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01 January 2011

2011 - A year of change and growth

I started the morning out feeling more reflective than I normally do on New Year's Day. Don't get me wrong, I think about resolutions and things I want to change or improve every year, but this year feels different, more important somehow - especially in terms of family and my relationship with my children. As a family, I don't feel like we have the relationships that I so desperately want us to have with one another. We love one another deeply, and most people comment on how close we are. That said, the day to day hustle and bustle resulting in the chaotic mess we call our lives results in a lot of angry exchanges that make for unhappy people merely coexisting in space. That is not the family I want to create, nor the legacy I want to leave my children with. Much of this stems from the fact that we struggle to make ends meet, and from my own personal struggle to obtain a healthy balance between work and our home life. Add Ahern's head injury to the mix of grading, planning, homework help, and the challenges a single parent family creates for all involved and you have a puzzle worthy of Mensa. Just how do we make this a healthy environment for everyone involved, and still see to the needs and obligations we each hold? I don't have the answer to that question, but I'd sure like to work on finding it in 2011.

I love my children deeply, madly, more than mere words can convey. Niko, Ahern, and Krystal give my life purpose and meaning, and I view parenting as the most important thing I've ever attempted in my life, however poorly or well I've managed thus far. What I realized this morning is that I love them and myself enough to honestly see that my New Year's resolutions encompass the single goal of becoming a better, happier, healthier person - for them and for me. Health, diet, weight loss, fitness, reducing stress, becoming more positive and engaging in activities that bring us together more often such as family dinners and game nights all relate to that one simple, yet huge, idea - I want to become a better person, to grow, to laugh more, to share, and to gracefully and gratefully acknowledge all that is good in our lives. Now how do you break that down into simple resolutions? I have a few ideas, but they are not all encompassing.

My heart tells me that it's time to work on our spiritual lives as a family, that it's time to return to Unity or some similar establishment. Similarly, I know that I must simply start to let unfinished things go and not allow them to bother me so. Already, I remain behind in grading, and yet I cannot allow this to become a big deal. Time with my family ranks higher in importance, and somehow I need to develop a speed and efficient strategy or figure out a better more valuable means of identifying and providing feedback to my students. I care about and remain committed to their growth, but not to the point that my children continue to think I care more for the children in my classroom than the ones I have at home. (My lowest point in 2010? Realizing that's how my own children feel!!)

2011, I know in my heart of hearts this year is going to bring us closer together, result in beautiful things for my family and I. I recognize this as a year of change and growth, and despite the growing pains that might entail, look forward ready to embrace and work towards all this year has to offer. Now, to spend some time with my kids...