I woke before dawn, the little girl inside of me daring not to look at the window for fear the snow they promised hadn’t come. It isn’t that I wanted snow, its arrival reminds me that my back is weak, my ability to carry out physical tasks without weighing their consequences is no more. Snow means an absent Sean, hours of grueling maintenance he must undertake while I manage the girls, the house and the puppy. Soemtimes the snow and garbage seem easier.

Beso, our puppy, is as sweet as one could hope, a black and white cocker spaniel with more charisma and cuteness in each paw than most people have in their whole being. The girls adore him, but we are in a cacophonous moment in time—Finley and Briar seem to be constantly at one another’s throats, Avery is petulantly dissatisfied with being lodged firmly between you-are-old-enough-to-know-better and not-yet-a-reader. Add to that mix a puppy who, when excited, piddles, leaps, whimpers or runs laps and leaps not quite over the girls. Between boot puddles, puppy puddles and cup spills I seem to always be sopping something up from the floor. Beyond the bog-like state of our floors, the sprawl of school and work sometimes makes me wish for a shredder and a blow torch.

I love the art they bring home but there are 1, 2, 3 of them. I only have the one fridge, well actually there’s a second in the garage, but that’s where I forget extra gallons of milk, not hang artwork. My own pack-mule tendencies of shuttling my entire desk from home to work and back again inevitably leads to energy bills at the office and post-it note musings at home. I try to get organized, but it feels a bit like brushing the coat of a dog from ass to head. I’ve at least forgiven myself, allotted myself the leniency to stow things in a drawer for a week or two until it can be sorted. The same is true with the laundry, Sean said, “Promise not to do more loads than we can fold.” It was good, if annoying at the time, advice.

It’s only when something like a huge snowfall happens that I truly get that old hankering to bite off way the hell more than I can chew. I want to work hard, play hard and do it all. The truth is, I probably could, I could charge out on pure adrenaline and power through for a few hours, but the expense on the back end is too great to pay. And so I resolve to go back to the working against my grain to take manageable bites. I remind myself that not doing one thing isn’t a failure, because as I don’t shovel, I do something else. Sometimes I have to scream inside to convince myself that I am not slacking.

Now, I don’t want to set 2011 up to fail, but so far…I’ve gotten the snacks together, made lunches the night before, prepped and started dinner, and conquered the laundry. I have taken the time to dry my hair and iron my clothes. I’ve been plugging away at a silly little book and I’ve picked up a hobby. I know I am going to miss a permission slip or run out of bread for lunches, but this taste of not failing is what ia m going to focus on, because as I just saw in a tweet from Chookoolonks:

“We are what our thoughts have made us;
so take care about what you think.
Words are secondary.
Thoughts live; they travel far.”
– Vivekananda

I am not a failure, I am trying.

How about you? Will you tell me something you aren’t failing at this year?