My kids are getting ready to compose their glittery goals commonly known as New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s commendable they want to learn their multiplication facts, ambitious to want to play the viola with proficiency, and fantastic that they want to be congenial to their friends. However, they are also prone to making crazy and completely useless resolutions like, watch all episodes of Phineas and Ferb.
I revel in this time of year that invites us to pause for reflection and dreaming. My heart is grateful as I glance back at the previous year and look forward to the new one cresting over the horizon. I cherish the memories made with my little growing people and the beauty already present in the trails they have begun to blaze. I am also absolutely astounded by (and slightly jealous for) the progress they make each year. My brain no longer seems capable to learn at the rate at which they acquire new skills and appropriate unfamiliar information.
That being said, I am their mother and feel that they would be wise to consult me for some inspiration as they draft out what they hope to accomplish in the next year. They may not think they need my opinion, but since I am their mom —I am giving it anyway. “Hey Kids, how ’bout these for resolutions?!”
For the three-year-old
Pee IN the toilet; not on, around, or behind the toilet.
I can sew an arm back on a stuffed animal. I cannot repair a book that now resembles confetti. Let’s try to be more responsible with our things.
Continue to work on building your vocabulary. I do not speak Wookie, and your growls do not suffice as adequate communication.
I know you didn’t fly up on to that cabinet and that a monster didn’t make you eat that candy—Stop lying. I’m here for you kiddo, always will be. Love can’t grow on lies.
For the five-year-old
Learn how to tell time; realize that just because the sun is up doesn’t mean that you should be.
Wear denim. Jeans are fantastic, contrary to your insistence that they are scratchy. Also, you have siblings before you who have handed down multiple pairs, so you will wear them. Leggings are not pants. Keep that tush covered. Learn it now, your future self will thank you.
You do not have the force. Just because you state something as a fact doesn’t make it one. For example, “I did not eat the cupcake.” It just doesn’t work when your tongue is stained by the icing—Stop lying. I’m here for you kiddo, always will be. Love won’t thrive on lies.
For the seven-year-old
Keep sleeping just like you are now! Knowing when it is appropriate to come out but not being difficult about getting up. Persevere in this sleeping pattern.
Do not take every shirt out of your dresser when you look for one in the morning.
Realize that when I ask you to brush your hair, it’s not because I’m trying to torture, punish, or persecute you. I would just prefer that strangers do not have to wonder if you are being neglected.
Learn that both your teacher and I can tell when you attempt to forge my signature on your reading log —Stop lying. I’m here for you kiddo, always will be. Love isn’t built on lies.
For the ten-year-old
Remember to look at the clock when you wake up; just because it’s dark outside doesn’t mean you should still be in bed.
Don’t let the bully get you down. Don’t be the bully either. Stand firm in the fact that the crazy hierarchy of grade school will crumble, eventually, and you need not bend to its rules. Love well, work hard, and be kind.
Learn to shower daily, because puberty. ‘Nuff said.
Want to consider pulling those emotions back a bit? Who am I kidding? This is only the beginning. In the meantime, when I ask you what’s going on, don’t scrunch up your face and tell me, “nothing.” —Stop lying. I’m here for you kiddo always will be. Love can’t coexist with lies.
A few resolutions of my own
Try to remember what it was like to be three, five, seven, or ten.
In 2017, extend more grace than expected, more patience than plausible, and give more love than is livable. It may seem impossible, but it is worth shooting for.