The Christmas trees came down early this year. Yesterday Zach decided it was a good idea to start pulling the ornaments off the tree, try to knock one over, and try to plug in the lights after he unplugged them. Soooo, in the interest of safety for him and humanity, I took the trees down after the kids went to bed last night. I was a wee bit happy not to have help from the kids. It was tough enough shoving the control freak away as they put ornaments on the trees. I don’t think I have it in me to watch them take them down and then try to put them away. I have a system, and that system works. And I was realistic this year that the ornaments and decorations will not fit in one tote and expanded to another. Yay me.

I like keeping the trees up until New Year’s Day. Usually I would prefer to keep them up year round. I love Christmas. I love the time of year that begins after Halloween. I love the season, the weather (okay, not always), the smell of fireplaces, the leaves, and the holidays. Taking down the tree is often a depressing experience for me. There is so much build up during this time, and so much time spent with family and friends (and I love that), so much tradition, and it all seems to come to a halt after Christmas. People start going home, going back to school, to work, and it feels like slamming into a brick wall. I’m sure seasonal affective disorder is rearing its head when this is happening. Having the kids has helped this time for me because they get so excited for it too, and somehow know how to carry it on past this time. Also, I’m starting to feel worn out during this time with all that is done for them that there’s not much time to feel blue.

This year, the trees couldn’t come down fast enough. Out of character for me. This has been one of the toughest Christmases I’ve been through, and honestly I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I was happy to have an excuse to take the trees down early. I wasn’t planning on doing it, but I jumped at the chance. This Christmas was a split Christmas for the kids, something I never imagined for them. I hated being separated from them while they were at some of their Christmas celebrations. I hated not being at those celebrations myself, but it wasn’t a choice. About six weeks ago my husband decided we needed to separate and moved out. I won’t say too much about this, but I will say it was not a mutual decision. This is not how I would choose to handle the situation we are in. He has some issues that need his attention, and this is long overdue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t only affect him. The future and outcome of this time is unknown, and I honestly don’t know what I want that outcome to be. It may not even be a choice. It’s a lot to deal with at a time of year that I love but ends up melancholy anyway.

While in this separation I have found that I have time and emotional capital that was otherwise exhausted that I can use on myself. I’m the cliche mom who doesn’t give herself time or take care of herself or her goals as well as she should. As I’m refusing to sit and stew over this, having dissected it in my head ad nausem, my priority is taking care of the kids and myself. As much as I love being a SAHM, I don’t know what fate has to say about that. I’m dealing with a lot of uncertainty, and that’s not something I handle well. While I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (the longest one I’ve kept was resolving to never make another resolution), I do like goals, and I don’t plan on waiting for January 1 to start them. Having these goals gives me something somewhat concrete to look forward too, with some predictability and enough unpredictability to keep me on my toes (because I’m not already there). I don’t have them all hammered out, but the big one is running the 13.1 miler in May. A lot of goals I have brewing in my mind will work together to get me to the race.

In July, when we moved back into our house ending the misadventure called Moving to Minnesota, I felt I was finally back in the right place, doing what I was supposed to be doing by being with my kids and taking care of the family’s needs, and that life was good. In the time leading up to the separation I was frustrated that as things were getting back to normal, another wrench was thrown into the mechanism. I’m training myself to understand that though things aren’t as I think they should be, it doesn’t mean I’m not in the right place and not doing what I’m supposed to be. I hope my goals will be therapeutic and will help me figure out what I want and how to get it. I need to learn how to take care of myself first in all manners of well-being. Above all, I have my faith which has never failed me. Prayers to help me take care of all I need to during this time are appreciated.

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