It’s a new year, and the word “resolution” has resurfaced everywhere – in the news, on your Facebook feed, from your friends, even on your family goal list.
We associate the word with a fresh start or new beginning, typically made at the start of the new year. Some resolutions can be brand new, but I prefer to categorize many of them as continued improvements.
Some of you may know I’m a little bit of a control freak. It has become even more glaring as my kids grow. So much of being a parent is not having control of much, especially since it involves raising tiny people who are growing into their own personalities and having their own thoughts. I started thinking about this during the crunch time leading up to Christmas. All of the last-minute gift buying/making, wrapping, cooking, watching every Hallmark movie shown (you know you did too), etc. My eyes didn’t close before midnight most nights. I may have started to go a little crazy.
I had this great idea to make a fingerprint tree as a grandparent gift … with a nearly three-year-old and a one-year-old. My plan was to squeeze the tiniest bit of paint out onto paper plates and dip their squirmy little fingers, one kid at a time of course, moving them quickly from the plate to the printed tree. It started out great, just as I had planned. But then my daughter thought she had it figured out and wanted to do it herself with no help. And then it happened. The stray print mark. That print was supposed to be a leaf. Now it was a smear. Then the baby kept trying to touch the paint after I had cleaned his fingers. I almost lost my mind. But it was really just a finger print. And a small smudge. Maybe it was a leaf falling in slow motion.
This is what I’m talking about. These things that start to drive me crazy like the incessant splashing during bath time or the obsession with dirt at the park. Or not being able to find the right pretzels shapes to make Christmas treats. This is something I’m always working on: learning patience and letting go of things that don’t matter.
It seems that New Year’s resolutions can sometimes be made in the wake of failures or shortcomings from the previous year. “This year, I’m going to start over.” I feel like that statement erases anything that had been done during the past year, good and bad. I’m all for reflecting, but I would rather think of a resolution as something on which I am continuing to improve. There are plenty of times within the last year when I felt victory in certain areas. I can also recall moments where I came slightly unhinged. But before thinking about where and how we can get better, let’s first celebrate last year’s wins, both big and small. Maybe then there would be less pressure to “get it right” this year, and perhaps we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.