"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Friday, January 4, 2013

looking forward

2012.

It was a big year. 

We put our house on the market. We started building a new house. We sold our house. We welcomed a Dragon Lady. We traveled halfway across the country for a family wedding. We moved in to a new house in a new town. We traveled even further across the country for another family wedding. We sent our little boy off to preschool for the first time. We sent our big boy off to Kindergarten. We said Goodbye to my Grandpop....the patriarch. We settled. We grew. We struggled. We succeeded. We played. We learned. We yelled. We laughed. We cried. We loved.

And then, over the last two weeks.....we exhaled.

Looking back, it was good. It was so good. 

And looking forward? I'm optimistic for a quieter, though no less momentous year. 

This year, we're in our dream home. No real estate agents. No prepping for showings. No hearing about my home's shortcomings by people who aren't Serious Buyers anyway. No packing and moving and unpacking and settling in. We're already here....where we're meant to be.

We're traveling...but not by plane. And not with an infant. We'll go to the beach a few times....travel to be with family....that's it. And it will be by car. I mean...VAN. And it will be just right....just enough. Sometimes you don't need to go anywhere to get away.

This year, we Go To School. We are not "getting ready for" school or "starting" school. We already Do. We Go To School. We get on the bus happily and say goodbye to Mommy without tears. We are pretty well adjusted to the rigors of school (although Friday evenings still tend to be the hardest nights of the week) and we're getting adjusted to the new Social Scene of school. We're making friends....real friends....friends that aren't in our lives because they're the kids of our parents' friends, but friends that we choose and who choose us back. And, what's best? We LOVE our teachers. When Evan started sulking about having to do some homework over break, I said, "Well, Mrs. C thought this would be a great way to keep your brain working while you're out of school." That boy climbed right up into his seat and grabbed his scissors and glue. When he had finished, he said, "That wasn't so bad. That Mrs. C sure knows how to keep my brain working!" We're over the hump. Every first day of school from here on out will surely be (slightly) less anxiety-inducing than the one already behind us. And that feels great.

Starting this year, for the first time, we're a family of five. And for the first time, we're whole. I can picture Us moving into the future as a unit...Sam, Sarah, Evan, Max, and Molly. We're not missing anyone. We're all present and accounted for. I've never felt this way before. I feel complete. I just love this.

2013 will be a good year.

But that's not to say there's nothing for us to work on to make it even better. So, even though I'm not a "resolutions" person, here's my list of "things I'm going to practice over the coming year."

There Will Be No More Yelling In This House
Not by me and, hopefully, eventually, not by the kids. This house can be loud. I'm craving peace and civility and yelling is not the way to accomplish either of those goals. I've been practicing this for a few months now. I'm getting better. I still get frustrated when, for the fourth time in a row, my request is ignored, but I have a new strategy. Now, instead of saying in a Yelling Voice, "MAX, PUT YOUR SHOES ON. NOW." I say, in a firm but definitely Not-Yelling Voice, "Max, I've asked you to put your shoes on three times using a nice voice. If I have to ask you again, it's going to be in a loud, grumpy voice that I don't want to use and you don't want to hear." It's not a perfect strategy, I realize. Parenting Handbooks would tell me to "get down on his level," and "repeat my expectations," and maybe even to count to some prescribed number. But sometimes, when I'm trying to get three kids out the door on time, I just can't find it in me to follow the rules. So my method may be imperfect, but it works. It gets his attention. It buys me time. It keeps us moving in the direction we need to move without me raising my voice. And hopefully, by following my example, my boys will learn to use the power of their vocabulary and not the volume of their voice to be heard.

My Phone Will Stay On The Counter, Not In My Hand
I've gotten into the annoying habit of having my phone within arm's reach at all times. I check my email and facebook pages too many times per day. My kids are going to start to notice. I don't want them to. I will, of course, keep it accessible for Instagram-ops, but my status updates can wait until naptime.

Presence
My kids will only be five-and-a-half, three, and almost-one for just this moment. I'll never have an almost-one year old again. I don't want to miss a thing. Putting the phone down will help this.

Read More
And not just blogs or my Pulse News app.

Dance More
We started having after-dinner dance parties in December, dancing to Christmas Music on Pandora.  When I hold her and start to move in time, Molly melts against me. She lays her head on my shoulder and there's honestly nothing else I'd rather be doing. Sam and Evan do the pretzel and Max, as one might expect, is dancing in the middle of the room like no one else is watching. It's my zen.

In 2013, I want More Zen.

Lesson Learned:
And away we go!

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