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Resolving to take time

Charla Belinski
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Time. It’s in short supply for busy parents and in abundance for jaded kids. It creeps by for the young, but there’s never enough of it for the old. Some of us can’t afford it and others have too much of it on our hands. As another year passes, the next one sits ready to shoot out of the gate faster than a teenager can reach for the car keys. Like notches on the door jamb that mark our children’s growth, we measure time with a mixture of grief and relief. But no measurement is as clear-cut as Father Time himself: the New Year.I dislike New Year’s resolutions because I’d rather adjust and alter life along the way than make big proclamations of change once a year. But, as we mark another year gone by, I can’t help but notice my children inching closer to the edge of the nest. With that in mind, I resolve to make the following changes around my house – before it’s too late:I will snuggle more at bedtime instead of rushing off to have some “alone time.”I will rub more backs and massage more feet.I will bless the mess.I will encourage more creativity in the kitchen and more science experiments in the backyard.I will use the serving dishes handmade in clay class even though they don’t match the china.I will let my kids set the table for guests (and not rearrange it ‘just so.’)I will hang the snowflakes made of lace doilies and the marshmallow and toothpick ornaments.I will say “yes” more often – and mean it.I will let my daughter sit on my lap while I type. Especially if it makes her giggle.I will let my son hug me around the belly, not because he likes how “cushy” it is, but because that’s exactly where he fits.I will play more games and read more books.I will play Barbies and teacher and workers, even if what I really want is a quiet moment with a cup of tea. Don’t misunderstand me – it’s not that I’ve ever missed a play or dance recital or science presentation. I’ve been to every game and chaperoned my share of movies and sleepovers. But if we are really going to measure this “time” thing, then I have to acknowledge some things I’d rather not: We have only six summer vacations left before our oldest starts college. There are only six more opportunities to trim the tree and bake Christmas cookies before our family splinters off; and we may have already seen the last of our daughter’s short-lived ice skating career or our middle son’s performances of the Nutcracker. We only have one more First Holy Communion to celebrate, one more fourth-grade play, maybe eight more New Year’s Eve parties to plan (and only then if they’ll actually be seen with us).I’m not saying we have to cherish every night of geometry homework and smile at every belching contest that takes place at the dinner table. But, then again – why not? Charla Belinski’s column appears every other Sunday in the Post Independent. If you have some time, contact her at Belinskis@comcast.net.


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