My birthday falls right around Christmas, so the month of December is full of merriment for the holidays and contemplative reflection on the past year as I anticipate the one to come. I've been thinking about things that have gone well and things I'd like to change. New traditions to start as we begin 2016 as a family of FOUR.
I've been pondering those intangible gifts. The ones that I want to extend to my family and friends that will last far longer than the latest clothing trend or my toddler's five-minute attention span. This coming year I would like to extend the gift of understanding. I want to spend my moments showing understanding as I give others the space to be themselves and do things differently from me. I've realized that for me, one of the most tangible expressions of understanding is waiting.
Waiting to remind my toddler that she needs to eat her vegetables as she relocates said vegetables to six different locations on her plate. Because her discovery and wonder at lunch are probably a lot more beneficial then my nagging reminders for efficiency.
Waiting to encourage that same toddler to clean up her mess and instead letting her enjoy those wild moments of creativity and imagination where she "fixes" the tomato-paste firetruck with twelve gadgets retrieved from the kitchen drawer.
Waiting to give my newborn a chance to roll over and grab that toy before I automatically rush in to help at her first cries of frustration. Because babies need our trust just as much as we need theirs.
Waiting to make an assumption about my husband's hurried tone and inviting understanding and grace instead of whispers of inaccurate intent.
One of my greatest desires for my daughters is that they would know that they are deeply loved and valued for who they are. When we understand our worth, we can extend that same understanding and value to those around us. So here's to an upcoming year full of understanding. And patience too. Lots of patience.
I hope you have a joyful Christmas and a hopeful start to 2016!