At the start of each of the last few years I’ve focused on words instead of specific resolutions and have found it much more meaningful and effective. In 2013 it was Decide, Attend, and Play. Last year I added Focus, Accept, and Sleep. This year I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to continue to think about the good words I’ve already got and add only one more: Gratitude.
2014 brought its share of challenges and I frankly wasn’t all that sad to see it go. But, as I reflect on the year that was, I realize that I was also blessed with many great memories shared with wonderful people, and that the “bad” stuff wasn’t really as hard as it might have felt in the moment. I see now that things started to look up when I began to shift my focus and think about all that I was grateful for.
I also know that I want to raise a kind and generous son who is able to cultivate gratitude (more on this in a future post). And, I know that if I want to do this, I must model it myself.
So 2015 will be a year of daily reflection on gratitude in both abstract and more concrete ways:
- Last November we started a bedtime routine of sharing one thing we were grateful for during the day. It has been revealing, wonderful, and at times very humorous (my son has, on more than occasion, mentioned his gratitude for lunch). We’re continuing this practice in 2015 and I’ve started a gratitude journal to keep track.
- This year I’ll be more mindful of the amazing people in my life and more vocal in my appreciation for all they do and are. I’ll share more compliments. I’ll be better about staying in touch. I’ll do all I can to be with loved ones.
- I’ll spend time outdoors each and every day. Wow, writing that down it sounds pretty audacious, but it’s gonna happen. Even if it’s cold (or hot) and even if it’s only 10 minutes. The beauty of the world around us never fails to improve my mood and inspire gratitude for the profound gift of life itself.
I’ll leave you with this lovely 6 minute video which pairs beautiful images with a message of gratitude and mindfulness including, “You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you. Today. It is given to you. It’s a gift.”
I didn’t write as much as I would’ve liked in 2014. A big move, a new job, negotiating new routines all played a role. Still, I hope to do more in this new year.
But there is one thing about 2014 that I’m pretty happy about. I read. A lot. Continue reading
I must admit that I occasionally come down with a case of the “bah humbugs” this time of year. The etiology seems to be multi-factorial. Distance from both sides of our extended family and commercialization of the holiday season both contribute. Reading the news doesn’t help. This year, I’m particularly struck by the fact that for most of the kids I take care of the holiday season is actually a pretty difficult time of year. Whatever the cause, there are times that I just haven’t been feelin’ that holiday spirit.
Luckily, I have found a sure fire cure for this malaise. Continue reading
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an extremely common childhood illness and this question is one we often face in clinic. Continue reading
It’s when I’m putting my son to bed at night that I feel it most acutely. Smelling his hair. Watching him breathe. It overwhelms me. There’s a name for what I’m feeling. Vulnerable.
Absolute and total vulnerability. Vulnerability that comes from a love so profound it cannot be described. I think, no one told me about this part of parenting. But then I think that even if they had I wouldn’t have understood. Heart on my sleeve isn’t the half of it. Continue reading
It’s funny, growing up I didn’t really move at all. I lived in the same house in a small midwestern town from age 2 to 18. But, since leaving home for college I’ve had my share of moves. Seventeen different abodes in now three states. I didn’t really mean to turn into a nomad, it just sort of happened. You get pretty good at paring down belongings and change of address notifications. Continue reading
When my son was an infant (and not the greatest sleeper), we’d rock and listen to lullabies. We listened to one CD so many times that many of the songs are seared into my brain. I remember one song in particular. “Sleep, baby, sleep. It is time to close your eyes.” I’d sing along, willing the words to come true. Continue reading
In just a few days I’ll be leaving the clinic where I’ve practiced pediatrics for the past six years. The last months have been a flurry of last visits with families, paperwork, and tying up loose ends. There have been many, many goodbyes. I’ve been deeply moved by the expressions of gratitude and affection that many families have shared with me. It seems it is always in these times of change and endings that we are most open with each other. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting and self-care. Mostly about how, when things get busy, our self-care is often the first thing to go. This, despite evidence and anecdote that it really shouldn’t be. That taking care of ourselves actually makes us better parents. Continue reading