I'll admit it: December wasn't very good to me. Two weeks after breaking my foot and spraining my ankle, I came down with the flu that led to a nasty sinus infection and multiple days of cry-in-a-darkened-room migraines. Seriously. The fact that I managed to make it to Christmas dinner at all was a miracle.
Now that January has arrived, I'm on the mend. For the first time in a month I managed to shed the ugly walking cast and eschew my class-A pain killers and swallow the last of the antibiotics and appear nearly normal.
Which is good, because in four days I climb on an airplane and head to the west coast and my first residency.
While the timing of the foot/flu wouldn't have been my first choice, I have to admit - now that I'm on the other side of it - that there's definitely a silver lining. I learned something last month that I desperately needed before leaving for school.
I learned it's okay to let go of some things.
It is possible to host a fairly large gaggle of family for Christmas dinner. Even if the house does not look perfect. Even if the kitchen sink faucet breaks the night before said hosting. Even if the person bringing dessert also comes down with a cold and can't come and all you have are frozen cookies you made early in the month in a moment of uncharacteristic enthusiasm. Even if not all the presents are beautifully wrapped (or wrapped at all), or you have to make a executive decision that due to lack of mobility there will not be a turkey at the table this year (other than your husband and brother-in-law).
It is okay if the kids clothe themselves and do their own hair. Even if nothing matches and it looks like a blind person put the pony-tail in.
It's going to be necessary to learn to say, "I'm sorry, I'd LOVE to play that board game with you, but mommy has to lock herself in her room and do her homework before she can play."
I learned that when it's important, my family can totally take care of the puppy.
All of these things I needed to know before I left for school. Like a weight lifted off me, I watched from the sidelines as my family did all the things they needed to do to keep moving without me. It wasn't always the way I wanted, or without pain, but they did it.
I need to let go of wanting everything to be perfect, and accept that some days, just making it to the end of the day all together is all we can ask.
I won't be making any New Year's Resolutions this year.
I won't be perfecting any super-mom role. I won't be promising myself this year I'll get everywhere on time, I'll bake fresh cupcakes for every school party, I'll keep the house sparkling and the lawn green, or that I'll make healthier dinners every night. I'm sure not promising you I'll write wittier, more thoughtful or more regular blog posts.
I'm thinking, based on the amount of time it's taking me to critique these nine stories that we'll be workshopping next week in residency, that probably all of that will suffer.
I can't be everything to everybody. It's true.
And something about learning that is freeing, even if it takes the excuse of a broken foot and the flu - or school - to teach me.