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Finishing up the year, marking time, making plans

The year 2012 was truly a landmark for me; though I hadn't set out to start a literary magazine for parents on January 1, I'd accomplished that, and even more awesomely, I'd gotten all my three boys to school successfully. On many occasions, I went a whole six hours without having to worry about any of them a whit.  My husband started what will (we hope) be his final deployment overseas. I came up with some crazy ideas and made them happen! I won an honor for my writing! I wrote lots and lots.

When it came to marking the year, though, I felt a little lost. I've made lists and long essay-like wrap-ups in other years; I've made calendars and year-in-review letters to send to friends. But this year I've been feeling overwhelmed with all I have to do (something about this wild 2012 has been: overcommitment exploded); I've felt the regular holiday excitement, even, was more than I could manage. As usual, I had so many ideas I ended up standing in my dining room, spinning around, not knowing where to begin.

Then I saw a post from Mara on Facebook. She was doing interviews with each of her boys; audio interviews, requiring nothing but the voice memo app on her iDevice. She gave me a list of her questions, things like, "What was the best thing about 2012?" and "What are your favorite things?" and "What scares you?" I set about recording immediately.

I managed to get two of my three boys to cooperate, and while they didn't answer many of the questions -- my favorite one, "What don't adults know about being your age?" went completely un-answered -- the interviews were charming and, as Mara noted, the best part was getting a record of  their voices. I've uploaded them to my blog to keep them safe. (Truman. Monroe. Everett coming soon.) I wish I'd done this before.

Their goals for 2013 are mild; win a game, play Minecraft all day. Mine want to be mild (wash the dishes before bed each day so I wake up with a clean kitchen! Make breakfast early!) but end up being huge and intense (run 600 miles! finish a book -- two books! get to 2,000 subscriptions for the magazine!). I need to dial back a bit.

For now, it's enough to mark the year with a memory. What did you do to mark the end of the year? What have you done to make plans for the new year?

*I changed this post. Any comments on the former topic will be deleted because I do not have the bandwidth for your anonymous judgment of me.


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Love the idea of the interview. I am going to do one with both of my kids tonight. We talked about resolutions today. My seven year old wants to fight less with her brother and my 10 year old wants to do more for his community. I'm definitely starting out the year with gratitude.

cc, what fantastic resolutions! way to go, seven and ten. (and mama too.)

When we looked at the babysitting/leaving children unattended laws for our family I believe it was kids can be left alone starting at 10 but may not watch other kids until 12. This was a few years ago and maybe things have changed.

I really hope this doesn't devolve into a silly war about the legality of 10-year-olds watching younger siblings. Let's mind our own business and focus on the point of the post. My husband and I plan to settle our debts and start saving to buy land this year as well as become more active is social issues. Although our son would be content to watch '80s Hannah Barbera cartoons on a loop for the next 365 days, I hope that his fourth year is marked by enhanced independence, empathy for others, and a wider understanding of the world around him.

As for the OP - I think the recordings are a fab idea. Off to do the same!

As for goals, after I've won Mega Millions tonight, embark on my new life as millionaire playlady?

Otherwise, realistically---I'm NOT gonna focus on losing weight, being this, being that. 2012 was a great year and I want more of being happy, not worrying and liking/living my life!

Great picture!

So I loved the question too, about what do adults not understand about whatever age it is you are, and my kids' answers also were not so satisfying because, I think, they don't understand that how you see the world changes or that adults see things differently? And I think if I'd taken longer writing questions I would have tried for something like that Susan Orlean essay on the American Man at age 11 which actually captures how they see the world (what powers does the President have, how do you choose someone to marry, what do your dad and I do while you are at school?) but I also didn't want to do hour long interviews.

I was grateful I heard yours and that I could hear that the other thing the interview recorded is the voice I've heard you use with your children with all the tenderness, patience and, most of all, the genuine delight you take in them? This, to me, shines through on how lucky your boys are to have you as a mother.

Nice! I've finished the year spending time with my family.

Nice post. I have finished the year spending time with my family.

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