The week leading up to Christmas passed by in a blur. There were preschool holiday concerts. There was a holiday luncheon at my office which required me bringing a dish to share with my 50 co-workers. There was holiday decorations, baking cookies, and writing holiday cards. There was a trip to Schenectady to see “Charlie Brown Christmas” at Proctors Theater. There was Cookies and Milk with Santa and Mrs. Claus at The Mansion Inn. The holidays are magical, especially through the eyes of my young sons. It is also really exhausting.
Christmas morning I snapped pictures. The joy and delight on the faces of my boys as they opened their gifts warmed my heart. I made breakfast as snow swirled outside making our street look like a snow globe. After breakfast, as the boys played with their new toys by the tree, I started to notice a soreness in my throat when I swallowed. I sniffled. I felt flush. When I put my youngest son down for his nap later that morning I did something I never do. I took a nap, too. It hit me hard.
Being sick is never easy. The timing is never right. Is this how I envisioned spending my holiday break? No. I had plans to take the boys to the Children’s Museum and to play dates. I was going to take them to the movies and to Friendly’s for lunch. We didn’t do any of these things.
We stayed in sweatpants and sweatshirts most days, or as my oldest son says his “comfy cozies,” which is not a bad thing given the Arctic cold we’ve experienced these past few days. We played board games. I am pretty good at Bird Bingo. I admit to letting my boys beat me in Spiderman Shoots and Ladders. We created with Play-Doh. We colored in coloring books and then hung the completed pictures around the house. We read books and watched all three of the “Toy Story” movies (I celebrate the whole collection but I admit that “Toy Story 3” is my favorite). I’ve been OK with making grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner rather than casseroles. One night on his way home from work husband brought home Happy Meals from McDonald’s. He brought me soup. It was the best soup I’ve ever tasted. My boys have not complained once about our staying home these past few days. They are smiling and having fun. Being sick is never easy, but it forced me to slow down.
Slowing down. Catching my breath. Despite the DayQuil and NyQuil, the coughing and sneezing, I’ve really enjoyed my time home. I’ve enjoyed the giggles and snuggles. I’ve curled up on the couch with my blanket and tea. I’ve spent the evenings unable to get comfortable enough to doze off to sleep, but I have caught up on season 2 of “The Crown.” Perhaps this break was just what the doctor ordered, but I was just too busy to notice it.
Life will soon be back in full-swing. There will be work commitments, preschool commitments, family commitments, and we will be dodging countless germs. As I embark on 2018 I am going to take solace in 2017’s final lesson. I am going to slow down more often. In good health I am going to declare more Pajama Day Saturdays and board game afternoons. Grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner is totally fine. This past week we’ve had no schedule and ample family time. That has been the glorious silver lining in all this.
Emily Marcason-Tolmie, a Saratoga native, is a writer, researcher, wife and mother. Emily and her husband, Ryan, are the parents to two wonderful little boys, ages 4 and 1.