fullsizerender-6I’ve been at a loss for words. Every time I try to get still and find the right sentiment, my fingers start writing lists of things that need to get done. Instead of opening my heart, I’ve been armoring it in shoulds and must dos. Just like the Christmas letter drafts, I’ve been crumpling up lots of “To Do” lists and tossing them in the trash in favor of being present in the messy moments of life. Then this gem from Neil Gaiman, writer and creator, came my way and it felt the closest thing to a perfect New Year’s wish to share:

“It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world… In the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

“And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for.”

I asked the kids about what brings them joy in their lives. Littles immediately decided that toys are what bring her joy. As we talked more about it, we realized more than toys make us happy. Generosity and kindness toward others were themes that developed among the things we could do for free that made us happy. Bigs of course brought up jokes and laughter. He is the master of using air quotes in the very funniest ways. Husband talked about being thankful as a source of joy. I didn’t get a word in edgewise, not uncommon, but would have mentioned how acceptance has brought new perspective to my motherhood. When we aren’t having deep dinner conversations about joy in our lives and world, we’re a regular old family who always has one member complaining about what is for dinner.

Littles (age 5) started 4K this year and rides the bus to school with her big brother. She enjoys the art center and the post office/restaurant/store most in her classroom. At home she loves to play pretend with dolls, figurines, stuffed animals, and dress-up clothes. While she is the most likely to complain about dinner, she is also the most likely to share her most coveted items if it will make someone else’s day. We love her eclectic sense of style and kind heart.

Bigs (age 7) is in first grade. He loves math and has become a voracious reader. After getting the entire Harry Potter series for his birthday, he summed all the pages required to be read and informed us that the books weren’t his taste. I made him at least try them and we’ve all been hooked since. Bigs has a “minor” obsession with hockey – playing, watching, talking about, and strategizing on – and Husband has helped tame it by flooding a backyard rink. (Not to be confused with our driveway.) He also has been the proud host of the tooth fairy visiting four times this year.

Husband and I are very much the same. We took a once in a lifetime trip to Italy this fall to celebrate our 15th anniversary. It was magical – filled with peaceful moments and mountain top experiences. A highlight of the trip was in Rome’s airport where a group of sisters who were heading back to the States asked us if we were on our honeymoon. We laughed so hard, we cried. To keep the spark alive we enjoy dinners out with friends, playing Sequence in the kitchen, drinking wine, and reading books together.

Wishes for a healthy and happy 2017!