My grandchildren spent some time with me over the Christmas holidays. I looked down and saw fingerprints on my pajamas one morning. A sure sign that there had been no Christmas ghosts at my house this year. I sat back and surveyed the wreckage of having the whole family here in my little house. It was a marvelous carnage of wrapping paper, half-eaten meals, toys, and toddler debris on all the floors. We didn’t have the dog this time. That meant more and less mess.
It was all over too quickly.
“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” ―
The pajamas are in the washing machine right now. But those prints are on my soul forever. Don’t they always say that childhood passes so quickly? My grandchildren live in the Dallas area. I don’t see them often enough. They are bigger and more grown up each time I do. I missed the whole crawling stage this fall.
“Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.” ―
It got very cold during Christmas. At least for this part of Texas. I was in bed with an extra blanket. It was a quilt that my grandmother had pieced together from her sewing scraps. She sewed clothes for herself and others in the family. Over the years as I have grabbed that patchwork quilt I think about my grandmother. Growing up, we spent a lot of time together. It’s not so much a single event or interaction that I recall, but her presence that has been instilled within me because of her constancy, patience and deep love.
As I labor to build memories for my own grandchildren, I think about my childhood memory with others. It’s not built out of single events, but instead those long and constant relationships.
As Christmas came to an end, I had the familiar experience – departure. Everyone loaded into the car and waved from the backseat. I then begin to prepare myself for our next meeting. Mostly this is self-preparation. When next we meet, how am I going to do a better job of grandfathering? Of course, realizing that these two children are ever changing as they grow more and more as each day passes. I hope I do too.
Are you working on your 2023 resolutions yet? This next year’s list are predictably similar to those from previous years. Take a look at a U.S. survey from October – November.
Here’s something interesting to know about resolutions. Haven’t you heard that success is greater if you make yourself accountable – tell someone who will check in on your progress? This is sort of like Social Facilitation. Research tells us that this only works when you are performing a task that you already know how to do. Being accountable or having the eyes of your whole family on your every trip to the refrigerator can instead get in the way of your success when you’re attempting a goal you don’t know how to accomplish.
Resolutions tend to focus on self-improvement. The weight that must get lost, the habits to change, or the money to save. What about resolving to be more intentional about the people in your life – especially those who depend on you? Even those who don’t even realize yet how much they need you?
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ―
As you arise on the morning of the next year, look down and see those handprints on your pajamas. Who are you going to take with you into this next chapter of life?