Tag Archives: children

Forget Resolutions: Adapt and Celebrate

Celebrate

My youngest son & I celebrating!

The end of 2016 started to remind me of kilometer 36 of a marathon. I was pained and weary, yet it was too early to get excited about the beer waiting at the finish line.

I believe that no matter what the calendar says, a person can always make a fresh start. It just seems that when we have a new year stretching in front of us, it’s clean and unsoiled–full of potential. It doesn’t have the scuff marks and broken wheels of last year’s misdirected piece of baggage.

For me, I think resolution is too strong a word. I prefer “adaptation.” It seems more permanent somehow–not just an all or nothing scenario.

For many, the world seems like a frightening place at the moment. And despite the negativity and (often) helplessness people are voicing, for my family, this seems like it’s going to be a damn good year.  I feel a return of the positive spirit that was ground out of me last year.

So my “adaptation” is to celebrate.

Reason #1 to celebrate: my visa was renewed for two years.

TWO YEARS!!!

If you’ve ever dealt with visa renewal (typically an annual process that makes you feel like you’ve been dunked under water for a month); then you’ll understand that having a two year permit allows me to breathe a little. I can make contracts for cell phones. I can get better health insurance. It means that next Christmas I won’t have to worry about deportation (yes…our visas expire just after Christmas–very festive).

Reason #2 to celebrate: my oldest son!

If you’ve followed my blog, then you’ll know that just over 2 years ago, my oldest son left for Guatemala, and I had no idea when I would see him again. He was back to visit this fall, but the news that makes my Mama-heart leap out of its chest is that he was accepted into a university in the UK, which means he’ll be within driving/train ride distance.

But it’s more than the proximity that makes me happy. When you see your (mostly) unschooled child not only get accepted into a university but into a school where he can become qualified for his dream job (where 95 % of grads find employment, many animating for Disney or Pixar, for example), it definitely makes you want to break out the champagne.

Reason #3: I have too many reasons

Love, life, kids, health, writing, my apartment, a job prospect…

I could go on and on….

My life is far from perfect. I worry about my little dog who’s ten years old and ill. Politics and inequality make my blood boil. I find labrador hair in weird places in my house, even after I vacuum. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to help support my kids in college (I’ll have 2 enrolled this year). When it’s cold out, my car sounds like it’s dying (every time the motor starts I feel like I won the lottery).

However…

…one adaptation I’m making in 2017 is to focus on the celebrations. To find one good reason every day to toss confetti into the often hazy air of my life.

This is why, despite all the turmoil on the world stage, and sometimes in my own living room, 2017 is going to be great.

There is always something to celebrate.

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What Advent Means to Me

'You left just as you were becoming interesting!'

‘You left just as you were becoming interesting!’ —Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

 

Advent is the season in which people celebrate the birth of Jesus. But when I see the manger scenes, I can’t help feeling melancholy. Because while everyone counts down the days until the Christ child arrives, I’m saddened at the thought of my child going away, just after Christmas.

Of course, William is not a child. He’s wiser and more well-grounded than men twice his age. He can just as easily converse about philosophy as he can about Star Wars. Sometimes the topics become intermingled.

He has been counting down the days until the next chapter of his life begins. A chapter that doesn’t include Mom knocking on his door in the morning or coaxing him to Crossfit.

But his new chapter will lead him from our home in Germany to Guatemala and finally to Canada. It will be full of adventure and happiness. And that’s what I want most for him–to follow his own path.

He’s ready.

And despite the sadness, I am too.

I still can’t believe that nearly 18 years ago, the nurses at the hospital handed ME (a whimsical 23 year-old who’d never changed a diaper in her life) this little red-headed baby.

It was terrifying.

He was dependent on me.

Totally.

Completely.

100 percent.

It is a frightening sort of power you hold in your hands, bleary-eyed while everyone else sleeps, and your world shrinks to two. There is no one else who matters at 3am. Just the warm little person, who’s not happy apart from you.

Then they grow.

As a parent, your job is to slowly train them to be less dependent on you. Give them more responsibility. Give them freedom (when it’s earned). Build trust. Mutual respect.

Be surprised by their individuality.

Take credit for things you had no part in–but you’re still insanely proud of.

Raise them to be one of your very best friends.

That raspy little voice that woke you so many times in the middle of the night is clear in your memory, but you sometimes have trouble connecting it to the young man laughing beside you at the dinner table.

But there is a time for a new chapter.

William and I have each been working hard to write new narratives for our lives; and neither of us knows what twists and turns are in store.

We’ve been through so much together. So many burpees and push-ups and toes to bar. So many emotionally exhausting times. So many moments where he helped me pick up, sort and organize the pieces of my life.

Somehow, in the midst of this year’s turmoil, I became dependent upon him. And so he began the gentle process of giving ME my independence. He steadied me, until I found my balance.

There’s a line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Professor Henry Jones tells his son: “You left just as you were becoming interesting!”

William has always been an interesting guy, but as a young adult, the conversations are richer. And it’s hard on a mom.

It’s hard because he’s become my friend–even though that was the goal all along.

To set him free.

To watch him live his life to the fullest.

To re-shape my own, with his picture on the wall and an empty hook where he hung his hat for a while.

13 days remaining to Toughen Up, Buttercup.