We had the special opportunity this year to have my kids and their cousins all together for Christmas. To celebrate the occasion, my parents orchestrated a little visit from one of Santa’s helpers. My dad, playing the role of one of Santa’s “assistants”, took each kid on his lap and went over a list of what he or she had achieved this year. It was a sweet moment as both a parent and aunt to hear the milestones reached: my nephew started reading and learned to skateboard, my niece mastered counting in Chinese and took up the trumpet, my son learned to swim and can write his name, and my daughter learned to talk and started potty training. Besides the obvious, insane amount of development that young kids are experiencing (my daughter acquired language this year…hmmm…what exactly was I doing?), the swell of pride on each of the grandkid’s faces hearing his or her accomplishments was heartwarming. Sharing it like this with family and in a special “ceremony” like this made it visible and real.
Often these days, I find myself caught between that bittersweet parenting quandary: I want to both freeze my kids exactly where they are and I want to press the fast forward button. What will they be like as big kids? As young adults? Where will the path of their lives take them?
And likewise with myself, I find my tendency is to look ahead, to focus on future goals and activities, often at the expense of glossing over the past and not giving full attention to the present.
So, before I raise my glass to 2014 and think about resolutions, here’s to reflecting on 2013 and savoring the present. To squeezing out the last, lovely moments of the year. To enjoying the winter weather, the fire, the holiday lights. To finishing up charitable giving for the year, taking another run, a final yoga class, another bedtime story. To being with family and being together. To being here.