Back track to Thanksgiving week. I was so stressed about entering a new life decade that I’d kept up a rigorous exercise and work schedule to try and forgetaboutit: Twenty minutes of outdoor running, followed by a shower and 20 more minutes of writing on The Next Book. Work on holiday baking while reading through a stack of books to inspire ideas for The Next Book. Teach self how to stitch by hand quilted bed pillow covers to give to my kids for Christmas. Plan the perfect Thanksgiving dinner menu while stretching in the floor and folding laundry. And watching a Hallmark holiday movie marathon.
One week into mine and my son’s pneumonia-induced sabbatical, the phone rang. It was my dad. Mom had been rushed to the hospital with all the signs of a major heart attack. Like me, she had kept up the crazy Thanksgiving pace, which included driving six hours through an ice storm to celebrate my 40th birthday.
As mom rests in a hospital room and I write this post at home (still coughing and wheezing), I realize something. Working ourselves into exhaustion is a bad thing. Our health comes first because our families need us around healthy and whole for quite a while longer. They are what matter, not the holiday turkey or the sub-zero marathon running or the stack of unfinished Christmas pillow covers.
Will you do it today—take a little break—for me?