Friday night, we have Shabbat dinner.  Every Friday.  We almost always have Lilli and Sarah with us, but this Friday, they were with my in-laws.  It’s hard, to try and make Friday special when the girls aren’t here, and I had gift cards from Christmas… so Marc and I took the three kids to Applebees.

Sam’s a mess when it comes to restaurants – and it’s always hit or miss if he’ll be able to find anything he likes or if he’ll panic and need to leave.  We don’t go out to restaurants, really.  In part because it’s cheaper to eat at home, but mostly because he’s really not able to do restaurants.  We took two cars, so if it got ugly, I could just slip out without disrupting everyone.  He was nervous, and tried to back out – but I’ve gotten pretty good at anticipating, reacting with a minimum of fuss, and being as subtle and reassuring as possible.  He got in the car, hesitated about going in, hesitated about going in, and then was a little anxious about waiting for the table.  But thank goodness Applebees has the little video game thing at the table, and he tried (and LOVED) the mozzarella sticks – so Friday night counted as a win.

Saturday, I went into work, Marc brought Julie to the synagogue and Jessie and Sam stayed home.  I got home just as the snow was starting to fall, and Marc got home soon afterwards.  We got close to six inches and snuggled in all afternoon.  We watched movies, knitted and crocheted, played board games, and took naps.  The older kids split off into their bedrooms, and Julie usually hangs out with us, or in her play area in the dining room.  She’s got half the dining room as her own little space, with baby doll beds, dollhouses and doctor kits all carefully arranged.

Sunday morning, it was still icy and Julie was coughing a lot, so we stayed in.  Confession time – I’ve never taken my kids sledding.  I don’t like the cold.  And last year – I felt guilty enough to buy them all sleds… just in time for the mildest winter in forever.  So we didn’t go last year – and then on Sunday, nobody much wanted to head out.  Jessie went to the synagogue for a USY thing, and Marc went grocery shopping and took Sam to Toys R Us to spend a Christmas gift card – but other than that, it was another quiet, snuggly sort of day.


I feel like I’m starting over.  Or starting back.  My life is no longer in trauma.  This is the anniversary of the time when things started to get really dark for Sam last year.  It was the beginning of January that he stopped going to school.  And while I’ve got little desire to look back, I do know that my body is aware of the anniversary.  I feel the tension, the awareness of what I was doing, what he was doing, at this time last year.

All that being said – we’re back to a place that I recognize.  Where the kids are all well (we define “well” a little differently now for Sam), the husband is good, my life is mine again.  I wake up happy.  So, in light of moving on, of starting to embrace the life I’ve built… here are some New Year’s Resolutions for 2017.

1 – Get back to the things that matter.  I used to be more involved with volunteering, at the schools, at the synagogue.   I pulled away from all of it last year, and I don’t regret it.  But I also think that (to quote my favorite fictional President Jeb Bartlett) decisions are made by those who show up.  So I’m showing up.  I went to my first PTG meeting in a long time last night, and may have possibly agreed to co-chair the spring dance, and represent the school at monthly city-wide meetings.  I’m working on setting reasonable limits, like suggesting that we assemble a sub-committee to plan to dance, and get a list of parents to rotate attending meetings.  But I’m getting involved again, and I’m happy about it.

2 – Step back from the immediacy of parenting, and try and think about what I’ll wish I had done.  Does that make sense?  Putting Julie to bed is one example.  I snuggle her to bed, we curl up together, watch something on netflix and then I lay next to her and read facebook while she goes to sleep.  And sometimes – it takes forever and I get impatient.  I’m trying to remember that it won’t last forever.  Not only won’t it last forever – I have no idea how long I’ll have with her like this.  Things change, in an instant, and I won’t get this time back again.  I rub her back and tell her how much I love her, and stories about what she was like when she was little.  I kiss her hair and squeeze her a little extra, because life is too damn short not to do it when you can.

3 – Remember, always, that educating Sam is a long and winding road.  That he’s a brilliant child, and one of my jobs is to make sure that he’s challenged and engaged, and that he knows how to learn.  We’re not on anyone else’s schedule, and he’s been thru an enormous amount of trauma in the last year.  What I need to do now is focus on repairing and rebuilding his desire to learn, his confidence in himself, and feed that insatiable appetite he has for new information.

4 – Jessie’s entering into some of the most exciting years of her life.  Decisions she makes over the next four years will impact almost everything about her future.  She’s laying the groundwork now for the life she wants, and I want to give her all the support and structure and freedom, as well as limits, to do that.  She’s so thoughtful about it, so aware of what she wants and who she is and where she wants to go.  I need to nurture that, to remember to get out of her way when that’s what’s right, and when to step in and wrestle control back when she needs that.  Raising Jessie will always be somewhat scary and new to me, I’ve never done this before.  But I’m in awe of who she is, of what she’s accomplished and the way she walks in the world, and I want to really pay attention to that.

5 – Walk that little dog more.  Lucky is lazy – there’s no denying it.  He’d always rather curl up in the sunshine and nap, but he needs more.  Sam needs more too – so my goal is to walk both of them a lot more.  Once it’s warmer, though – because nobody wins when I have to be outside in the cold.

6 – Pay attention to Marc.  He gets lost sometimes – because the other needs are so immediate.  But it’s too easy sometimes to live these parallel lives, where he does his thing, and I do mine, and sometimes we have coffee in the mornings together.  I don’t want to look back at the end of twenty four years of raising children together (the birth of Jessie and Julie’s 18th birthday) and see a stranger.  We’re going on fifteen years of marriage (!!!) this year, and he’s still the best and brightest part of my life.  I don’t always take the time to think about that.