Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ringing in the New Year

The alternate title for this post would be "Flexibility is my Friend."  (For those of you who have been to Africa with us, this should bring a smile to your face!)

Traditions are important to me.  Sometimes, too important.  When I find myself demanding, "WE. WILL. HAVE. FUN. DOING. THIS!!"  I know that I need to evaluate my motives.  I have several purposes for our family traditions(That is a whole other post.  I have a whole talk that I have done with groups about this subject).  When the tradition becomes something that is not enjoyable, I am realizing that I need to be willing to "tweek" them a bit for the benefit of our family.  

As my kids are getting older, some of our traditions are becoming "not cool" to them.  Some of them will remain the same for the sake of the younger children.  Hopefully, someday, the older ones will see the value in them again and do them with their children.  For the first time, this Christmas season, I faced the reality that our traditions need to begin slowly morphing to fit our aging family. 

I began with my most treasured tradition, "The Annual New Year's Eve Theme Interpretation/Dance Competition."  There were murmurings leading up to the day from various kids about not wanting to dance this year.  I have to admit, it hurt my heart a little bit.  I have so many fun memories from this time each year, and there are a few of the kids that really blossom doing this tradition.  So, I began brainstorming about how we could change it up without eliminating it.  I found a good compromise.  Lauren got "Just Dance 4" for Christmas.  So, instead of no dancing, we had a double elimination "Just Dance 4" tournament.  Everyone was happy, and it turned out to be a fun, relaxing time with laughs and no drama!  

Rick and I have never been New Year's Eve partyers, so staying home with the fam in our jammies is really a good fit for us.  I have never really felt like I am missing out by not going out on this night.  
We started our evening with some pizza 
 The Dance Competition Began
(We paired up matching aged kids together first so it would be a more even fight, and then let the double elimination bracket dictate the rest of the match ups)
Isaiah won against Laila
 Sam won against Abby
 Cody won against Lauren
 Rick won against me(I don't have a picture because I was dancing my little heart out). In the end, Cody won the title for 2012.  His victory earned him the right to open the last gift of the year later in the evening along with the thrill of victory that lasts the whole year!!

Afterwards, we did our tradition of homemade donuts(canned biscuits cooked in oil with various toppings to add - chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, etc.)
 We added bakery donuts this year for those who don't like the homemade ones.  
Abby had her own box of gluten free donuts
 Toasting to 2012, talking about our best memories and biggest challenges with our donuts and sparkling juice.  Looking forward to what God will do in 2013!!
 Cody opening the last gift of the year
(I have no idea where he got his dramatic personality ; )
 The new game for this year was:
We watched the ball drop at 10:00 MST in New York City, did a little celebrating and then sent the littles to bed.  The four big kids stayed up with us to play the game and ring in the real New Year for Colorado.

It was a good night.  I am finding this whole "kids getting older thing" is really bittersweet for me.  I miss my babies.  I miss being the one that hung the moon to them.  I miss the simpler days.  I miss being able to solve their problems fairly easily.  I miss having the final say in everything.  I miss them thinking I have a brain and some wisdom from my years of experience.  I am hoping that in 2013, I can embrace this new phase more and really glean the good in these years as my kids get older, more independent, and don't need or want me as much as they used to.  Regardless of their choices, I want to keep relationship with them through it all.  That has to be more important than me being right.  This is where the unconditional love that we have told them about all these years is really put to the test.

As the saying goes, "Flexibility is my friend.  Expectation is my enemy."  Oh, how I need these words to begin sinking in a little deeper this year.

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