On New’s Year Eve, I crashed and burned so hard that I am still recovering here at the end of January.
It all started out so well.
My son and I were at First Night in Tacoma. December 31st was the kind of cold that made everything hurt from the tips of my nose to the 4th chamber of my heart even when wearing a fluffy coat, gloves, and a hat. It was clear, it was crisp, and the frigid air made Quinton and me want to race to the next indoor place.
So we did.
We ran from the Tacoma Art Museum (which has very little for 5 year olds to do), hoping to get to the Washington State History Museum before we iced up like Anna in that climactic scene of Frozen. We held hands smiling and laughing as we zipped along toward a group of boring people walking calmly up ahead. It was one of the high points of 2015, and I knew I would remember the moment long after Quinton grew into a young man.
Then the tree root under the pavement happened.
Before we made it to Union Station, Quinton tripped and swung around in front of me. It was all I could do not to squash him flat onto the concrete.
We lay there stunned until Quinton began to sob.
“It’s a bad one, Mom,” he said holding his eye.
I felt like I’d done the splits without warming up after about 15 years since my last successful attempt.
I knelt on the icy pavement, holding him as the boring but uninjured people walked by while asking if we were okay.
I nodded. Quinton sobbed a little louder.
The night slowed down after that. We hobbled to the history museum, only to find it was not ‘participating’ in First Night.
Then we made it to Harmon’s Restaurant and drowned our sorrows in a big plate of fries.
Quinton’s eye healed in a few days. I’m still doing physical therapy for my hip and it’s slowly getting better.
But you know what?
It was worth it.
That moment running down the sidewalk when 2016 was right out in front of us while my son raced with me to meet it will stick in my mind.
Maybe that initial joy will stand out more because of the freezing cold, the crash, and the burn of the pain.
I would do it all again.
(Okay, maybe next time I would avoid the tree root.)
In fact, the writing projects I’m in right now have great potential for pain and loss. Still, I plan to keep running down the creative pavement because I feel as alive as a five year old on a cold clear night when I do.
May you all know great highs and console one another over french fries when it all falls apart like it sometimes does-