Hello, New Year.

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The year has started somewhat quietly for our family. We continue to maintain some kind of happy status quo with our health - which means we visit the doc, but we don’t stay over. Em and Soph have been down the NY hills a few times with skis and snowboard alongside Ralph, thanks to some crazy early snowfalls.

I suppose I could try to wax eloquence and create some wonderful resolutions for 2018.

I’m resolving to resolve later.

For now, I’m reading You are Not So Smart by David McRaney (https://youarenotsosmart.com/) - thanks, Keith Dow, for the suggestion.

The website refers to the book as a celebration of self delusion (!). I’ve yet to finish the book (or the website), but it has already made me wonder... So far, I’ve landed on three things:

The ideal: More than half of our new year’s resolutions will be about weight loss, diet and exercise.  What does that say about how we see ourselves - and what we believe to be ideal or normal?  How does our vision of the ideal shape how we see others - and how we treat others?

What we measure counts; what we snap (photograph) matters: It’s tempting to get pulled into the current of newsfeeds and post pictures of our food, family and fun every day. Like that old saying- if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?...

If we don’t take a picture, did it really happen?!

I think it goes without writing (but I’m writing it) that photos in our social media quickly influence our concept of the ideal (and our friends), both consciously and subconsciously. I didn’t realize how many things and trips and events I was missing until I joined Facebook.

You are enough: I’m sorry if you’ve already written this on a post-it and stuck it on your bathroom mirror. I’m not suggesting you take it down. I'm not referring to never measuring up; I'm wondering about how you are not enough on your own. You see, we need each other.

As much as more money or more stuff or self-help might seem to fix a lot of our problems, our perspective on said problems changes when we can (or get to) share the load. Crappy things happen every day to a lot of people.  Truth: We are able to engineer resilience through connections - which inspires hope.  And I’m not talking about adding more Facebook friends; this is about finding or being one of a few people that knows when to just be and when to bring a lasagna.  Do you have a kvetching circle? Can you be in someone’s kvetching circle?

This year, among many things, there is a provincial election. As a mom to four kids, two neurotypical teenagers and two complex care kids, I am watching to see what attention is given in the election platforms to our kids. Equity in services for paediatric rehab and mental health services is important to me.

I know the government cannot successfully create a you-must-care-about-others mandate, but it can create policies that empower and influence communities to care about kids and families, however they grow and wherever they go. More on that another time. 

So,

Whether you are growing older, slimmer, wider, taller, or wiser, let’s resolve:  To say tell me more instead of I know how you feel. To say help me understand instead of the same happened to my great-aunt Martha. To say can we talk? instead of clicking *sad face emoji*.

My hope for 2018? That we don’t let the ideal distract us from accepting what is real. That our new yet-to-be-experienced memories outnumber our Facebook and Instagram photos. That we work harder to connect with each other, seeking out those on the periphery of “normal” - and find common ground to stand on. I appreciate Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ words, “It’s the people not like us who make us grow.”

Last week, we tried a family picture. We actually took 30 with the self-timer -and yes, the number of photos outnumbers the number of minutes we thought this was fun to do.  What you see is about as good as we could get it. We had a tough time trying to get Luna to cooperate, and Rachel was as impressed as..well, she wasn’t impressed.

But, it’s us. And here’s to another year.

peace - to you and yours, spot


Because I forgot to say it last week: Merry Christmas.