The post-holiday uplift

I believe that individual acts of kindness, patience and generosity will change countless lives during 2013
By Joanne Peterson | Jan 10, 2013

I’m missing my grandchildren. I haven’t seen my daughter Lisa’s children, Adam and Abby, since Christmas Day.

It was a wonderful day of sharing in the innocence and exuberance of young children.  It’s great noisy fun to share Christmas with a nearly-four-year-old and a nearly-two-year-old.

Every time I see those two grandchildren, I am thankful I live as close to West Seattle as I do. Still, it isn’t easy to mesh our schedules, and the days since Christmas have flown by. I’ll go visit one day soon.

I haven’t seen my son Brad’s daughter Annika for over a month. It seems longer than a month since I sat in the wooden bleachers of her northern Idaho school and watched her play basketball, longer than a month since I hurried out the door to meet her school bus in the afternoons.

I’ve talked with quite a few grandparents since Christmas who’ve mentioned the let-down after the holidays, the quiet days following the departure of visiting grandkids, buckled and belted into family cars and transported from their grandparents’ homes. (“Ripped from their grandparents’ arms” comes to mind, but that does seem a bit dramatic.)

While I spent Christmas in West Seattle, Annika spent Christmas at the woodsy country home of her maternal grandparents, who live less than an hour away from Annika’s family home.

Her aunt, uncle and beloved cousins from Minnesota flew in for the family gathering.

My engineer son Brad was the only one to miss the family festivities; he said it seemed as if there were no other trains on the track that Christmas day.

In northern Idaho there was, predictably, snow that week.  There was no need to dream of a white Christmas. My favorite post-Christmas message from my daughter-in-law Debbie reported that Brad bought “his girls” new hockey sticks for Christmas!

The family already had been to Spokane to an arena there for something I think is called “Stick and Puck”—apparently an evening when men, women and children, all wearing their black hockey skates, take to the ice with their (Christmas) hockey sticks, presumably shooting pucks.

It’s a bit difficult to envision, is it not? Just as well, perhaps.

Now the holidays are over. I’m in a more positive mood than I was when the New Year began, when I felt unable most days to summon an optimistic spirit. Now I am reminding myself—and you—that there is room for optimism in every day.

There still is more good than bad in the world, life is rich with opportunity, and each of us can make a difference every day.

With grace and civility, I can smooth the way for friends, relatives, strangers, and sometimes (especially?)  people I don’t even like.

I believe that individual acts of kindness, patience and generosity will change countless lives during 2013.

I hope you believe that, too.   Happy New Year!


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