There is nothing like the closing of year to get you to start thinking about new goals for yourself and your family for the new year ahead. It’s a time of reflection, looking back on the year that is passing to see what worked well and what didn’t. It’s a time to reevaluate where you are at in life, look ahead to the future and see where you want to be headed.
I have mixed feelings about setting goals for myself. Sometimes it helps to focus me. Other times, it seems overwhelming. Or I get tunnel vision, setting my mind to accomplish the task at hand trying not to deviate. When I get into tunnel vision mode, I often don’t live with a flexible mindset. I would ideally love to land somewhere in the middle, perhaps one of my other goals I have thought about for my own personal self for this coming year.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me answer the question in my stories last week, “What 2019 New Year’s resolutions have you set related to your child with Down syndrome?” I’ll be honest, I hadn’t given it a ton of thought prior to answering that question. I hadn’t even thought too much about my own goals for the coming year.
I tossed around some general themes, similar to what I did last year. In 2018, my word and theme was Thrive. Moving out of one of the hardest seasons of my entire life thus far and entering into a season of acceptance and a genuine love for my life, even if my actual circumstances were not going to change. I wanted to move from a place of survival to a place of thriving.
This year, my theme is togetherness, mostly related to my family unit. I think this past year as I moved into a space of working on my own heart, seeking to press into God even more, I started to see that I was functioning outside of the house more than inside. I think God has really impressed it in my heart that pouring into my family is the most important thing I can do in this coming year.
I am generally happy with our routine. We have settled into life with therapies and appointments, although much fewer appointments than we used to have, but it all seems to be working. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of days I just don’t want to do any of it and other days that are extremely difficult parenting days with each of my girls for any given reason. The actual routine of life is just that, routine.
Routine is good for us. I know what to expect, the girls know what to expect, etc. What I realized though at the end of this year is I was experiencing my own version of tunnel vision. There is such a time crunch in my own mind that I was beginning to focus only on goals for Bernadette and leaving little room for play.
Of course it’s important that we all work on those goals. I would love to see her walking. I can’t even begin to imagine how much fun it will be when she is running around, chasing her sisters. It makes me teary-eyed thinking of how joyous those days will be! I do know that she too, has her own timeline. No matter how hard I work on things, ultimately, she will hit that milestone when she is good and ready. I am going to do everything I can to support that.
But, I also need to relax a little bit more. Tunnel vision can be good in certain areas. It also can cause me to miss out on other areas of life.
A continuing theme in my heart has been being present. I have been exploring what that means and what that looks like in my life. I don’t often feel very present with my other girls. True confession. Looking at my theme of togetherness for this year, I can’t help but notice how much that includes being present with all members of this family unit.
When I really focus on being present, we do spend more time together, laughing, having dance parties in the kitchen, cooking together, and playing games together. When I’m not present, I know I seem distant, my head feels clouded with so many other thoughts and worries. If I take a moment to cast all my cares on the Lord and make a conscious effort to be present, it is well worth it. 100 percent of the time.
This doesn’t mean I won’t be working on things with Bernadette throughout the week or making sure she is getting the support she needs to reach her goals. I want the very best for her, just like I do for all my girls. I just want to learn how get things done but also make time for play too.
I know my girls are still young. I can see though just how quickly the past couple of years have gone already. I don’t want to wake up one day with the harsh realization they are gone off to college or onto whatever endeavors God has in store for them, and I missed it all.
So here’s to a new year, full of endless possibilities, more family time, investing in the things of life that truly matter. May God bless you in all that He has for you this year.