I’m officially naming 2017 “The Year of the Daughter.” If you’re thinking that I’m stealing from the Chinese, you’re right. I sort of am.
For me, 2016 was “The Year of Firsts.” I published my first literary fiction novel on Amazon. I left an unsatisfying, time consuming career to become a freelance writer so I can focus more on my family. I mainly stopped swearing (though when I am mad, cussing is still my coping mechanism). And while I have found that managing my own clients is more challenging than initially anticipated, being fully present when I am with my daughters and not thinking about work deadlines or anything else has been a huge learning curve for me.
I’m not one of the people who is counting down the milliseconds until 2017 just because many of the pop culture icons from my childhood are dropping like flies (unfortunate and bizarre as it is). I’m also not fleeing the country on a lifeboat to Canada because the person I really didn’t want to win the election will be running the country in a few weeks (a lot of prayer and alcohol has helped me get through this reality). I’ve actually been embracing the last few weeks of 2016 so that I can prepare for my 2017 new year’s resolution: to focus on the here and now.
Sure, I like to think that I go through life focusing on the present. The reality is that I think I go through life with the intention of focusing on the present, but as a dreamer, I tend to focus on the future. Which means I often skip over the here and now (though I’m really good at lamenting the past when the present feels insufferable.)
As I look toward 2017, my goal is to be fully present with my daughters. The two lessons I have learned from people who have adult children is 1) This time is fleeting and 2) You can never get it back. Margaret has only 5 1/2 years until she’s college-bound so 2017 will be about full-immersion into Margaret (and of course her baby sister). How will I know if I succeed? That’s easy. She will absolutely hate me this time next year. She will pray fervently that I will go back to work full time (which is a daily temptation for me) so she can regain back her life of getting away with murder (which she used to do on a daily basis). But one day, when I’m really old, frail, and shriveled, and she’s leading a healthy, happy life, she will thank me for being involved in her life. (Or she’ll thank God that I can’t drive anymore.)
Being someone who is extremely impatient, I’ve already started prepping for 2017. These past two weeks leading up to the new year, Margaret, her younger sister, and I have spent our time along a spectrum of activities ranging from frivolous fun to trying to make an impact on the lives of others. And a lot in between. There have been some hairball moments – like when Margaret almost missed a doctor’s appointment that I made 3 months ago because she claimed she was too sick to drive but I called her bluff because I suspected she was being overly dramatic (and since I’m too cheap to pay the $60 copay for cancelling before 24 hours it was good that it turned out that I was right).
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, productive “Year of the Daughter!”
Here’s a recap of highlights from our Christmas break in photos: