I love choosing ONE WORD to narrow my focus for the year. Sheila at BookJourney.net offers a space for us to share our ONE WORDS each year. I chose ONE WORD in 2015 and 2016, but never landed on one for last year. I missed having that focus last year and was determined to find one this year. My previous words were Balance and Begin and I found them to be helpful in keeping me focused on my goals.
This year is going to be an emotional one for me. Our oldest will be graduating from high school in May and heading off to a yet-to-be-determined college in August. Our second child will start his senior year in August and the cycle will start all over again. It's already been difficult going through several "lasts" with our oldest during his senior year. Watching the boys compete and perform together has been so special for our family and knowing this will be the last time has been tough for me. They are best friends and I know they will miss each other deeply.
I've been trying to find a word that encompasses my emotions and thoughts about this coming year. Then I hugged my son and I knew what my word should be.
The word Embrace has two definitions and both are meaningful to me this year.
Embrace (verb) - to hold someone closely in one's arms, especially as a sign of affection.
(noun) - an act of holding someone closely in one's arms.
This photo above is one of my favorites. It's Patrick embracing his good friend Kam after he crowned him Homecoming King. Kam was Homecoming King last year and it was a special moment for Patrick to be crowned by him.
I have been doing a lot of embracing lately. Not just with our children, but with friends as well. There are a number of moms that I am close to that are sending off their first, last, or middle child this year. As we travel together through the "lasts", it's been comforting to know that we have each other to go through it with. I've also been embracing our children and my husband more lately. I've needed the physical contact of the embrace to center and calm me. Did you know that the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin during an embrace is six seconds? In order to encourage those mood-boosting chemicals, hold on to that loved one for at least six seconds.
Embrace (verb) - to accept or support a belief, theory, or change willingly and enthusiastically.
(noun) the act of accepting or supporting something willingly and enthusiastically.
I am embracing the idea that there will be a change in our family, in our home, in our lives. I am enthusiastic about the experience of choosing a college. I look forward to visiting him there and sending him packages after he moves in. I am excited to support him as he competes at the college level for Cross Country and Track and performs in their music program. I'm in awe of all the opportunities ahead for him and can't wait to see what he is going to be.
I'm embracing the idea of only two children in our home (for one more year) and then knowing that it will just be Pat and I and our daughter. I'm embracing the change that is to come from watching our children leave the protection of our home and begin their lives as adults. I'm embracing the idea that sooner rather than later, my focus will be less about our children and their schedule and more about me and what I want to do.
I may be a bit emotional in the next days, weeks, and months. But, I am bursting with pride over all our little family has created and the changes that are ahead for us. In Ecclesiastes 3, it states that there is a time for many things, one of them being a time to embrace. This is my time and I am going to embrace all of it that I can.
Don't fear change - embrace it.
Anthony J. D'Angelo
Life is all about embracing each moment that is given to you.
It's not complicated to embrace life.
You just have to make the choice.