Saturday, January 18, 2014

December 2013

End of the Year Musings...

It's December 31st, 2013, and I'm sitting down here in the midst of my messy house, a glass of red wine by my side, feeling mildly frazzled on the surface but grateful in my depths. Some reflections on 2013...

(Note: I lost my camera a couple months ago, so no recent pictures. Back to the dark ages where we described things in words...)

I'll start with Sam. Sam's boundless energy invites me to paint him in metaphors. He is a  dynamo, a torpedo, a tornado, a bullet train, a bear cub, a puppy, and a bouncing Tigger all in one. He spins! He flies! He falls off chairs! It is so much fun to watch him grow. He's becoming a super reader and entertains us with live and expressive Dr. Seuss readings, songs, and nursery rhymes, as well as creative dance moves. He can swim like a shark, ride a bike without training wheels, and ice skate forward and backward (and sideways, and upside-down, and on his bum or sliding across the ice on his tummy or knees...) Nothing stops him!

This year Sam got glasses and was found to have astigmatism and red-green color blindness, which explains years of arguments discussions over what is blue versus purple. He also began treatment for ADHD this year, with good results, and we are really proud of his progress in school. He practices high-velocity hugs on me and writes me beautiful love notes. He makes my day just by saying, "Bye, supermommy!" when I leave for work.

Alle continues to be a spirited, creative young lady. She turned 9 this year and is tackling the challenges of third grade with a mix of courage and frustration. It looks like she has some version of ADD as well, without the hyperactivity, and the extra demands of homework and organization/planning are stretching her limits. She is fiery and passionate, independent, stubborn, curious, articulate, a deep thinker and a very perceptive observer. We have enjoyed reading great books together this year, and now she has discovered the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter and we are deep into enchantment, magic and mystery. She was in her first "Winter Ice Show" at the local rink this year, where she showed off her backward skating-waving-smiling skills and clearly enjoyed the spotlight. :-)

Alle also started violin lessons recently, and her teacher makes it fun, with songs about ants and grandmas riding motorcycles. It's interesting to see the Suzuki philosophy and techniques from a parent's viewpoint and I'm learning a lot too, mainly that there is a big difference between being able to play and being able to teach! I really like Suzuki's emphasis on joy and character and music as a way to develop those.

Bryan is enjoying a thriving and rewarding psychiatry practice, and thankfully is in a good group where the call is reasonable. I've been hearing recently about the importance of play both for children's development and for adults' thriving, and I have a new love and appreciation for his play skills - he's a good influence on me and a fantastic dad. He enjoys playing games with the kids and has introduced them to the creative and problem-solving worlds of Minecraft and Civilization. Games in our house are also opportunities to practice non-violence. :-)  He also enjoys getting together with friends for game nights and movies like The Hobbit.

As for me...I'm a work in progress--aren't we all? At age 44 I am still learning things - and I love what we are discovering about neuroplasticity - it means there is hope for everyone!  This year I am proud to report I learned to ice skate - nothing fancy, but enough to have fun with the kids and finally understand that gliding motion a little bit. I also learned to "loom knit" hats, and I enjoy the process even though I have trouble finding enough sit-down time to get much done. Again this year I also enjoyed training for and completing three half-marathons and two marathons, and collected donations for girls' education. Finally, I've rekindled my love for the piano a bit, renewing my old acquaintances from childhood piano books and finding new interests in Satie and Faure and Debussy. I'm no great performer, but it brings me joy.

And that is about it! The year in a nutshell.

May your 2014 be filled with peace, love, and joy.

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