[January 10, 2022]

I cleaned my coffee table with a toothbrush this morning.
Afterwards, I eyed my work and thought, “Look at you, Ambre McLean! – getting shit done.” I got a little burst of serotonin as I patted myself on the back and revelled in my self-esteem high for a moment. Then it faded.
There is a towering pile of projects I could claw away at, but most seem insurmountable. I didn’t have the energy for much today so, I just wandered around my house with semi-random efficiency.
I cleaned up some Christmas; I broke down cardboard; I tidied up smashed gingerbread houses.
I felt a familiar pang.
There it is.
I recognize that.
The letdown.
‘The-party’s-over-now-get-outta-here!’ sensation.
January is so ‘Meh’
I’ve always liked the word listless. I said it over and over again to myself, letting the S’s roll off my tongue, enjoying the alliteration of it.
I guess it’s time to break out the “Happy Light,” I thought.
The little plant on my dressing table is always so pleased when I do.

I did my regular check-in with each family member “How you doin’? (secretly Joey Tribbiani in my head every time).
They all mumbled back at me, barely meeting my eye.
Everyone seemed droopy today; including the dog.
Maybe a walk might make us all feel good. Naw, it’s too cold out today.
Retail Therapy? Nope. We don’t need anything, and neither does Jeff Bezos.
The boys finally settled into a game of Minecraft, and the little miss and I were left looking blankly at each other across the kitchen island.
My brain sparked.
“Hey, Frankie, I have an idea!”
“What is it?” she spied me suspiciously.
“Let’s have a spa day!!”
“We can go to a spa??” she asked incredulously.
“Well, in a way…”
“What do you mean?” she sighed, clearly deflated.
“Well, I could run a nice, deep, warm bubble bath, and we could do mud masks and paint our nails and talk about our feelings.”
Frankie thoughtfully pondered my proposition for a moment and then said, “Yes. I think that is a great idea.”

We chose our refreshments, lit candles, muddied our faces, and sunk into a large pool of bubbles and bath salts.
It was quiet for a few moments before I broke the silence.
“I sometimes wonder about how covid is making you feel.” I probed her gently.
“What are some thoughts you have about it? I mean, covid has been around now for a good portion of your life. Do you remember much about the time before covid?”

“I remember a bit,” she said, staring out the window. I remember that it was a happy day. We were outside playing in the snow, and it was just a happy, happy day.”

My heart sank to the bottom of the tub when I realized that she was sharing her “The day everything changed” moment; that she was cognizant of her pre-covid final moments. She was outside, it was sunny, and she was happy.  
I vividly recall that first day also. And how I naively thought that there would be a “normal” to go back to in 2 weeks. That 2020 version of Ambre irritates me.
“Are you happy now, Sweetheart?” I worried allowed.
“Oh yes, Momma!”
“Because it’s ok if you aren’t sometimes.”
“I know, Momma, sometimes I feel sad, but not right now.”
“That’s nice to hear,” I said. “Me either.”

We soaked in the tub until our blood vessels could narrow no further.
We drank our fizzy water with our pinkies pointing to the heavens and giggled as our mud masks clung stubbornly to our hairlines. We got out of the tub and topped our heads with teetering, towelled crowns, and we painted our nails all the colours of the rainbow while we hemmed and hawed about what to do next.
“I know, Mommy!” my girl suggested excitedly, “We could watch a Christmas movie ONE MORE TIME! I think I still have a bit of Christmas spirit left in me!”

Whatever your method for mining the ‘silver lining’, or however you find ways to break through the clouds, revealing a blue-bore, I hope you manage to glide through these coming days with a wee bit of laughter and levity. 

Photo used with my girl’s permission.