Monday, December 27, 2010

Que Sera, Sera

We all want to start anew on January one. Making resolutions for change. The problem is that life didn't get that memo. Change happens when we are waiting for January one to get here. Sometimes the change is good, sometimes bad but all the time new. New means different. Different is hard for me. I like the same and the boring. Anything that rocks the boat makes me extremely sea sick. The thing I am beginning to realize is that once the waters calm the unexpected change can equal something important.

It has taken me 39 years but I am beginning to catch on to a few key things. People are who they are. My job isn't to change them to be what I want them to be. Another thing that is hard to swallow is that things that happen just do... umm...well happen. We can't wish them away or pray them away. If they are going to happen they will no matter how we fight for them to not. As much as we want our resolutions to change the way our life goes most often they don't.

This year I won't make that list of things I want to change. I won't waste precious time trying to make things different. What I will do is focus on having a new year filled with positive thoughts and acceptance of the changes that happen. I will find peace in loving the people in my life for who they are without making them into something they are not. I will also try to love myself for who I am...quirks and all.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inside the Snow Globe

When this time of year rolls around I can see the sparkle of excitement in my kid's eyes. Everything is special for them. The baking and decorating. The carols and secrets. They take it all in and embrace it with vigor. Our job as parents is to create and perpetuate these things in the form of tradition and magic. Even when we have to pretend.

This year I have been searching every where for that inspiration. I have looked in the bottom of the hot cocoa cup and under the sparkly ornaments. All I had been able to find until yesterday was stress and forced smiles. I was just going through the motions this year. Play acting the part of the holidays. As much as I wanted to let the swirling enthusiasm take hold and bring me to that place where snowmen talk and reindeer fly I just couldn't let it happen. I was too focused on what I usually get hung up on. Reality.

Then I heard some news that made me sad. News that instantly made me see that each moment is fleeting. News that made me sure that a lopsided tree or presents without bows don't matter. A girl I knew from High School lost her battle with cancer. She was never anything but good and sweet. She deserved nothing but a life full of love and happiness. Her three children and her husband deserved every holiday with her. Senseless tragedy and yet to me it was like a stinging slap in the face. All those unimportant things need to disappear. Finding the peace, joy and celebration with my friends and family is what is on my holiday plate. Giving what I can of myself whether that be through humor or compassion or simply gratitude for all that I have.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hearing the Cricket

Watching my kids I see the struggles I must have faced at their ages. Then I didn't know what it was but now i see it. That voice that starts out as a Jiminy Cricket whisper inside telling you right from wrong. The one that helps you realize the right thing to do. I remember the voice and how easy it was at first to ignore it and do what made me happy every time. But the voice got louder and I started to hear what it was saying loud and clear. Sometimes the choice isn't about our own feelings at all but about other people and how the choices I make effects them. That voice is like an internal moral compass. It helps us figure out right from wrong.

Things like walking and talking are based on instinct but conscience not so much. It is a learned behavior. We as parents have to set the standards for what is allowed and what is not allowed. We have to be aware that what we say and do is teaching our children whether or not to listen to that voice. We have to teach by example. We are the ones who must instill the morality that makes some behaviors not an option for our kids. All those things we see in the news day after day such as bullying, drug abuse, and violence are not necessarily because kids are bad but more because they have the inability to see right from wrong: no conscience.

That voice has always been a good friend to me. It has helped me to feel like a good person. It has helped me to know when to put others feelings before my own. The problem is it isn't always easy, especially when you are a kid, to see the bigger picture. Instant gratification is sometimes more important then doing what is right. Cheating to get a good grade or putting down a friend for a laugh seems like the only way to go to be liked. The most telling thing is tracing the kids who act with total disregard back to their parents. Then you find out exactly who is to blame.