Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Take on New Year's

     A super-speeded up balloon drop, noisemakers, crowns made of Happy New Year’s garland, international music, dancing, French toast, sausage biscuits, and sparkling grape juice were all elements of our New Year’s party yesterday afternoon. The kids had fun and, truth be told, so did the adults present.
     None of the kids moped around talking about what a rough year it had been or making promises to lose weight, gain muscle, finish that project at home, or exercise more in 2011. Their conversation was light and often amusing. I couldn’t resist jotting down a few of the comments I overheard come out of the mouths of babes:
“Did Mickey Mouse see you while you were at Disney World?”
“Do you remember Snow White and the elves?”

“What is a rock and rubble throwing giant?”

     There have been a number of events, people, and places that have brought memories of the past back to me in recent months. Just yesterday I ran into the mom of two kids I used to babysit when I was in high school. They were three and five at the time I began taking care of them, and now one’s a sophomore at Elon and the other has accepted a scholarship to play lacrosse at Villanova starting next fall. Wow, tempus really does fugit sometimes! It was funny seeing recent pictures of the two of them and being able to recognize their personalities and expressions from glimmers I’d seen of them many years ago. I think it’s fun that I remember the days when they loved Peter Pan, dressing up, and dancing on their playroom stage to music by the Spice Girls.
     Children of all ages have continued to be a tremendous source of joy in my life. The snow that’s forever a source of wonder and excitement for the kids at school reminded me of the importance of looking at the daily grind sort of things in a new light. Teaching Nature Camp in the summer and Nature Club during the school year has provided me with some neat opportunities to get a child’s view of our campus.
     French Camp and Club have reminded me how easily I can slip into French Immersion if given the right circumstances, some music, food, and artwork. It’s a blast to see how much kids learn in a short time, especially when singing and dancing are involved!
     I’ve been very impressed by some of the poems, songs, and stories written by students in my Creative Writing Camp and Club. Illustrations and open-ended questions, listening to a variety of poetry, and talking about what makes a good story has been rejuvenating when I’ve gotten to play editor and character interrogator.
     Not all of my memorable experiences of kids have taken place at work. Fortunately, there are lots of little people in our lives.
     We went to the hospital to see the latest addition to the Baab family this past February. It’s been fun watching her grow and develop over the past ten months. Kevin and I have loved being welcomed into the family festivities for many reasons. An adorable little cutie who I get to babysit sometimes is (of course) one of the wonderful blessings. Watching her from time to time has brought back tons of memories from when I was taking care of two little girls while in college as well as fond recollections from my years nannying my two favorite little guys. Kids are so amazing, precious, and hilarious!
     Meeting my three adorable second cousins for the first time eased a bit of the sorrow when we went to my aunt Florence’s funeral in October. I’d shared pictures and videos of them with my dad during the last few years of his life. They always cracked him up!
     Babysitting for a co-worker’s children turned out to be a really nice treat. I got to spend a day with each of them and thoroughly enjoyed their enthusiasm, intelligence, athletic interests, and faith inclinations. Hanging out with her nine year old daughter and making jewelry, I was reminded of how much I loved the hobby. I ended up making many of my Christmas presents after being inspired by our half-day jewelry making fest.
     I know this year will be much different for me if I focus on the joy of the Lord, as is often expressed through His Children of all ages. Though it’s usually very easy for me to see how lovable others are, I take comfort in knowing it’s that easy for the Lord to find me lovable. I would like to become better at accepting the Lord’s love, so I can, in turn, be a better vessel of such unconditional love, compassion, peace, and joy for others. I believe that New Year’s Resolution is likely in line with God’s will for me this year and each one.
     I pray that this year will be filled to overflowing with abundant blessings for you, me, and all of our loved ones! Happy New Year!
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