This evening, while what little of the sun was setting, left behind was a deep blue snowy backdrop. My daughter who spent a good part of the afternoon playing with her new Christmas make-up came bounding down the stairs requesting the impromptu photo shoot. Eager to show how her new eyeliner wouldn’t smudge, she suggested a shoot outdoors. “Quickly”, I said, “Run upstairs and make yourself look like a fairy, we have less than 10 minutes til there’s no light left.” I thought to myself as she came down in her purple dress, "Finally someone as nuts as me!" We hastily made our way to the pond down the hill. Within minutes she stood barefoot letting the snow fall on her hair. Within minutes, my hands hurt and her feet were frozen, but not before I was able to shoot off 15 frames of my most favorite snow fairy.
Christmas has a way of knocking the wind out of your sails. We spend weeks, if not months trying to navigate the tempest waters of giant shopping malls looking for the perfect gift. As you wrap the gift, you wonder if you'll be spot on, or if you have just sank the ship. For what seems like a short window of time in our kids' lives, parents have the ability to equip them with dream-makers. We have the ability to plant a seed in our kids' minds. We are the facilitators of their success. Then, the job comes upon themselves to make their own dreams come true. Every good dreamer needs a starter kit, and that's what a gift should be all about.
Kate's dream-maker kit started in Best Buy. I walked down the aisle expecting to gaze upon some techie toy when I stopped in my tracks to see a Gibson starter-guitar. Could this be my girl's dream-maker? Perhaps this instrument had the potential to bring my inward-looking girl out for the world to see. It hadn't come to me until now that the girl who sings all day needed an instrument to accompany her sweet voice. Without any research I plunked down $100 bucks for her first dream-maker and had no regrets. Since Christmas, she hasn't put down her dream-maker. Youtube would become her first teacher, helping her find her first chords. It's still too early to see where this will go, but the seed seems to have sprouted into a seedling.
Peter's situation is somewhat different. He had already received his first dream-maker when he was only 8 . I picked up a used child's racing bike on consignment. Since he couldn't reach the handle bars, he looked at it for more than a year as it hung from the rafters of the garage. Every month or so he would pull it down to see if he could reach the shifters. Finally two summers ago, his world changed as he could finally ride the machine. Jump ahead 2 years, his dream-maker was already a seedling. While browsing Newington Bike Shop in mid-November, I would spot his "phase 2" dream-maker. Once again he is reaching for those shifters, wondering of his own potential. My husband recalls how as a child, he received his own dream-maker when he was around 10. On Christmas morning, he came upon an Alden rowing shell that stretched across his living-room. Eventually he would fulfill his dreams and become a champion rower ( and because of the sport he would meet his dream-maker wife (ha ha!) ).
Nothing seems more important in parenting than seeing our own children's real potential. While we cant ensure our kids' dream-makers will see them through, the least we can do is believe that it's possible. Every dream has to start somewhere.
So this is Christmas and what have you done….
I have adoringly watched my baby girl grow into a beautiful young woman, more compelling every day.
I have watched my husband in awe as he shows me that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and work hard.
I have smiled as I watch my growing boy who has more energy and zeal for life than anyone else I know.
I have come to appreciate the community I live in as a place with endless possibility and goodness.
I have come to appreciate true friendships and feel forever grateful to those who help make every day a good one.
I have happily clicked the shutter over 40,000 times this year, each creating a memory I wont soon forget.
Another year over…and a new one just begun…
So Happy Christmas, I hope you have fun!
What makes life so interesting is that were not all afforded the same game plan. While one may be working third shrift, another may be lounging on vacation. While one may be in good health, another may not be well. One may feel like the possibilities reach forever, while another feels like a door has been closed. Despite the juxtaposition of life's scenarios, Christmas is a time to embrace whatever the moment has in store for you. The spirit of the holiday brings clarity despite how busy we all are. No matter what the hand we are dealt, there is something about this season that makes us feel fortunate; each and every one of us. So look in the mirror; look beyond the issues that muddle our lives and accept life as it has been handed to us. Lock hands with the people around you and it's easier to accept it together. May your spirit always be bright.
In May, I received this plant from a teacher friend. It bloomed beautifully throughout the summer laden heavily with bright pink blooms. But come September, it started to falter. It had peaked. Throughout life, we all have our peaks and plateaus. Just last night I watched my kids do their homework at the kitchen table. Kate was truly at a peak having been called out during class as an example of how to write a paper. Peter had a tougher day struggling with decimals. I told him to look at it like getting a flat tire that he would have to fix if he wanted to get to his destination. Sometimes to reach our peak we need some help from the people around us. Over the past two months, I watched my husband bring this plant back to life. He cut it back to its base and patiently nurtured it with water and lots of sunlight. He watched it grow taller and begin to bud. I would venture to say that he was cheering it on somehow. Because of him, this geranium has peaked again and once again we can see its colorful blooms. Help someone peak and the reward is yours.
I spend a lot of time on a computer, “working”. You can also call it editing, tinkering, writing, surfing, or procrastinating. In his best crotchety Archie Bunker impression, my husband often calls from another room, “Are you on that computer again?” I try to make it look like my time spent on the computer is vitally important to our existence even if Facebook is always running in the background. My technological other half seems to have become so indispensable, that chores like cleaning, cooking and laundry often pale in importance. There must be someone out there who will save the day when the dust bunnies grow larger than the Easter bunny. Who will be my anti-bacterial, elbow greased-superhero? While editing today, I heard a knock on the office door. From the other side, my husband pops his head in and cheerfully sings, “housekeeping”. Dressed in his running clothes and armed with a shop-vac, I couldn't help but laugh at this vision. He does it all, even without the red cape (yet he still wears the tights). He has a crazy demanding job, he covers more terrain powered by his body than most cars do, and he CLEANS! So let me raise this bottle of Windex and toast to the one guy who can really do it all. Thank you Mr. Clean! PS.. After you have saved the day in this house, I hear the floors of the Justice League could use some cleaning.