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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

My 6-Step Resolution to Live Like the Caterpillar in 2014

Jenifer DeMattia

Today is the day. It’s time to resolve. Be resolute. Make a strong and determined decision to do something differently in the New Year. The possibilities are endless. A clean slate. Let me look to my resolutions of the past; gym membership, get organized, healthier eating, better parenting, de-stress. Time to try again. But how can I make it different? Get it to actually stick. The answer occurred to me as my husband and I were scrolling through old photos on the computer.

“Oh my God”, I said. “That is an awful picture of me. Delete it now.”

“No way”, he said.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s you”, he added.

Well he was right. That was me in the picture. Maybe not the way I’d hoped to see myself, but it was definitely me. In fact, as I kept scrolling through I realized there was picture after picture of myself that I would have deleted if I had my way. It may have been my hair, or maybe my weight. Whatever the issue, I was willing to delete photos from really great experiences just because I didn’t like the way I looked in them or because they made me uncomfortable in some way. So here’s what I came up with for my New Year’s resolution. I broke it into steps for myself because I like steps when it comes to a challenge, because even if I only get through the first one, at least I can say I started something.

 

Step 1:  Pull up a chair and log onto my computer.

Step 2:  Log onto www.apple.com, or Shutterfly, or any website that allows me to make a personalized photo book and click on make a photo book. I believe Apple’s website says something like, “You’ve captured the moment. Now turn it into something special”. Ok, will do.

Step 3: Open up my photos to explore my life in pictures and choose the photos for my book. Click and drag, click and drag. I will not just be looking for the Facebook worthy ones. I’m talking about choosing pictures that depict the bad hair days. The heavier days; the pictures that I wanted to delete forever just because my physical appearance made me feel anxious or because it brought up an uncomfortable moment; mixed in with the photos I love. The day I yelled at my son for coming into the house covered in mud. My wedding day. The photo from the day we attempted to take maternity photos but I wouldn’t show them to anyone because I was uncomfortable with the weight I gained in my face.  The one where I was dancing like no one was watching, come to find out that someone was indeed watching. The old school clown makeup one. The outfit that I can’t believe I left the house in. My 3-year-old as a baby. The younger years when I went tanning so much I looked like an Oompa Loompa. The not so sober ones where my lazy eye comes back into full effect. The trip to Hershey Park, the beach. Memories from the days I never want to forget as well as the ones I do.

Step 4: Click on complete and order the book. Easy as that. My New Year’s Resolution will be delivered right to my door.

Step 5: When the book arrives, I will take it and put in on my son’s bookshelf in his room.

Step 6: As usual, the last step is the most important. I will resolve to look at it with my children once a week, or a month, or maybe every 4 months. We will talk about the pictures, reminisce, and learn from each other. And if all goes well, repeat this resolution every few years.

 

I want to frequently remind my family and myself that looking back, it’s all just funny. Good or bad it’s a piece of our puzzle. At every step of our lives we were doing the best we could with what we had and that in the end, it all ends up okay. Deleting memories so that I don’t have to feel is not the way I want to live. We all strive to be the butterfly in this life. Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the list will continue; there is pressure to be perfect. To have the perfect husband and children. It takes the pressure off when I come to terms with the fact that nothing in my life will ever be perfect because the standard for that never had a limit and never will. Perfection is truly in our hearts. I don’t look back at amazing memories and think about what I was wearing. I think about how it made me feel. So this year, I resolve to look at life through the eyes of a child. My son doesn’t care how much he weighs. Most days he has snot all over his face and his hair sticks up. He just wants to have a blast. That’s how I want to live. Minus the snot on the face part. So next time I find myself trying to be the butterfly I will remember, it is the caterpillar that my son has always found to be far more interesting.