Glimpses of Great


I never floss my teeth when I am on vacation. This thought occurred to me when I looked in my husband’s travel bag and spotted dental floss. I don’t know why this is. I’m an avid flosser when I’m at home. It is not like the small spool would add weight to my bags or take up precious packing space. I just can’t be burdened with healthy gums when I’m outside of my zip code. I could probably add this to the lengthy list of resolutions I should be making.

I’m in Chicago on this New Year’s Eve, visiting my inlaws. Or rather I am outside of Chicago, in the ‘Burbs’ as I’m learning to say. Yesterday I was actually in Chicago. We took the train and stayed overnight in a hotel, letting the girls get a real city experience.

A real city experience is a lot of fun for a 6 and 8 year old who have rarely been outside of Idaho. It is also fun for their mother, but can be nerve racking at times. Everything moves so quickly and there are so many things they want to look at every moment. I worry more now that I’m moving so slowly. My knee has recently forgotten that it has already gone through two surgeries. It aches, constantly, and makes even walking feel like a chore. I try not to think about it. When I do it consumes me. The ‘what ifs” and the ‘why me’ are the thoughts I chase away. I skirt these subjects with much more serious thoughts like why I don’t floss when I’m on vacation.

The city went so well. I’ve never seen my girls with eyes as wide as this. Trains. Skyscrapers. Taxis that drive too fast. Escalators. Revolving doors. Oh the revolving doors.

We joke about my youngest when she isn’t within earshot. She is the one who gets lost in houses she has visited many, many times before. She is the one that runs upstairs to brush her teeth and we find her 30 minutes later having a tea party with all of her animals, completely unaware of why she went upstairs. She is the one who is sensitive and scared, weary and confused. She is a dreamer, like her mama. She is the one I worry about the most.

For good reason. At the foot of our hotel she raced ahead of us and jumped into a revolving door that led to the taxi zone, instead of the exit we wanted to take. We all yelled out to her to stop and for once she actually followed directions. She stopped mid step but the automatic revolving door didn’t. It shoved her one way, our yells got louder and more confusing for her to understand. “Just stay in it and circle around!”, I tried to explain. But all she seemed to comprehend was that she had gone the wrong way. Determined, she tried to push against the turning door with her shoulder, a fish just trying to reach its family upstream.

A crowd was watching at this point as we all yelled warnings at my 6 year old who was about to get flattened by a revolving door. She just couldn’t give in. She dug her heels in, lowered her head, and pushed against the momentum with all her might. My father-in-law swooped in to save her at the last minute right before we had to hit the emergency shutoff. He shuffled her out to the taxi exit and then guided her safely back inside to a round of cheers from onlookers. I should have been scared. I should have been amused and possibly surprised. But all I could think was “my kid just tried to overpower an automatic door.”

This is what 2014 felt like for much of the year. Life, revolving. Me, resisting. Someone swooping in.

That night, nestled into my hotel bed, my husband returned from a hockey game and came in to check in with me before joining his dad and sister for a drink. It was only 10:30 at night but my eyes were already heavy with sleep. He teased me about the home decorating show I was watching then stood there for five minutes watching it himself. I could hear laughter coming from somewhere in the hotel. Deep, joyous, infectious laughter. It suddenly dawned on me that the laughter was coming from his family next door. “I think they are waiting for you”, I interrupted his HGTV trance. “Oh right!”, he exclaimed and quickly kissed me before jetting out the door.

I smiled to myself thinking about how I didn’t have any of this just a short while before. I didn’t have a husband who gets lost in television he first makes fun of. I didn’t have this bonus family so full of joy. I didn’t have a city to show my children or people to jump in when they get confused by how it works.

2014 was a lot like that as well.

It was a tough year at times, but there were so many glimpses of great. Enough to keep hobbling along. Enough to let life keep moving, enough to fight back when I can, enough to know I have better things to spend my time focusing on then flossing my teeth while on vacation.

Goodbye 2014. Thanks for all your glimpses. Here’s to even more greatness in 2015.

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