On New Year’s Eve afternoon, I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to write down some New Year’s Resolutions. They were pretty cut and dry: keep up with my blog, get some more editing jobs, finish my book, potty train Heidi, maybe lose another 5 lbs.
I felt good and accomplished thinking of all the things I will have achieved by 2014, all the potential items I could add to my “I did that!” list, all the things I could smugly raise my champagne glass to at the stroke of midnight in 365 days.
These dreamy moments were brief, as soon after I penned my goals, Heidi woke up from her nap and our day ended in a whirl of playing in the snow, baking brownies, reading books, and wrestling and giggling across the living room floor.
I settled onto Heidi’s bed that night, a stack of books on my right and Heidi snuggled up on my left, donning her purple cow jammies and holding her blankie tight. It’s my favorite spot and time of day, a quiet pocket of time when we read a stack of books and snuggle, uninterrupted.
In the middle of her new favorite book, Muddypaws Goes to School, Heidi suddenly looked up at me, tucked my hair behind my ear, and said, “Mommy, I love you so much.”
I was floored. She’s been talking for months now, and each day she adds more and more vocab (and surprisingly proper grammar) to her repertoire of chatter. But this simple expression of love melted me.
I couldn’t measure the gratitude I felt in that moment. And nothing felt more important than my family. I felt a nagging urge to rework my resolutions.
Here’s what I came up with:
- Give more, think less. Sometimes giving just needs to be a reaction, not an analysis. If God provides for us anyways, and ifeverything we have is from Him, why all the calculating?
- Be a stay-at-home mom for Heidi…not for myself. I often find myself planning my day around everything I want to get done. In some ways, obviously, this is fine…but sometimes I find myself pausing in the shuffle, looking at Heidi, and thinking, “When did we color last? When did we sit and have a bowl of ice cream, or go see her friends last? When did we do her letter puzzle or play with her dollhouse together?” Also, going along with this, I want to include Heidi whenever I can. Whenever Heidi wants to “help” me do chores, I want to let her and not brush her off. It may take longer, but praising her and allowing her to learn that giving and helping is fun and joy-inducing is one of the best things I can do as her mother.
- Take myself lightly. When feeling overwhelmed and stressed, ask myself, “Will this matter in five years? Or even in a week?” Laundry and housework can wait…it will get done. Heidi won’t look back and wish I’d washed her monkey jammies more (actually…she might…those are her favorite). But she will remember the times we stayed up laughing on her bed or reading a stack of books just because. At the end of the day, count the blessings and not the blunders. I’m only human. I won’t be perfect.
- Enjoy more, complain less.
- Re: Heidi…instruct more, yell less. Anger doesn’t bring about the righteousness God desires…and yet I resort to it quite often with Heidi, convinced my anger will prod her to correct behavior. This is wrong and never works. The times I have spent disciplining her appropriately (and sternly) and explaining proper behavior have been much more fruitful.
- Re: Cody…more prayer, less attitude. This one is self-explanatory.
- Be more, plan less. I always have such high expectations of my day: read my bible, play with Heidi, work out, write, be intentional, on and on and on. Some days I sit back and wonder, how do I expect to fit this all into a day?? I can’t. I want to willingly and happily give up things I feel obligated to do in order to do enjoyable things I want to do with people I love. It also goes without saying that I also need to say, “No,” when I need more space, more sleep, more time with my family, or a good, long run by myself.
- Count only blessings. While there may be circumstances this year for our family which, no matter which way you turn it, don’t seem like a blessing, even the grace of God in moments like that is a blessing to lean on. I want to go into 2014 focusing on how the trials of 2013 shaped me and our family.
- Focus less on quantity…the numbers on the scale, the amount of sleep I lost, the amount of stuff I did or did not get done…and more on quality. Count less…the amount of times Heidi obeyed, the amount of hours she should have slept, how many date nights Cody and I have (or haven’t) had…and relish more. Laughing with my girl. Enjoying my friends. Blessing my husband. Being generous with the thousands of gifts God has placed in our laps. All in and around our normal, mundane life.
- Pray more, worry less. Any moment that fear or anxiety seeps into my heart, I want to automatically take it to God. I constantly borrow trouble by worrying about tomorrow, next week, next year, and it’s pointless. There is enough in this moment to fret over. I don’t need the added burden of the unknown tomorrow.
Yes, I have goals for myself…ones that have to do with my writing, my health, my hobbies. And I truly do want to stick to those, but not if I’m losing sleep over it. I want to curl up every night, thanking God for more moments in this life and the chance to be a blessing to whomever I can. He holds each year in His hands, and He knows what’s around the bend. I want to rest in that.
I don’t necessarily want to gain accomplishments; I want to gain character, wisdom, a better attitude, and new experiences. I suppose that’s still asking a lot. But I can always roll some of them over into 2014. Good thing the New Year comes around once a year.
“Let the attitude of your life be a continued willingness to ‘go out’ in dependence on God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm that is very satisfying to Jesus.”