another!) surgery are in his future
- Raphael’s long-time facial rash spreading near his eyes and requiring an eight-week course of antibiotics
- Greg’s car crash with the boys, and Elijah experiencing a minor case of whiplash
- My inability to work and bill enough to cover everyday expenses because of so many doctor appointments and interruptions…
It’s a litany of ordinary little annoyances that I suppose everyone has – just not usually all in one season.
That’s why having nothing to report to my friend in the coffee shop felt so foreign. And so precious.
For the past three Decembers, I said “Good riddance” to the year gone by and prayed for a better one to come. But not in 2012. I did not end the year hoping that things couldn’t get worse.
This time, I am fighting the urge to make resolutions. I welcome each day and just ride the wave of mommyhood.
When I think about the year in review, I think of the many blessings and silver linings each difficulty brought.
My dearest childhood friends showed at my dad’s funeral and sat shiva with me. They played with my kids so I could I could eulogize my father.
Raphael’s hand in a cast for three weeks inhibited his signing ability, but it also led to his surprising gain of verbal language. And he didn’t need a skin graft after all.
Our one date night ended with my husband and I eating take-out Chinese food at the kitchen table, chatting and laughing at ourselves – at least until Elijah got out of bed.
An early Jewish holiday meant I didn’t have quite as much anticipatory stress as my friends had leading up to Christmas.
Raphael’s sprained foot healed quickly, and his orthotics are helping him walk now.
He has learned to not always vomit and just gags when he cries hard or feels food stuck in his little throat. We haven’t seen an ENT since summer, and the oxygen concentrator is gathering dust in our garage.
I did just enough work New Year’s Eve and bailed my boss out of a time crunch so that I looked like a hero. My freelance work and I still need each other.
With much persistence, I switched pharmacies and set up automatic reminders and can use the drive-thru drug store on my way to wherever.
Greg’s car was found, and $400 later, he’s been driving it again.
We discovered a super-fun kids’ rock climbing gym where Elijah spent two days of winter break camp. He may very well have found his passion. Good thing after a few chiropractic adjustments, his neck is OK and the risk of him falling doesn’t scare me so much.
I don’t have the flu and have found that taking pseudoephedrine plus two cups of coffee actually feels pretty enjoyable.
In the end, all is well. When nothing unusual happens, my life is especially good.
And since I have a friend who listens to me when more than nothing happens, perhaps there is nothing more I could really want.