As I added the Hershey Kiss onto the last warm peanut butter blossom I realized I hadn’t asked my youngest daughter to help me bake them. It was the first time ever I had baked cookies without at least asking if she wanted to help. I realized in that moment I had subconsciously accepted that she probably didn’t want to get out of bed and away from Snapchat. It felt strangely good.
I hear so many people moan about the destruction 2016 has left behind. As if a group of days can be responsible for Prince dying or the election of a president some may deem unfit. I hear so many blaming others for the unpleasant instances in their life. I see so much criticism, anger and blame that I have found myself over the past few months in a Facebook depression. I’ve watched people criticize others for the way they mourn or don’t mourn a celebrity. I’ve witnessed people judge others for the way they utilize social media, as if there are rules for what it should mean to each of us. We’ve become a society so fixated on others’ “mistakes” because we are trying to justify the way we handle things as individuals or the reasons why our lives differ from the rest when what we really need is to merely accept our own selves.
Newton may have been talking about motion when he declared for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, but it can also be applied to decisions. Decisions are what got you to this very moment in time. Decisions are what make up every moment in our lives. They are what got you to your own piece of this world. I’ve spent 16 years fixated on the fact that my decisions cost my children a traditional family. I focused on the happy families around me and ached as I sent my kids to separate homes every weekend. I’ve broken and rebroken my family and I’ve blamed myself for over a decade. I’ve studied every angle and tried to solve an unsolvable problem because no matter what, I cannot fix this.
“I cannot fix this.”
I cannot change what has happened. I cannot change their lifestyle. I cannot change that they are slowly morphing into adults. I cannot change that a sixteen-year-old does not want to cuddle with her mother and I cannot change that an eleven-year-old soon wont want to either. I’ve realized that fear of the future has left me discontented with the present. It’s awful.
I can change that.
I can accept.
I can accept that they will be adults soon. Because accepting and liking do not have to be synonymous. I don’t have to like that 2017 will send my oldest daughter acceptance letters into colleges. But I can accept it because she has worked her butt off to get to that moment, and I am proud. I don’t have to like that shortly thereafter my dinner table will be one plate short. But I can accept it because it is the moment I have been preparing her for. And she will be fantastic.
I will accept that my house could be more spacious and there is little room for parking because I worked my butt off to save up for a down payment. I will accept that I have an unconventional family because the one I have loves the heck out of me. I will accept that my writing career hasn’t taken off because the jobs I have chosen allowed me to miss only a few childhood moments. I will accept the mistakes I have made and will stop looking back at them. I will accept that my fiancé came with his own set of flaws that has nothing to do with me. I will accept all of this and more because with acceptance comes contentment and I’ve paid my dues. And in 2017, I’ve decided I deserve contentment.
My children will in fact move out of our home and create their own. It’s what I want for them because the other option denies them growth. Besides, I look at the present day relationship I have with my mother and my sister and I know I will someday have that new kind of bond with my girls and suddenly them leaving becomes less scary.
We are often taught to accept others, yet rarely are we told to accept ourselves and without the latter the former tends to fail. 2017 will not be scary. I will not let it because this is my goal. I will make a list of things I’d like to change, work on the ones I can and accept the ones I can’t.
What will you accept in 2017?