Sunday, January 06, 2013

May all your New Tears be happy

All week long I kept typing it: “Happy New Tears.”

I blamed my great, big fingers trying to work the tiny phone keyboard for the mistake… and Facebook. I blamed Facebook for forcing me to reply to everyone I've ever known since third-grade summer camp who wished me season's greetings.

I also blamed growing up in the northeast for my propensity to add an S to practically all nouns.

Of course the thing I couldn't do was admit that the mistake seemed apropos.

It's nothing new. Each December's end I squint in the glare of the New Year – with its grand, fiery, celebrity-soaked entrance -- hoping it will settle down and spend the next 364 days being calm and uneventful.

In looking back, it seems, I survey the previous year's damage and hope for better … or at least nothing worse.

I wish for fewer fights with my husband.

I wish for fewer illnesses for the kids.

I wish for fewer worries for my family and friends.

And even though I don't actually make it official by declaration, I round up a few things I'd like to achieve:

I'd like to be more active.

I'd like to eat more vegetables.

I'd like to cut down on sugar, white flour, dark thoughts … and bitterness.

Truly, though, I'm not cynical.

I haven't truly accepted that I can't change for the better.

Now's as good a time as any for list making and fresh starts.

And really … it's better than at Christmas time when the house is filled with an abundance of the things that only sabotage our best intentions.

Cookies, candies, lax bedtimes, snow storms, bacteria, sinus pressure … feelings of ineptitude.

… Batteries not included.

My phone “dings” with another message wishing me a Happy New Year. … Another over-zealous response: “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!”

How many extraneous exclamation points will I need to use before I start to feel real excitement?

“I need to snap out of this,” I tell myself, aloud, so I might half-heartedly listen.

“What did you say?” Ittybit answers. “Nothing, just talking to myself. This time of year makes people crazy.”

She shrugs and tugs on her coat.

Her brother has storm clouds brewing between his eyebrows and the place where a scarf rests underneath his nose. Nothing else is visible amid the layers of winter wear I'd wrestled him into.

The school bus is coming, and he'd rather stay on vacation. He'd rather run around in his shorts in front of the blaze of the wood stove playing with LEGOs than have to do the work of Kindergarten. Today will be hard.

But eventually things will be back to normal again.

There may even be a few improvements.

It's not impossible.

All it really takes is intention and repetition in no particular order.

I take a deep breath and exhale. “One day at a time,” I tell myself. “Mistakes only count when you stop counting.”

Who knows? Maybe it's not the worst thing to wish for that all our New Tears be happy.

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