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Welcome Back! I hope your holidays were a welcome respite from the craziness of the rest of the year. Or, if you like to keep things going at a good clip, I hope you eggnogged-gifted-skiied-partied-relatived-toasted-feasted-gingerbreaded until you could barely eek out a “Happy New Year” when the time was right.

As for me, I managed to squeeze a few parenting-related accomplishments under my expanding belt this holiday season. Some I anticipated; most I did not. Here goes:

  1. I taught my fourteen-year-old son how to binge-watch a TV series into the late hours. I’m so proud.
  1. I got a glimpse of what my ten-year-old daughter will look like when she’s sixteen via the dressy pants, blouse and shoes I bought her to wear for her fifth-grade chorus and band concerts. It was tough to find appropriate clothing that wasn’t awash in glitter, but when we finally did—wow. Who is that sophisticated kid?
  1. I decided that my goal of changing my lifestyle in several ways to be healthier overall by my next birthday wasn’t challenging enough, so I ate my way to a few extra pounds in December just to make things more interesting. Okay, so it wasn’t so much an actual decision as it was outright gluttony. Alas, the result is the same.
  1. I talked to my kids about Donald Trump. Why is this an accomplishment? Because, despite my initial pledge to myself not to speak or write about Trump, I realized that his widespread support makes it necessary to talk about him to my kids. When a narcissistic, would-be despot traffics in racism, misogyny, ignorance of our Constitution and our most basic fundamental freedoms and principles and our kids see that this behavior only gains him supporters as a result, discussion is required. Teens and tweens don’t know everything we do; it’s up to us to explain to them the dangers of scapegoating, to cite some of the many historical examples of the violence that such rhetoric can and often does incite. Our kids need to know that none of us Americans can simply stand by while a few of us are being attacked, and we can only do this by engaging them in conversation.
  1. I took a social media break. It wasn’t 100 percent, but it was substantial. As much as I love the virtual world, I closed the door on that world most of the way and focused on real-life people for a while. In particular, I spent as much time as I could with my kids during their week-long holiday break, because the speed with which they’re growing up becomes clearer to me every day. We hung out, played games, watched TV, saw Star Wars, cooked together, ate good food, I talked about life “stuff,” they sometimes listened, and we generally looked for fun where we could find it.

How about you? What did you accomplish this holiday season?

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