Today is hard to do my resolution.
The sun was aggressively bright in the sky, but the air was still crisp on Friday morning. It’s my day to drop off the kids at school, and I appreciate that I’m still welcome to hold their hands as we approach the main doors. It had been a rough morning, with broken rules, tears, raised voices, disappointment, harsh words. Then Sylvie gets quiet. In a soft voice, she murmurs, “today is going to be hard to do my resolution.”
“What’s your resolution?” I ask. We hadn’t discussed New Year’s Resolutions at home. Resolutions seem to have fallen out of fashion in recent years. Instead we set intentions. Or maybe we recommit to a sankalpa, which basically is a positive, affirming resolve from the heart. But the word “resolution” has assumed of a bitter taste of things-no-one-does-anymore. So it surprised me that Sylvie had one.
“My resolution is to walk into school each day with a smile. And today, that is going to be really, really hard to do, because I’m feeling sad.”
So we paused, the familiar red bricks as our backdrop, while other students paraded through the front doors, and blinked back tears, shading our eyes from the brilliant sunshine. “That is a wonderful resolution, and I bet you make all the other kids and teachers smile when they see your beautiful smile” I respond, finding my own smile inevitable. And this makes Sylvie smile back. “You’re doing it! You’re doing it! Quick, get that sparkly smile through those doors before it runs away again!” Grinning, she bounces into the school.
I started this blog a year ago, full of intention to write all the time. A steely resolve to set aside time to click on the keys. And I did, but much, much more often, I did not. Sometimes, I imagined I would write later, and later, I was tired. Sometimes, I had nothing I thought worth sharing. Then after some time, I felt an awkward tug of doubt; I haven’t said anything in months, and the first thing I write about is going to be so trivial?
When Sylvie’s temper flares, she could battle a dragon and win every time. You wouldn’t believe it from all those sweet photos that make the Facebook album. She can be fierce. But then something quite remarkable happens, and this IS something worth sharing. She recognizes that the train has fallen off the tracks; she takes a breath and asks, “can we start over?” A six year old has discovered the art of letting a grudge go as quickly as it comes, of admitting a mistake, of apologizing (sometimes). She has taught me the grace of stepping into the next moment’s promise without putting up a fight. She holds the mirror up to show me that ‘staying mad’ is not a look I want to wear. “Yes, let’s start over.” It’s so easy, but not trivial.
Writing and sharing a few meandering thoughts is nothing compared to the resolve to start each day with a smile, and, as importantly, to own that sometimes it’s really, really hard. So here I am, beginning again.