“Blue Monday” and Being Present

Apparently today is the most depressing day of the year, or “Blue Monday” as I’ve heard it referred to. I can only guess that it’s due to the holidays ending, and the bleak prospect of winter ahead…

We don’t have much for holiday traditions, but there is one constant. The day after Christmas, my sister and her kids come up for the week. It’s stressful, it’s chaotic, and often makes one want to run away. The kids aren’t bad. But, then you have both of my brothers and their kids here, and suddenly there are eight kids running and screaming and playing games.

This year was a little different. I had anticipated getting a lot of work done. It was a pretty crazy fall for me, and I expected my time off to be fruitful in that I would finally have time to get to some projects. As it turned out, I started living my resolution before I had even made it.

I found myself not spending a whole lot of time hanging out in my room. Instead, I was spending a lot of time hanging out with my nieces – something I always plan to do, but just never happens due to the madness. One night while my siblings and parents were hanging out and playing games, I was sitting with my eight-year-old niece, reading an American Girl mystery book with her.

Another night, I had a wonderful heart-to-heart with my ten-year-old niece. Then, I proceeded to give her and her four-year-old cousin my Lush conditioner to use, which I don’t normally do. They likely wasted a lot, but whatever, their hair smelled like strawberries and vanilla after. I even had the bonus of having to wash the four-year-old’s hair again once I started combing it and realized that she had not rinsed the back of her head at all.

Of course, there was the big night. We were having a sleepover and the girls really wanted to have a beauty salon. When I’m not around and they visit my parents on break, they always use my room as the “salon”, and so that’s where we went. I expected it to take, like, a half-hour, tops. We were in there for two hours, at least. My nieces paired off and painted their own/one another’s nails, and I pained my youngest niece’s. Then, I let two of the girls paint my toenails:

Yes, they are different colors.

Yes, they are different colors.

They also convinced me to do their make-up (after their parent’s permission). I gave them eye shadow and some blush, and I had given them each a mini lip gloss for Christmas, so they used those.

And you know what? It was so much fun. I wasn’t feeling anxious or annoyed like I have found myself feeling sometimes in the past. I didn’t get that overwhelming feeling of needing to be doing other things, no desire to working on something else. I was living in the present moment, and thoroughly enjoying each moment of time I spent with those girls. When I was younger, I was very aware and proud of the influence I knew I had my nieces. As I grow up, and they grow up, it’s just such an amazing thing to witness our relationship grow along with us. I can’t wait to be a part of their lives more and more, and help them along the way. Being an Aunt is such an incredible thing.

But I would have missed out completely if I hadn’t been living in the moment. And that is something I strive to do more and more this year, and for many more years to come.

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