I like the run-up to Epiphany far better than the days preceding Christmas. The presents are unwrapped, the hysterical BUYING is over. There's usually time to rest and relax, to read, to help the Lattes make pictures with tissue paper. Our tree stays up forever. Each year, I give thanks to the Magi for taking their time.
Not this year. This year it has been hard; a period of pain and tears and physiotherapy. (The tears have not all belonged to Eldest.)
It's not exactly the most reflective or inspirational environment in which to make New Year's Resolutions. But though we might be capable of changing our own destinies, we can't do a lot about the date.
Each year, we sit down in the Coffee House with a bit of fancy paper each and write our resolutions, which we keep in a little gift bag on the kitchen noticeboard. In 2010 we made little mini-books which, whilst beautiful, gave us rather too much space; we all felt obliged to come up with enough pledges to fill the things. Faced with the possibility of quite so much life-enhancing change, I began to make vague and sweeping statements which had no hope of being satisfactorily fulfilled.
By 2011 I thought I had it sussed - I was all about the SMART goal, with specifics. Do this once a week. Don't eat that. But by far the most disheartening part of resolutions is opening up the bag on New Year's Eve and being confronted with the unhappy truth that the resolutions we make every year, however we word them, boil down to more or less the same thing: a thing which we still have not achieved. And if we rely on a magical date to get us going, it's probably never going to happen.
I was just feeling rather maudlin about this when I came across Littlest's resolutions from last year, which Mr Coffee had transcribed for her. These are resolutions I hope we can all try to keep this year.
My resolution for 2012? The clue's in the title. I don't know if I'll manage it tomorrow; or even this week. Another week in hospital looms - for rehab this time. If you do ever think of us, think training montage. Let the soundtrack in your head be Eye of the Tiger.