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New Year's Eve Lessons for My Kids

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I’m staring down the end of 2016 with hours left to go and all I can see is time. Babies if I could tell you something that would ring true in the coming years, it would be the lessons I’m learning today. Nothing is solely sad or happy; we don’t land in our fears or live for our triumphs, we breath in the space in between. Make space for the unexpected. Live in the space that builds smiles. In life beginnings and ends, happy and sad, get twisted up sometimes.

This New Year’s we spent at home. I woke up dreading food and anyone eating it. My oldest you will remember. You woke up and got to watch part of Home. I pushed to go to the gym with promises of karate class when everyone seemed fine. But, you told me you were too tired. I believed you because we’ve all spent the last 3 days at home. We weren’t sick enough to be dying but uncomfortable enough to wish we were.

I was sure we’d cut ourselves off from socializing, get bored in the house, face a day full of ucky sickness- forget about the New Year’s stuff. But today we watched movies, spent hours on the trampoline. We built spelling puzzles. Then, snuck in an extra story time all cuddled on baby’s chair. I can’t believe you sat for If You Give a Moose a Muffin, Giraffes Can’t Dance, and One Fish Two Fish... almost two times. Clearly you all were still sick. But, I made 75 snacks and everyone kept them down. Daddy played camp fire with you and the Little People. You’ll soon forget that around that he had to work. You guys were full of hugs and kisses and everyone took a nap. You got an extra movie: Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure, which really made the day seem special, even if we never made it past the couch. Big guy you got to read Robin Hood, cuddled in my bed. We had a brief dance party when you realized that mommy danced like she was crazy or maybe something bit her. Then you abandoned it. We all got pizza and wings and iced more Christmas cookies because… why not? Then you little guys got a bubble bath before we hid from shark daddy on my bed over infested waters. Ker Plunk was kind of a disaster, but treasure hunt was a hit.

Every detail is worth remembering. Every detail is our life. I smiled at all the kisses, got lost in everyone sleeping on my chest. It was a day I wasn’t expecting. It was the good stuff I didn’t know to wish. As the clock ticked down I remembered something as I spent a few minutes alone. She was always my midnight call. Recent years I remember debating if she would be asleep already, or if the ring might scare her now. But this is the first year I know Grandma has no phone. I couldn’t call to say, “I love you, I remember that you’re home.” She may still be living, but she doesn’t know me now. Sure that could crush me, but that’s not how this ends. She was my night-time call grandma. My person to check on to make sure we were never up alone. She is also the inventor of some of our favorite past times like wall walks and tea time. It was she, who taught me how to keep puke off the floor.

On New Year’s we stand surrounded by our fears with our feet in the past, but our eyes to the future. Life will come and beginnings will be mixed up with ends. Happy and sad will fight over who eclipses who. Don’t let them. Stand strong. Breath in the details: the ones that are coming and make you smile and the ones that are going and make you cry. They are two ends of the same line. Both build the space from which to look at life and smile. Tow the line that reminds you that love is worth following through the path your life is taking. It’s the good stuff. I promise. These overlapping details remind us we can’t control or hold on to life.

You gave me the best memories while I was busy worrying about puke. Whether puke came or didn’t, didn’t matter. But if I missed how love came in your kisses or Grandma’s calls, well that, Lovies, would have been a true loss. Rainbows come on rainy days and a phoenix is reborn in fire. Like nature and mythology we’ll find that beginnings come from endings and good can come from bad. But if I were you I’d focus on the stuff that’s in between. Follow that stuff that makes you smile from beginning to end and everywhere in between.

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