This has been a really difficult year for me. I haven’t been blogging, and I haven’t even wanted to write. Yea, life is busy (gosh I hate that word). Yea, I’m a wife, a working mom with two little kids, and have the responsibilities of maintaining a household — but many of us are in that same exact boat (or have more on their plates) — and some without a partner.
So it would be trite to say those are the reasons why it’s been a harder than usual year for me.
No, I think it’s more that I’m still very shaken from the death of one of my best friends this spring. I’m still going through the grieving process, and I have felt no desire to put pen to paper or even to type. Rachel was such an enormous part of my everyday life and without her, life just feels stale. There are high moments — of course — but I still constantly have to fight the urge to text or call her when something good or funny or silly or “Rachel/Melissa” happens.
You dummy, she’s gone, I tell myself. And then I can hear her teasingly chastise me, “Meliss!”
But pieces of her glow remain. For example, the little boy she and her husband were in the process of adopting — he was formally adopted last month by her husband, a beautiful and bittersweet occasion, as she was the catalyst for his placement in their home as a foster child, and I believe she (and her husband) saved his life. I see him at school from time to time and give him a hug and a kiss — it makes me feel close to her — but it isn’t fair. She should be here too. I think that phrase a lot, and probably always will.
Though she died unexpectedly during a routine medical procedure, Rachel had been battling Crohn’s disease since she was 9 years old — meaning she lived with a chronic illness. But she never complained about her lot in life. Instead, she found ways to cope and live and thrive with her illness … by nourishing herself.
This meant finding creative ways to eat healthy when she couldn’t digest certain foods; it meant being open to switching up her diet (in the literal sense) to discover if certain foods made her sicker than others; it meant finding ways to exercise that made her feel strong even when her body struggled; it meant sleeping more than maybe you or I would because she knew to listen to her body. She knew how to nourish herself–even when her body was letting her down.
This was an enormous life-lesson she doesn’t even know taught me — one I didn’t really realize myself until recently when I was thinking of New Year’s resolutions and how futile they often are because they feel so intangible and unreachable … and the word “nourish” kept coming to the forefront. It was a tangible, a reachable, actionable thing.
Which brings me to today’s post.
Everyone talks about resolutions for the new year; I have certainly done so myself here. Every January I say I will lose 10 lbs, pay off the credit card I can’t seem to stop using (because POINTS! Rewards! — good lord, I’m a marketer’s dream), etc. That’s all well and good — having small, tangible goals is great and I don’t mean to dismiss their value — but what I’ve realized is that there’s never been a consistent theme or motto running through my head as I chipped away at these goals, holding me accountable. If there had been, perhaps I wouldn’t be in the exact same situation again! Every spring I lose 7 lbs pretty easily and every spring I pay down the same credit card … only to be facing the same challenges again come December (i.e., now).
So instead of harping on the things I want to “fix” in 2016 (lose weight, save money, get a raise) I am committing to living by a Rachel-inspired motto in 2016: “Nourish.” This motto will encompass everything I do, and will remind me — in the same vein that “Choose pride over guilt” did 6+ years ago– to consider it before making decisions. Does this (xyz) nourish my mind? My body? My soul? If not … I don’t need it [in my life].
I’ve not been doing a good job of nourishing much of anything these days.
Not my mind: I spend too much time on my phone (taking pics, texting, scrolling Facebook and Instagram) instead of being in the moment.
Not my body: I can’t tell you the last time I formally worked out (though my jeans probably can). I feel very uncomfortable in my own skin right now. I’m food-journaling and wearing my FitBit but not at all seeing results because all I’m doing is stuffing my face and not working out.
Not my soul: I feel like my spark faded this year, and I want it back. It’s a big part of my personality and I feel the fade.
Not my craft: I’m not writing at all these days — not blogging, not writing poetry, not writing prose, not journaling … I’ve all but zipped up my arsenal of words, and I am finally missing the art of writing.
Not my marriage: I get so hung up on the little things sometimes that I lose sight of the big picture — the awesome guy next to me on this journey of life.
Not my relationships: I don’t have the energy to put in what I ought to be with family or friends these days.
I feel like I’m half-assing everything … and it isn’t good.
And then there’s my #1 role: being the best mom I can be to my sweet peas. Some days I feel like I’m kicking ass at this working mom thing, and other days I want to throw in the towel. Like last night when Ben looked up at me with those big brown eyes and told me “I was cryin’ for you at nap today, Mama.”
“Were you really, Benny Boo?”(Tears welling up in my eyes).
“Yea… I was like, I want Mommy …I want Mommy.” As his voice changed to differentiate how he had been crying for me, I wanted to cry myself.
It just hasn’t been a great year. And so in 2016, I am going to live by the “Nourish” motto.
I know having a motto, a saying, call it what you will – worked for me in 2009. I am hopeful it can work again.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Hoping to be back at it in 2016, with a refreshed frame of mind.
PS–My gorgeous girl turns FIVE on Friday. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! I leave you with my favorite photo of her and I from our last shoot with my amazingly talented photog friend, Staci ❤