New year, new choices

Do I mummy, take you, children, for another year?

Do I mummy, take you, children, for another year?

And another year dawns. No hangover this year. Actually I’ve already been up, played tennis and eaten a bacon & egg sarnie from the bbq (with avocado, of course). January 1st does feel surprisingly ‘new’, doesn’t it? Almost a relief, after the void between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

I’m not too keen on those few days, finding the down time too existential. I end up examining my life in detail, deciding what’s working, what’s not and what my goals are for the coming year. My brain always ends up hurting (or that could be all the wine!).

Still, it’s always nice to have some family down-time. After a few days adrift with all the extended family, I realised that the kids were voluntarily returning to me. Wanting to show me stuff, share stories and get cuddles. It’s nice, after a big busy year of being thrust together, without space, to realise how much we actually do love each other.

It makes me realise how nice choice is. So often life seems choice-less – just stuck in years of parental servitude. The big decisions were locked in years ago (how many kids, will I work, where to live etc). My choices now come in the smaller decisions I make each day. Will I try to smuggle in a bit more zucchini. Will I keep my voice lowered? Will I find 5 minutes to stop and just cuddle them? Will I play with them in the park, or just sit and check my facebook!

I suspect the ‘lack of choice’ feeling is why so many marriages fail. The Christian ‘till death do us part’ seems so lovely and committed on your wedding day, but a little more daunting a few years in. There’s a nice Wiccan tradition where each year you sit and talk honestly with your partner about if you’d like to recommit for the coming year (and a day). You decide whether you reckon you’ve got another 366 days left in the relationship. It’s amazing how when you break it down like that, usually you do. And actually you’re quite looking forward to it.

Shame that we can’t do that same two-way conversation with the kids. I suspect that mine would happily tell me to bugger off, that they’ll look after themselves. I can see their little minds dreaming of days in their pyjamas and 8 straight hours of TV.

So perhaps there isn’t really much choice – but I can still reset my thinking and prepare for another year of effort, frustration, failures, successes and love. It’s an exhausting job, being a good parent, but one that fills my heart like no-other.

I reckon I’m up for one more year.

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