2016 My Year to Love Me …and My Family

The 12,000-pound ball descended over Times Square. Millions of people kissed and sang Auld Lang Syne to kick off a new year, with a new set of days, 366 this year, to test our New Year’s resolutions. 

My resolution for the New Year – I’m going to love me. No, I’m not having self-esteem issues. I like myself, even though my pants are getting tighter, my posture isn’t as straight, and flecks of silver are mixing in with my remaining brown hairs.

“If my girls are happy, I’m happy.” I say this all the time, as taking care of my wife, Mattie, my tween daughter, Jessie, and our dog, Sadie, gives me joy. Of course, I’m responsible for my happiness, too … and for taking care of myself. 

Opening up

A few days ago, I took time to go to the doctor. For the past several months, I’ve woken up with a plugged ear. Usually, it opens up quickly, so I’ve tolerated it. Who has time to go to the doctor? I have a wife, daughter, and dog to care for, while trying to squeeze in a writing career.

Apparently, some wax had built up in my left ear. The nurse sprayed warm water into it as I held a plastic container to catch the water and ear wax that flushed out. 

As I drove home from my ear tune-up, my mind raced with thoughts. With my wax-free ears, I wouldn’t need to tell Mattie or Jessie to “please turn up the TV” as often. Yet, maybe, due to Jessie talking excessively, which happens on occasion, and Sadie barking loudly, which happens frequently, I might miss my ear wax. I felt confident that I’d still have “selective hearing” (it’s a husband thing). But mostly, I thought, “Wow, why didn’t I go to the doctor sooner?” 

I pondered other things I should have done sooner. Before I reached my driveway, I calculated that it had been five months since I played tennis, my outlet for stress and a favorite form of exercise. And yes, more comfort foods have snuck into my diet, not just “Two Donut Thursdays.” 

If I’m going to be around to see, enjoy, and be part of my family’s happiness, I need to take better care of me. I need to love me, so I can continue to love others. Sometimes I’ll need to say “No,” not only to ice cream and donuts, but also to demands on my time. I must also get more sleep, as I’ve been sacrificing zzz’s in my attempt to steal extra minutes from my nights to pad my days. 

Resolved for a new year

On my list of New Year’s resolutions: Adequate sleep – 7 hours instead of 6 or less. Exercise – tennis once a week. I’ll schedule my annual physical. Appropriate choices from the basic food groups (but I can’t give up “Two donut Thursdays” or ice cream as a bedtime snack). Okay, I didn’t say I’d meet all my resolutions. But I’m going to try to do better, because I love me and I love my family. A gym I drive by daily has a sign out front that says “Strive for progress, not perfection.”

With the ball perched over Times Square, I walked into Jessie’s bedroom and kissed my sleeping angel on the forehead. Mattie and I watched the celebration in New York from bed as we waited for the ball to descend. At midnight, I kissed Mattie and listened to Auld Lang Syne with my wax-free ears. Then gave thanks for another year to be there for my family. 

Until next month, remember to cherish the moments.  Happy New Year!

Patrick Hempfing had a 20-year professional career in banking, accounting, and auditing before he became a father at age 44
He is now a full-time husband, stay-at-home dad, and writer
Follow Patrick at facebook.com/patricklhempfing and on Twitter