Monday, January 5, 2015

Why I Let Our Boys Write My Resolutions for the New Year

Well, here I am, on the evening of the first day of being back to real life (work, school, laundry, non-fleece attire) finally ready to give you my little list of goals for the new year.  Because, as you can see, I like to be on top of things around here, hello January 6th.

It's not that I've been procrastinating when it comes to making some New Year's resolutions (that's my eternal NYR - stop procrastinating), it's just that this year I've decided to take a look at life and the direction I'm heading from a little bit different perspective. And, by perspective I mean that I've been hunkered down in this little hut for two weeks focusing on 6 ornery boys, who were bound and determined to overwhelm me with their mannish ways.

The past couple of weeks that I've been MIA from the web have been spent pretty unplugged, but I confess, I kind of enjoyed hibernating for a bit in my domestic dwelling, spending some hard core time living life with our boys....watching them play, listening to them chat about sports and more sports, and learning from their testosterone filled mannerisms...
Every big brother is a toy mentor.  
This looks a lot like a donut. I think I'd rather have a donut.
You're kidding! A box? I've heard about these things! 
Uh oh, there might be some coveting going on right there. The toddler is ready to snatch!
I love how every opening is a group meeting. Gather 'round, ya'll!

What I discovered in 14 days of dodging Nerf bullets, gluing on the hand of an "accidentally" broken wise man, and keeping my post in the kitchen (boy-oh-boy can my crew eeeeeat) is that I think that children can teach us a lot about being happy, healthy and holy in this life.  That's what all these resolutions are for anyway, right, to make us better in one way or another??

I'm not sure if my beloved children have short term memory loss or if they honestly don't give two bits about the former days irritations, but I've noticed that to them every day really is a new day, a fresh start. I love that about them - leaving the past in the past and living fully all that is here today. That forgetting the past bit, I'll admit, is not one of my finer skills. So, this year, instead of focusing on a big list of New Year's resolutions, I am narrowing my focus to a one-day-at-a-time scope.

365 New DAYS ~ Resolutions for 2015:

Spin the Fork
Is it just my kids or do your little ones have a serious disinterest in food 95% of the time, too? Charlie would rather practice spinning his fork on the edge of his plate than use it to put my lovingly prepared fare in his mouth.  Maybe I need to be a little bit less interested in food, too, which won't be easy, because I really love to cook and eat. My goal for this year isn't just to shed the holiday cookie, party booze, post baby weight combo, but it's to eat with intention.  Instead of inhaling the chow while driving, paying bills, blogging, teaching school or changing out the laundry (two days ago I found a bowl of uneaten cereal on top of the dryer - crazy, no?), I will take the time to sit down, chew, taste and enjoy my food.  Fork spinning is optional.

Hold the Glitter
I'm a woman, thus I prefer to complicate things as much as possible.  It's just my hormonal feminine genius at work.  But, honestly, it doesn't really fly in a house filled with men.  I kind of mope around sometimes playing the "woe is me" and "no one here understands me" victim of all that testosterone, but truth be told, there's a few things to be learned from their, shall we say, simplicity?

Boys are great at keeping life on a direct path. Cut to the chase, go for the goal, one foot in front of the other.  No squiggles, no unnecessary turns and fewer words is always better.

They don't need their pb & j's cut into stars and hearts, they prefer to wear the same shirt for 13 days straight, they can rewrite the rules of Monopoly to make it more interesting in 7 minutes and 46 words plus or minus a few gestures.  Bendy straws make perfect pistols and a chop sticks collection from my purse (thank you Pei Wei) provide hours of jousting, fencing and strategic catapulting of random objects across the room. And, if plowing through a states and capitals worksheet means more time to play outside then pass on the nifty glitter project from Pinterest that puts the exact same facts in their precious little heads.

I'm going to take some cues from the boys and try a little less is more, quality over quantity and if I don't make life color coordinate on every level then we will all survive!

Let It Go! 
(I'm so sorry if you have that song in your head for the next couple of hours.) Have you ever noticed how boys like to work out their problems with flying limbs, but as soon as the duking is over, they are instantly best buds again? This happens in our house all of the time.  One moment the rug is on fire from wrestling friction and the next those same boys are laughing hysterically over whoever just tooted.

Forgive and forget, that's what they do. Move on. Let it go. I'm gonna give that a try (minus the wrestling and punching, I think...). If my plan to shed the Christmas cookies doesn't make me feel lighter, at least leaving behind the ball and chain of grudge might.

Make Time For the Maker
Many of you who actually posted about your resolutions before the ball dropped on Times Square, mentioned a sincere desire to devote more time to prayer in this upcoming year.  Yes and Amen and Hallelujah! I am right there with you!

One of our sons requested a prayer book for Christmas, which truly touched my heart (his piety is such a gift....NOT from his mother, who preferred to play MASH and meditate on the dreamy blues of Kirk Cameron in whatever teen magazine she was reading when she was 12).

Anyhoo, I took the advice of a few trusted friends and purchased a copy of Fr. John Hardon's book of prayers and meditations for our oldest two boys, and I must say it is quite a jewel. Steve and I have dozens of prayer books and stacks of spiritual reading, but there's something very special about this collection of prayers that I think I might be sneaking it off of the boys' nightstand!

Surprise Me!
When I asked the boys to write a Christmas wish list for me, they couldn't wait to explain their hearts' desires, and I was thankful to know and appreciate their own individual wonderment. Henry, however, had just one thing on his list - a BB gun.  We gently explained to him that he is a bit young yet to receive such a gift.  We could sense his disappointment, but he never did ask for anything else. So, Santa brought him a gift that was a complete surprise, a new bike.
He had absolutely the very best time opening his gifts on Christmas morning, because each one was truly unexpected. As I was scrolling through the photos form Christmas day, I couldn't help but marvel at Henry's expressions.  Joy.  Pure joy. Delight, wonder, thanksgiving, contentment, all of it flowed straight from the purity of his precious little heart.

I make an awful lot of lists throughout the year...some practical, some wishful, others more along the bucket type.  But, I think I might try a little less planning, a little less wanting, a little less asking for or at least expecting so much.  Perhaps instead I will follow Henry's lead and let myself be surprised with whatever life brings. I do love a good surprise!

Here's to 365 359 new days!!


  1. Thanks for this Susan! I, too, have 6 boys (ages 2-14) and what you've described is so. my. house. I'm going to work on "letting it go", too. Our house would be a happier house if I could get better at this. Blessings to you and all your boys!

  2. I really do love this list, Susan! AND I’m always checking your blog to get the best tips on raising/understanding/dealing with boys!! You, as always, put things so eloquently and I wish you the best of luck with your new year and all that it entails ;) Love #1, btw, so true!

  3. I think that many of us (moms) need to work on emulating our boys/kids more. I know that I tend to lose out on some of the joy of things because I end up so stressed by the time we get into something that I don't even enjoy it.
    I might just borrow (take and run with!!) your "Let it go!" slogan!!!

  4. He looks absolutely thrilled with his new bike! And I imagine a sense of childhood naivety and positivity would certainly add to any New Years Resolutions you made!


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