Happy Holidays Everyone!

I just love Christmas time… my kids are getting older and it’s definitely starting to change a little. There are less surprises, less time to watch the classic movies, not the same thrill as they drive by a house with lights… it’s definitely different. So what do we do as our kids grow up? It can be easy to let the melancholy of the season set it as we think about those we are missing at this time of year and how it used to be. We can easily get overwhelmed by the to do list or the dwindling bank account. We can surely forget to let the magic of the season creep in. It’s not too late! We still have today, tomorrow, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the entire week before New Year’s to think about letting the spirit of the season and the start of a new beginning lift us!

My wish for my students this year is to hold on to a little bit of this season’s magic for as long as you can. Take a mental picture of the happiest moment you have this week and cherish it. Maybe you are in a fit of laughter. Maybe it’s the way your grandma smells when you hug her. Maybe it’s that moment when you see your presents under the tree. Maybe it’s the look on your parent’s (or child’s) face when they open something special. Maybe it’s the feeling you get when you have given a thoughtful gift. Maybe it’s the taste of your favorite family food. Maybe it’s just the image of Christmas with all of your favorite people coming together. Maybe it’s the countdown on New Year’s Eve and the hope of a new year! If you focus on it (and this is something we can really work on with our kids) you can actually capture that moment. You can go back to it when  you need it, on a sad or tired day, take out that mental image and live it all over again!

Now, this is very different than a photo. You can’t focus on a feeling or emotion while you are trying to create the perfect selfie! So put the Iphone down and just focus on capturing the moment in your heart…not on your phone… Mental snapshots are a wonderful tool for feeling good and living in the moment. I am looking forward to taking lots of them!

My mental snapshot album contains wonderful mental images of my children falling asleep in my arms, giggling like crazy during tickle fights, standing in the wings with my son during his first show, laughing and singing with my son during choir rehearsal, playing family games, making snowmen, that time when my son truly thought his snowman would talk like Frosty, holding hands walking down the beach, dancing with my husband on our wedding day, the first time I saw the red mountains of Sedona. Moments when I make a conscious decision to take a mental snapshot and DO NOT forget this moment. No actual picture to remember it by, just my mental snapshot.

Tonight, even though they will be begging for playdates, I will force my 10 and 12 year old sons into the car for a drive to look at lights. I will struggle to get them to leave their phones in the house as we go. I too will struggle to leave mine. We will argue, we will probably yell. But somewhere along the line I will take a deep breath and let the moment sink in. I will pack some cookies and hot cocoa and we will take a minute to kick off this Christmas break together. Because the moments are fleeting, I know that. Somewhere, I am hoping, there will be a moment of clarity and the mental snapshot will happen. I am looking forward to it.

I watch so many students graduate away and move off to college. I watch their relationships with their families change. I watch them become successful and find their way. My heart is full for them…and it also breaks a little knowing that soon enough, that will be me. So I am soaking in any snuggle, hug, laughter, and holiday spirit filled moment I can get.

So my New  Year’s wish for my students is to create the best mental snapshot album ever…start it…add to it… but don’t finish it – you have a LIFETIME of snapshots to come! Find the moments and cherish them. They pass. This season is full of magic and maybe if we can just take a moment to focus on that magic, we can relive it all year long!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!  xo – Teri

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