Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Light

Like a lot of people, I feel that sense of letdown that descends in January, once the holidays are over and things return again to "normal."  The days are still short and the weather is cold, so it's easy to feel a bit of sadness once the decorations have been put away and everyone goes back to work.

When I taught middle school, I remember my principal telling us that February is the point of lowest morale among teachers, mostly because it's that dark spot on the calendar when there aren't many holidays or events to look forward to, and testing is fast approaching. I definitely felt it my first year of teaching, especially since it was only months after that fateful day in September 2001, and I was on my own in a different city for the very first time.

Once I was married and attending graduate school, I loved the gap between the end of the holidays and the beginning of the new semester.  The gift of those few extra weeks meant time to relax and adjust to things slowly, which is the way I like to function.

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I find my moods more affected by the weather and seasons.  When it's cold, raining, or getting dark early, it means we're stuck inside for another day, so I have to get creative and find fun things for my toddler to do.  Luckily, the Texas weather isn't too harsh in the winter, so we can still take daily walks and play outside most days.

I also like to leave a few winter decorations up through the month of January, both to remind me of the holidays and to celebrate the winter months.  I have several small trees on my mantle that are sparsely decorated and I also leave a few sparkly snowflakes lying around, since they don't scream "Christmas decor."

And since we've moved our youngest son to his own room, I'm once again able to enjoy my favorite luxury of reading in bed.  It might not sound like much, but it's something I had to give up twice in two years, both in those last few months of pregnancy when it's impossible to find a comfortable position at all, and then once each baby arrived and slept next to me in his crib.  I loved that special time sleeping beside my small boys, but I'm happy to have my favorite nighttime routine back again.  Currently, I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which will, I'm certain, deserve its own blog entry in the future.

One more thing I'm really anticipating is the upcoming miniseries, Downton Abbey, on PBS.  I'm a sucker for period pieces, and there's nothing better than a series that runs for four (yes, four!) Sundays in a row, all throughout January.

So it's the little things that keep me upbeat during this downtime, as I wait for the days to grow longer and the sun to shine a little brighter.