It’s that time of year…time to choose a word to guide my year. I’ve already selected and rejected several, testing them only to find out they were too literal or too confining, not the inspiration or guide I am looking for.
Last year I chose explore…and indeed I did explore. I looked under rocks, climbed up mountainsides, and discovered landscapes beyond my usual experiences.
The year before that I chose play for my one little word. Play reminded me to find the fun around me, to push against my seriousness and to make time for myself.
This year I am anticipating change. I will take on an important new role in my life. Very soon I will be grandma to not one, not two, but three baby boys! And I can already feel my heart expanding as our family grows. Over the last several years, I’ve been watching my sons walk the path toward fatherhood, becoming loving and attentive husbands and dog dads…and now nurturing, caring dads-to-be. My amazing daughters-in-law are big in belly and heart, one carrying identical twins, both women already imagining how they will balance motherhood and work, family and friends. I had such fun spending time with them over the holidays–talking about their dreams and fears, and watching the babies push and bump, making their presence known from the inside out. I am lucky that even when I am not with my sons and daughters-in-law, I am the recipient of updates and what were at first mysterious sonogram portraits, becoming more familiar and now revealing hints of the features of the babies that will soon enter the world outside their mothers’ bodies. As grandma, I anticipate building new relationships with my sons and daughter-in-laws…and with these little boys who are my grandsons. (I can’t wait!!! The time has passed both excruciatingly slowly and in a blink of an eye, it won’t be long now!)
And I want to continue my growth in other areas of my life as well. I am continually looking for ways to expand my understanding of teaching and learning. How do I create conditions where learning can happen–both for my students and for myself and other adults in the room? How do I facilitate learning within our writing project community–for myself and the others who comprise this inspiring group? How do I ensure there are pathways that welcome new voices and new perspectives, enriching our educational community by increasing the diversity within our community?
I also want to continue to play and explore the world on my own terms. My photography continues to be a tool that encourages me to try new things and expand my visions of what is possible. We already have some places to explore on our wish list…as nearby as Yosemite and some international destinations as well.
And so, my one little word this year is expand. I hope to expand my heart and mind, my understanding and empathy. I am striving for an expansive year of growth, of love, of adventure, of relationships (and not of my waistline!).