I have been Zooming all week. Staff meetings, department meetings, morning meetings, read alouds for my kids, a special 'happy birthday' for my son, and my favorite — happy hour. Zoom happy hour has become a regular part of my day, when I carve out time to enjoy a drink (or more) and chat with friends. These calls have been vital to my week and help keep me sane and grounded each night.
A full night's sleep offered some needed perspective the next day: My family was safely home together. We had plenty of food. We were all healthy. As the media highlighted those who were not as fortunate, I knew I did not want to take our situation for granted.
It is easy to get frustrated with the negatives of winter — cabin fever, all the effort it takes to layer your kids up to go outside, digging your car out of snowbanks just to leave the house. Like all the seasons, winter is fleeting. Enjoy the gifts it offers us while it is present. Despite my skepticism of this frosty season, I have come to realize that there is a place for winter.
Our life is mostly chaotic, but it's still beautiful. As a family, we try to take in and enjoy the happy moments when they come to us, and we would love to share them with you.
See, things have changed a lot. Parents of young kids these days can be distracted — myself included. We have a lot going on, and technology and social media have created an additional burden on us despite all the ways they have made life easier. In part because of all the information we have available, we are constantly judging ourselves. Moms in particular struggle with comparing themselves and their parenting abilities to those of everyone they follow on Instagram or are friends with on Facebook.
It doesn't matter where — school, daycare, soccer practice, swim lessons, a birthday party, Nana's house, vacation. It could be the most exciting trip to an amusement park that we've been planning and talking about for months. We are always late!
Me? Oh, ya know — same old, same old. I’m working a little more than I’d like — probably around a hundred or so hours a week. I mean, they want me to work more but I’m like, “No.” I draw the line at 110 hours. Like, that’s it. I’m on this project where I have to push this giant rock up a hill, and every time I get close to the top it rolls back down. Like, by design. I don’t know who scoped this thing. It’s fine, but whenever I ask the project manager what the end date is she bellows, “This is your eternity,” in this really low, spooky voice, which is totally not helpful.
The images Karyn captured that day are everything I had hoped they would be. In the photos, I don't see a mom who is uncomfortable in her frame. I don't see forced smiles or awkward poses. I see my family as we are. Goofy and playful, close-knit. Real. And I am right there in the middle of it all. In the picture. Right where I belong.
I know this sounds silly. Because Gary Chapman's bestselling book, 'The Five Love Languages,' has been around for nearly 25 years. But I never knew what the love languages were until very recently when I stumbled upon an online 'love language' quiz. It was a major game changer.
But I want it. I want the little sayings. I want the comfort. I want them and I want them to make sense for MY world. So, I’d like to propose some rewrites to those old adages to make them more relevant to us, the ones in the sticky, smelly trenches. Us — the parents of young kids.
I know there may be a time down the line when our decade-plus age gap could lead to heartache for me. However, we have a whole wonderful life to live together now, and I refuse to spend a minute of my time on the pointless emotion of worry. He is truly my soulmate — who cares if he is old?
I’m not going to lie; this holiday season wasn’t all that magical. It wasn’t the Hallmark movie script I had in my head. I had big plans to make Christmas cookies, drive around to see the lights, have the presents beautifully wrapped with time to spare, build a gingerbread house, decorate the tree while singing Christmas carols, and attend all the holiday parties. Here’s where my plan got foiled: I have kids.
Dear Santa. You're busy this time of year, I get that. But you're also in the business of Christmas miracles, and that's what I need more than anything you could wrap and leave under the tree. So here's the list of things I'd like for Christmas this year.
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