Ending the year with COVID is not how I pictured the finish line for 2022. Without a sense of smell and very little taste, I am surrounding myself with the known and steadfast certainties. I know my lavender lotion smells good and it calms me as it absorbs into my skin, even if I can’t smell it right now. I light the candle in our bedroom, because the familiar, fresh scent brings me joy even if I can’t detect its presence.
With the Christmas decorations still up, new toys sprawled out across the house, I found myself the day after Christmas wanting it all down. I was ready for that clean, fresh start feeling you get once all the Christmas decor is put away. Plus, I get my kitchen side table space back again.
Then, as the week progressed, I fell into a sort of peace with everything still up. Maybe getting sick will do that to you, everything just comes to a halt anyway. I settled upon throwing away the gingerbread houses and recycling Buddy, our elf’s playground that Hadley had made out of cardboard. I left up everything else.
I remembered the sacred space between Christmas and the New Year when all is possible ahead on the horizon and yet being still is permitted. The fresh slate is coming, plans can be made, but there’s consent to relax. No one will fault you for wearing your pajamas until noon and eating chocolate covered gummy bears immediately following breakfast.
A couple weeks ago after dinner one night, I got the sudden urge to take small videos of how things were around the house. It was a peaceful night with Christmas music playing, decorations up, kids playing and getting along, but with little messes everywhere. Really, it was just our life everywhere and I felt I wanted to somehow capture it and keep it forever.
“What are you doing?” Jordan asked me curiously.
“I feel an overwhelming desire to film our house as it is right now. I want to remember this.” I said as I proceeded to record a small video of the kitchen sink.
“You know they recommend taking video and pictures of your house and belongings in case it burns down.” he suggested with a teasing grin.
“I did that as a kid.” I turned to him, setting the phone down on the kitchen counter. “I did. I took pictures of all my possessions in my bedroom. I took pictures of all my Beanie Babies.” I flashed a smile back at him. “But that’s not what this is. I just felt like I wanted to capture things now as they are.” I let out a sigh of nostalgia as I picked up my phone and walked towards the entryway where our snow boots and pile of wet snow clothes sat.
I haven’t done much writing this year except little snippets of ideas or things I want to remember or could perhaps use later for some great masterpiece essay. Some years are like that, a collection of memories not yet formed into a finished product, but a necessary part of the process.
I wrote a few ideas on what I like to call, “the space between.” It was what I was trying to capture when I recorded videos of my home, it’s what I feel between Christmas and New Years. It’s the feeling of the unknown paired with what is certain. The space between has defined the most memorable moments of this past year, because perhaps that is where subtly, the most occurs.
My favorite memory of 2022 is on the Gamble Sands putting course at sunset with Jordan. We witnessed the transition from the end of the day to the beginning of night. With the Cascade mountains and Columbia river as a backdrop, we putted and laughed along the course as the colors in the sky melted into purple, pink and orange. Following a FaceTime phone call with the kids, who were happily with Nana and Papa, Jordan and I felt the weightless effects of being in a moment of carefree joy and fun. Or, the space between.
When pressing onward and thinking about the year ahead, I plan to look for the moments in the space between. I’ll try to recognize when I’m in that place and take it for what it is. It’s a place to grow and thrive in unison with peace and stillness, a place of transition, a place of creativity and time.
I know eventually my sense of smell will return. This COVID space between is not as fun as Gamble Sands at sunset, but it’s a space between nevertheless. It’s a time I recognize I am in. In the space between 2022 and 2023, the possibilities are at their peak and contentment with what has been is crucial.
Here’s to finding the space between in 2023.
“The space between,
In your heart and mine,
Is the space we’ll fill with time.”
-Dave Matthews Band