Once again our holiday season brought with it sicknesses of multiple strains including ear infections, bronchitis and the most dreaded of all – a “stomach bug”. Ugh! It also brought about a lesson in renewal that I didn’t see coming.
If you follow me on Instagram you may recall me telling you about our unwelcome tradition for at least the last 3 years? Someone has been sick in one way or another at Christmas or Thanksgiving, if not EVERYONE. True story!
Three years ago it was a Thanksgiving that reached comedic movie levels, if not for the tragedy of it all. It even included a bridal shop and a line of women waiting outside the restroom while my youngest sister knelt on a single seat public restroom floor; sweating, shivering, gagging and puking her way through our nieces wedding dress shopping day that we had all been so excited about. When we finally arrived back home after at least one snowy stop to let her out of the car to spew more of her biscuits on the side of a parking lot, we found every bathroom full of “sickies” with THAT bug and others with fever and body aches of the actual flu, though we didn’t know that at the time. Family started exiting early, as if it were a fire drill to avoid getting sick. I’ve never had so much food left over after a Thanksgiving feast in all my years of hosting. However, the real tragedy lay in the fact that the following week, my new 3 ½ week old grandson ended up hospitalized with influenza. He’s a trooper though and just celebrated his 3rd birthday in November.
This year, Thanksgiving included one grandson vomiting on another. Yes, really! And our normal Christmas traditions were all changed to some degree while trying to quarantine sicknesses into one household. This was the first time in 30 years, that we didn’t spend either Christmas Eve, Christmas day or both with our oldest son.
And it wasn’t over yet! When my sister and her family came to visit just after Christmas, they all succumbed to the stomach bug in one night, including a 7 year old who didn’t always make it to the bathroom before losing it. This is a real danger when the barfing came AFTER an evening of cookie decorating with frequent sampling of heavily pigmented colored frosting. (I’ll just say that I’ve seen things guys. I’ve seen things.) And as I write this, my poor husband, who ended up having to work last week on what should have been his week off, is lying sick in bed.
If a new year signifies a new start, I find it extremely ironic then, that I spent the first day of 2017 on Cinderella duty, washing away the remains of 2016 in piles and piles of laundry. Although being sick is terrible and I’m doing my best to avoid it, there is something refreshing about the renewal back to health and the cleansing that comes from having to de-germ everything afterward. Had there not been illness in the house, I probably wouldn’t be cleaning as thoroughly as I am. Knowing there might be areas harboring hidden bacteria is spurring this marathon of laundry and cleaning beyond my normal routines. And all before my Christmas decorations have even been put away I might add! Don’t judge. 😉
I don’t think this deep cleaning applies only to physical bug invasions. Whether or not you’ve had a tough year, a difficult season or you’ve hit a rough patch, look at how you might wash away the causes and detox your situation. Can the blips and struggles in your journey motivate you to do the work to get down deep into the crevices of your life and work out the bugs? You can, as Taylor Swift says, “Shake it off!”
It may mean limiting contact with or completely cutting out toxic people in your life. You might need to avoid the people or places that lead you into bad habits whether it’s excessive shopping or over indulging in other ways. Taking control of your life situations could very well require more energy than you feel you have, but left untended, any virus can spoil our best intentions to be in a healthy state of body, mind and even our spirituality.
In a week or two, my house will be as clean as it can be. (Hey, I’m a girl who’s dealing with her own seasonal cold and good things take time) Every blanket, pillow, door knob and light switch will hopefully leave no trace of the germs that invaded our happy holiday.
The irony in this story is that I’ll owe it all to the conditions that messed it up in the first place.
Paula (a.k.a. Pukerella)