I have to say, despite the happiness that 2015 brought to our family, I've been pretty disappointed in myself. I've struggled a lot this past year, spiritually, and in my vocation as a wife and mother. My back pain has been so intense, and many times it rendered me absolutely useless. In addition to working a demanding full-time job, Will had to pick up a lot of the slack at home when I was unable to do so. I became depressed from the chronic pain, and I found it harder and harder to turn to prayer when I was feeling down. I felt like I was failing my family, and despite the fact that Will told me this was part of the whole "sickness and health" part of our vows, I felt terribly guilty that he was doing so much and I was doing so little. There were many days when even getting out of bed proved to be too much of a challenge for me. I didn't want to update my blog, because really, who wants to hear someone complain all the time? And as ashamed as I am to admit this, I didn't want to pray because I felt angry and frustrated all the time. I feel like I've been in this perpetual funk for the past 12-15 months, and I didn't know how to dig myself out of it.
To be honest, I still don't. I have days when I'm overwhelmed by the house and kids, days when my back hurts so badly I get tears in my eyes when I stand up, and days when I'm just angry at the world. All that being said, I needed a serious reality check, and it came in the form of Time Magazine.
Someone posted THIS link to the top 100 photos of 2015 on my Facebook news feed the other day. As I was scrolling through the pictures, I felt my chest tightening at the photo of two children sobbing while trying to break through a police barrier in Greece. A grieving mother, whose adult sons were killed in a double homicide in New Orleans. A boat overflowing with refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. Granted, not all of the photos were tragic (I could stare at the aerial view of the tulip fields in the Netherlands for hours) but the majority were. As hard as it was for me to see some of those images...it was something I desperately needed. I've spent the majority of 2015 giving in to the physical pain I felt every day, and I allowed it to bring me down. The fact of the matter is, while my back problems ARE serious and need to be fixed, they CAN be fixed. I'm not dying of a terminal illness. My family and I didn't have to flee our home and our country to escape terrorists. I didn't lose my beautiful children to violence. My husband has a secure, steady job, and he is able to provide for us. When I look at it from that perspective, frankly, I'm ashamed of the way I acted this past year, when I have so, so much to be grateful for.
I never make New Year's resolutions, because I never follow through with the typical "I'm going to go to the gym every day and lose weight! I'm going to avoid Starbucks drive-thrus for three months in a row! I'm going to write every day" pacts. Just won't happen, and after many years of feeling like an epic failure by January 15, I've finally learned my limits. However, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to try and think of ways I can be a better person in the following year. What can I do, to be a better wife to Will, a better mother to our three children, a better friend, sister, daughter, Catholic, etc?
First and foremost, I can begin every morning with prayer. It makes SUCH a difference, and it doesn't require more than 5 to 10 minutes. I can catch up on some quality reading, rather than browse Pinterest or Facebook. Instead of obsessing over the house being perfect (because lol it won't be), I can take an extra 1/2 hour to play games with my kids. I can rest when my back is causing me too much pain, and pick up where I left off when I'm feeling better. I can make an effort to update my blog more, as writing is good for my mind and my soul. I'm not trying to be Martha Stewart, or Mother Theresa, or paint an unrealistic picture of our everyday life. I'm just trying to do my best, and to be a better person than I was this past year.
Here's hoping. Happy 2016 from our family to yours.
(This is what happens when we attempt to adult).