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My One New Years Resolution 2011

December 30, 2010

Rose, having a spiritual moment in the bar section of Trader Joes

Thank you for all your Trader Joes coaching. Pretty much what I heard was: Look for things dipped in chocolate. We’ve already gone through several packs of tahitian vanilla truffles (dipped in chocolate), which my low brow children keep calling chocolate covered raisins. And thank you too for the info on oregano oil and grapefruit seed extract to ward off strep throat – I learn so much from you guys!


This post is a re-post from last year, because it’s still true.

My One New Years Resolution

Sometimes I long to press pause, yank the needle off the spinning record, and slow the forward march of our lives. If I could stop the galloping of time, perhaps I’d always have one hand on the curve of Rose’s full moon belly while being perpetually blinded by the bright skyline of Col’s baby-tooth smiles. I’d forever know how the kids fit perfectly on my hips, as if we were all carved from the same chunk of clay.

But this is not the way of things. Rose’s belly will stretch into a flat knock-off of its former self. Col’s baby pearls will clunk out leaving awkward spaces, and their bodies will inch taller until my hips post a sad sign stating “no occupancy.”

But there is an antidote to this grasping of a particular moment so tightly that my fingers ache. And this is my one New Year’s resolution. It is the same resolution I will make every year, every day, until I’m driving the kids off to college, or to the Grateful Dead Revival Tour, or even until they’re carting their boisterous grandchildren into my odd-smelling nursing home.

I wish to be present with these children, to enjoy this very short time we have together.

This means, when I’m reading The Lorax to the kids for the eleventy-fifth time this week—overdue and accruing library fines like dust on our ceiling fans—that I won’t be plotting e-mails or dinner plans. I will be attentive enough to notice how Rose’s eyebrows rise into crescent moons when the Lorax first appears. I will breathe in Col’s childlike awe, his marveling at the pure wizardry of reading.

And when the kids are away from me, I will let them be away, enjoying our separation. And when they are with me, there will still be laundry to fold and meals to cook. But when we’re all sprawled on the floor playing the animal matching game, I will really be there.

I will fail at this resolution daily. I will sing Col his nightly lullaby and miss the moment his eyelids flutter closed like a landing bird because I am thinking about ice cream in the freezer. When the afternoon is yawning into the long, one-way tunnel of evening and Col is zipping rubber bands across the room maniacally and Rose is flinging herself into a boneless puddle of despair because I won’t let her have a cough drop, I will want to bend time forward with my mind.

But every now and then I will remember. I will wake up on an ordinary day to our brief lives intertwined like DNA strands and remember how lucky we are, right now. And even when Rose is crying over a denied cough drop, I will embrace this time together, hearing through the sniffles her brave heart tapping out its pattern of life, this life that I love so much.

And I will try again tomorrow.

**feel free to leave your New Years Resolution in the comments

21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2010 11:10 pm

    Lovely, Rachel. Being present is something I need to do more too. So much more.

    And while I’m not one for traditional resolutions, I do like to make intentions. Yes, and this year my intention is in the direction of balance. For me. I need to find the balance between night and morning…getting to bed (oh I need to do this so much earlier) and getting up. Balancing time of my own with time spent being present with my sweet, sweet boy. Balancing lethargy, with action – need more of the latter. Balancing indoors with the outdoors. Balancing the needs of each one of us.

    I suppose I could go on, but you get the picture. The balance I am seeking is meant to make me a better mama, a better wife, a better person. So, not a resolution as much as a deep heart felt intention.

    Happy New Year to you and your loves.
    xoxo -Debbie

  2. December 30, 2010 11:14 pm

    *sigh* awesome

  3. December 30, 2010 11:50 pm

    So beautiful. I think my resolution is the same. A constant effort, one that always has room for improvement. Also, I resolve to make some lists here and there so I don’t go nuts with all the stuff I forget. Like loving my kids for cough drop melt-downs.

  4. Kristen permalink
    December 31, 2010 12:37 am

    what a beautiful reminder of how lovely and simple life really is. thank you for this wisdom to close out my year, and hope for the new one. know that your words really do make a difference and change the world. am so thankful for you!

  5. December 31, 2010 9:58 am

    I like your new years resolution, what could be better than that…very nice.

  6. December 31, 2010 10:58 am

    So perfect. Wishing you many New Year’s Blessings.

  7. Ami permalink
    December 31, 2010 11:20 am

    So true, and eloquently written!

  8. Caraway permalink
    December 31, 2010 3:29 pm

    Thank you for the reminder, Rachel!! I love it. And that is what all of those old, wise grandmas always tell us to do, isn’t it? “Enjoy it while they’re young because it goes by so quick”.

    xo to you guys, Caraway

  9. Kelly G permalink
    December 31, 2010 3:58 pm

    Beautiful & the reminder I needed! You always make me laugh & cry at the same time:):) Hope you are all having a great trip (& back on the healthy train:)…hope the electronics are treating you right! Give my love to Ashland….
    See you all soon, safe travels!
    xo kellyG

  10. rose permalink
    December 31, 2010 5:57 pm

    This is the post that brought me to your blog early this year. A friend forwarded it to me and I have been checking in with you ever since! It’s great to read it again. We all need the reminder. Really, what more must any of us resolve to do other than to be present? Everything else will take care of itself if we can just manage this one small and impossible task. Many blessings to you in the New Year. And thanks for sharing your wonderful writing with us!

  11. December 31, 2010 9:04 pm

    oh rachel. yes yes yes. thank you. this is the ONLY thing that matters EVER. and your writing makes it all that much richer. with love, kris

  12. Katie R permalink
    January 1, 2011 10:58 pm

    I just stumbled onto your blog. Your writing answers a place in my heart. Thank you for that–and for this post, which is so timely in my own life.

  13. January 2, 2011 12:41 pm

    “I will fail at this resolution daily.” Amen.

    “But every now and then I will remember.” Double amen.

    This got me in the gut, Rachel. Thank you.

  14. January 2, 2011 3:27 pm

    Gosh, I probably have some half-dozen resolutions. Or goals, really. Plus a really long to-do list. But you’ve named the aspiration that matters most. And yes, it is the practice of a lifetime, isn’t it?

  15. January 3, 2011 6:41 am

    Well my new year resolution is to complete all incomplete works which I left mid way .
    Do You Break Or Make?
    Are you keeping your promise that you made at the beginning of the year?

  16. January 3, 2011 7:04 am

    You make me both laugh out loud (very loudly) and nod in agreement!

    I love reading your posts! And of course I say this nearly everytime I comment on your lovely blog, you are such a great writer! I just love it!


  17. January 4, 2011 2:20 pm

    Rachel, this is so lovely and something I strive for, as well. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  18. January 5, 2011 10:01 am

    Gorgeous. And I will read and relish it every year you post this. It will serve as a reminder to me as well. Being present is often wished for but rarely expressed. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that present = gift. We really need to be more cognizant and appreciative of it.

  19. January 7, 2011 11:22 pm

    brilliant. i think my resolution should be the same – or to let the laundry never make it into the drawers as much as i can stand. (it’s a sisyphus-like task anyway, and i’ve got a new baby to love on!)


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