The Gift of Time and Labor

Winter break has turned into this gift of time for us, I'm off of work, and so is Josh. It's 17 days long, two full weeks off of school, and a bonus Monday off for a teacher work day. While yes, the holiday hoopla is in full swing for a large part of the break, we've really honed in on how to enjoy the downtime. Joy has come from ice skating with my family and our good friends on a lake in the mountains, joy has come from sledding the local hill, skiing a few days, preparing meals together, learning how to play our new board game, and lots of hanging out. Joy also came in deciding not to travel.

Which leads me to some unconventional joy (slash awakening) I experienced. My 8 year old desperately needed her room cleaned and organized, one of the those full top to bottom cleanings, complete with next size clothing pulled out from bins in the storage closet. The kind of cleaning you often whisper under your breath, if I only had the time. Well, for once I did have the time. Oh goodness, the things I did unearth, like her used tissue collection behind her chapter books on her book shelf. And the cobwebs, it was like it's very own ecosystem hiding behind her curtains in the very reaches of the window that we clearly never take a moment to notice.

Then deep feelings start creeping in, the very real feelings of avoidance. My daughter is 8, and while I do expect her to keep her dirty laundry in her hamper, I certainly don't expect her to keep the dust at bay in the far reaches of shelves, or underneath her heavy trundle bed cleaned and vacuumed. I just carried on with the task at hand, working through the feelings that would bubble up for me, reminding myself that I am not avoiding anymore, I am dealing head on.

The energy to deal carried right through to Sj's room. My oldest, my oddly type-A child that keeps her room looking wonderful complete with a daily made bed… UNTIL you open a dresser drawer, or my goodness get down on your hands and knees and start reaching for what is under her dresser, under her bed, and find the stuff that is in my nightmares. Oh that girl. For her, her bedroom overhaul, came with lessons, and visualizing how a pajama drawer actually means a place to store, pajamas. We hung posters, framed her favorite art work, vacuumed and dusted, and washed her windows. When you walk by her room you can almost hear that high pitched bling, a delightful sound to me that means the storage matches the appearance.

Once I got over beating myself up for everything I have been avoiding, I basked in what the other side feels like. I let the momentum flow. This break has turned into a defining moment for me, taking back nooks and crannies, what's happening behind a closet door, under the sofa, in the quaint basket filled shelving system, under the refrigerator, heck IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Deep cleaning, deep breaths, and an organizational overhaul that never felt so good. I want to remember the glorious feeling that comes with being on the other side of the labor, my cup of coffee this morning seems to taste better as I sit back and appreciate my newly zushed bookshelf, free of sunscreen, bills, nail clippers, advertisements, school photos, random LEGO pieces, and everything else that seems to land there.

A new year, a new commitment to maintain the momentum, to not slip back into comfort, to not allow myself to avoid what's right in front of me. I did a lot of letting go through the physical process of cleaning, letting go of what I haven't been, and visualizing what I want to be. I can do this, I want this, I can create it.