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Starting Over

Another holiday season has come and gone yet the spirit of family remains. In addition to the benefit of being able to decompress from the daily grind, the chance to focus on connections, the ties that bind, remind us of our humanity. For so many parents, the work life balance can prove to be unbearable. Especially in times of financial strife as so many families have encountered over the past year. Still, the opportunity to loosen the shackles for even a short amount of time can be the spark that ignites hope anew. A chance to take a sinking boat and point it home.

My children, both toddlers, communicate with words and actions that discard nuance in favor of raw truth. An innocence that my wife and I cherish in an era of dissonance fueled by economic stagnation and digital information overload. “You’re a Pamper head!” uttered from an otherwise angelic little bugger can melt even the coldest of hearts. In the holiday season with family members gathered, such unfiltered honesty helps foster communication between generations. For a few fleeting moments, the scaffolding encompassing everyone’s busy lives during the year no longer seems necessary. We’re exposed, imperfections and all, as human beings.

Facing the reality of life without pretense, free of artifice, challenges us at the very core of our existence. The public persona we often work diligently to maintain in our daily lives has no place among family. Or at least it shouldn’t. Your family knows the you who was in diapers. The you who ventured in wide-eyed on the first day of school. The you who was too cool for anyone in high school. And of course, the you who now has come full circle as a parent. Life’s funny in this way. We share common experiences yet find it difficult to share them with one another. Maybe 2011 emerges as the year of personal change. Another step in the evolution of being a parent.

What was your holiday experience like with your family? Was it stress filled or an opportunity to start anew?

  • Shoebuf

    Fantastic!! My holiday experience with my kids and husband were fantastic. If there were any stressful moments they are long forgotten. I enjoyed every minute I shared with them.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your holiday experience Shoebuf. That’s wonderful you enjoyed your time with your family.

    • Mbippolito

      I’m with you Shoebuf! Our family had a FANTASTIC holiday also. I love nothing more than spending time with my kids and my husband!

  • MomOfSuperHeroes

    All family gatherings have potential to be stressful but we always make the best of our time together. It is always exciting to see the kids expressions when they open their presents. My spouse and I have hopes of working together better to be more punctual for kid and non-kid activities. But with kids that can be a stressful & difficult effort.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for writing in MomOfSuperHeroes. Young kids are routinely the x factor when it comes to keeping a schedule. What I’d suggest would be to plan ahead for unforeseen delays by prepping clothing, snacks,etc. the night before. Realize that kids will be kids and be able to adapt to the situation rather than exacerbate any scenario via stress based overreactions. And finally make an itinerary that allows for flexibility. Trying to pencil in too many activities within a small window of time is often a recipe for disaster. Keep it fun and simple. 🙂

  • UncleAnt

    Well said…from one dad to another.

  • I took 2.5 weeks off and honestly at the end I feel reconnected with my daughter and energized. Being back at work is fun, but I miss that little “Pamper head”.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your experience DCUrbanDad. Kids really do shift the paradigm in respect to our priorities in life.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks sir. Appreciate the kind words. 🙂

  • fcsfinest1

    Initially, there was a lot of anxiety associated with the Holidays. My wife & I were hosting our families for Christmas. The task of getting the house in order was difficult in and of itself, but it became a race against time with the obstruction of our 4yo & 1yo undoing all of our work. Christmas day everyone arrived and it occurred to me…nobody cared that there was a little dust on the mantle, or that there was a stray animal cracker under the couch, or even that the ham was a little overcooked. What mattered most was that we were all together as a family, something that doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should. As a relatively new parent, that’s what I hope to demonstrate to my kids as what the season is all about.

    • Anonymous

      Seems like a fantastic plan to me. Thanks for sharing fcsfinest1.

  • Our holiday experience was filled with “diaper-head” exchanges and that’s what makes family so special. Our family is small, at least the family that lives nearby. We build our own traditions and I value them. The toddler phase is past, but we still reflect on them.

    The boys often go through both old photo albums and even sometimes the videos I actually took the time to transferred to DVD.

    My younger son discovered a video of his older brother, still in diapers, when we were on a vacation in Hawaii. His mom was watching and his brother was walking around, near the pool. At one point, he had “that look” and his mom noticed it. Shortly afterward, he made a funny face, and the sound that came out was priceless. Something like “Oychich”. Well, you know what just happened.

    For my younger son, it was a moment he could use “against” his older brother FOREVER. Those are the special things family members cherish!

    Great post Vincent!