My best holiday gift this season

Like you - most likely - my year has been good overall, with more notches in the wins column than in the losses one. That said, at times it's been a roller coaster, and I'm looking forward to the holiday break. If nothing else, the craze and demands of every day life will slow down for a few days, enabling a lot of us to take advantage of some well deserved down time. I'm more than a bit frazzled, and if you're like me, when you're in that place, you're questioning some of your choices over the past year, and thinking on what you could have done differently, and what you would change in your approach next time around. I've been doing a lot of that lately. Not a great habit, I know, but hey, we're all human, right?

So early one very recent weekday morning, as I'm trying to rally and get myself in that good place to start the day, I received my best holiday gift this season, maybe my best ever.

My little girl comes downstairs in the early morning darkness, all bedhead and puffy eyed, knowing it's time to get out of bed and start the morning routine. She comes over to me on the couch, gets into my lap, and says unprompted, out of nowhere, "I feel safe with you."

Wow.

Every bit of self doubt and second guessing of myself flowed out of me right then. No matter what else was going on at the time, whatever I was dissatisfied with in 2017, or whatever didn't turn out the way I wanted it to or expected it to over the past year, whatever I had screwed up or any shortcomings I felt I had, didn't matter in that moment.

It didn't matter because I was apparently getting enough of this parenting thing right that I made my little girl feel safe, safe with me, and motivated enough to share that with me. I didn't feed her the language; I didn't prompt her, I don't even know where she learned that phrase.

They say that the best gifts in life are free, the best gifts are the small ones, and so on, among other well-known sayings. I would add that the best gifts are unexpected, unprompted, and come out of nowhere, unfiltered, particularly the best holiday gifts.

What a great way to wrap up 2017 and motivation to start the New Year.

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