I’ve always dreaded the long winter months with all that cold and ice, but noticed recently that if I am dressed in a warm jacket with scarf, hat and gloves, the cold doesn’t seem to be as horribly frigid as remembered. In fact, as I walked out our front door this morning with a temperature 23 degrees, a healthy dose of brisk air filled my lungs. It was a pleasant surprise. The frigidity that swelled in my lungs really felt like the proverbial “breath of fresh air.” It awakened me and I became acutely aware of my in and out breathing, (a technique for stress reduction that had previously eluded my abilities.) With the awareness of the winter chilliness inflating my innards, somehow the weight from the pre-holiday stressors leaked out.
Deep chilly breath in and out…my Thanksgiving turkey may have been dry, but hubby’s awesome smashed potatoes, squash and apple casserole, and pumpkin pie more than made up for it. Why had I cared about the turkey? With enough gravy, it was edible!
Deep icy breath in and out…the stress around the Thanksgiving table, with warring factions of children, became a thing of the past. As stressful as it was, there was nothing I could do about it. They are grown children who no longer reflect my beliefs but maintain their own truths and temperaments. In one way, it is a relief to have them on their own, no longer my responsibility.
Deep arctic breath in and out…driving on Route 2 pre-New Year was an experience in hurry up and wait, and wait, and wait. (Same experience trying to drive through Apponaug.) In retrospect, I did get to listen to beautiful Christmas music that I wouldn’t have had the time to do otherwise, plus traffic is now back to normal.
Deep frozen breath in and out…digging in the basement for the Christmas tree and decorations hidden under a pile of summer clothes, as well as putting the tree up with a minimal, scattered ornaments with no help from the children was a disappointment, but any reminders of such is now back in the basement, carefully put away to be easy to find next year. Out of sight, out of mind.
Deep bitterly cold breath in and out…buying the perfect gift for each was a concern, but the exhaling of cool, clean air convinced me I had the best of intentions and, in reality, there WAS no “perfect” gift, not one that I could afford anyway!
Deep frosty breath in and out…keeping the house clean through New Year’s Day while my son, his wife and daughter visited from California was a very hard challenge for me, making me anxious with every dropped tissue, spilled milk or spider spotted sitting up near the ceiling. Pure stress, but throughout it I was still able to appreciate their company and enjoy their visit. Next time we will be going to THEIR house.
As enjoyable as the holidays were, the individual stressors had slowly added up inside me, preventing perfect New Year joy and relaxation. Perhaps I had finally accomplished the ability to use deep breathing as a relaxation technique. This was the first time I appreciated breathing in the frozen wintry weather, but it won’t be the last. On this cold, brisk day of January, that all changed. It was like a breath of fresh air!
Please consider purchasing my book, The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane. Thanks!!!!