Confessions of an ugly juggler

The truth is, December, I was glad to see you go. Every year I tell myself to go easy on you, knowing I expect too much of you, that you're just one month. And yet every year I still find myself lost among the many milestones you mark. It usually isn't until January that I find my way home. This year is no exception.

I watched as my children--though surrounded by fun and gifts and all good things--struggled with gratitude. More than normal. The air of entitlement grew thick enough to choke, and I felt it well up within me as well--this misery of too much. Too much to do, too much stimulation, too much build-up, too much let-down. My girl whined the whole way to the Christmas hike (and through what felt like most of the holiday season). And my boy grumped every time his daily DS allotment ran out, asking (it seemed like always) about the next thing, not really savoring the now thing.

I found the auto-pilot button early in December, pushed it. Flew through the to do list. And then I crashed, inflamed in a heap of angst and ill temper. I was a fire-breathing dragon, masterfully and magically juggling pails of water, spilling not a drop. And scorching anyone who dared come close. Sometimes it is better for a bucket to fall. Water can be cleaned up. Fire destroys.

Yesterday I had the January cry. The one where I realize what an ass I've been (am). So much of the ugliness I saw in the choices my children made this past month, it started with me. Sure, I hid it better, couched it in more socially acceptable, grown up ways. But it started with me.

I am tired of juggling water and breathing fire. And I'm done with auto-pilot, because where does it get me except lost? No sooner do I confess this than the air grows clear again, purified in rushing wind; and I can breathe it now, without flame.

Never, I think, have I been so thankful for the mercies of a new morning.

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