Did you do anything to mark Groundhog Day this year? Yeah, me neither. Wait, I take that back. We shoveled the driveway and scoffed at the prediction of an early spring. On the heels of a week filled with –25 degree weather and other unsavory records, I’m not holding my breath.
But the idea of days endlessly repeating themselves, groundhog style, has been floating through my mind lately, especially as we have unequivocally entered the phase of toddlerhood. I suppose it shouldn’t be shocking that “Again!” plays such a starring role in our days, since repetition is a child’s primary method of learning. But I still find myself surprised at my little man’s ability to never tire of his favorite things.
Novelty, it seems, is lost on small children. When Graham and I are driving in the car, we like to sing songs together (he doesn’t seem to mind that I’m perpetually off key). I try to expand our repertoire of songs, but his current obsession is “Deep and Wide”—a song I learned in Sunday school as a kid. I have no idea what hooked him on this particular tune, but he will say “No, no, no” to every other song I cycle through until I finally give in and sing “Deep and Wide,” on endless repeat.
There’s an old saying that was allegedly first said by a rabbi. To me it sounds more like something the parent of a toddler might say, but I suppose it applies whether you’re doing rabbinical things or wiping faces and bottoms forever and ever, amen: “Do not be afraid of work that has no end.”
The theme I chose for 2019 is “Be Present.” With less than two years of parenting experience under my belt, I’m already realizing how true it is that these are “the longest shortest days.” I don’t want to miss the right-now while looking ahead of me or behind me. I want to show up. I want to seize the little moments, the in-between moments, the blink-or-you’ll-miss-them moments.
Sometimes I think we look for meaning in the big events—the vacation, the holiday, the next big thing. But it turns out that most of the moments we end up treasuring most sneak up on us while we’re in the midst of doing work that seems to have no end.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, Do it again; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough. . . . It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again, to the sun; and every evening, Do it again, to the moon. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.G. K. Chesterton
How do you choose to be present in your life? What tips do you have for me in the year ahead?
Did you choose a theme for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it!