Check all the windows

I was in Milwaukee last week with my daughters, three and six years old, and it snowed overnight. Not a lot, but enough to blanket everything in sparkling white. The girls woke up, pulled back the curtain on the window in the bedroom where they were sleeping, and screamed, “SNOW, MOMMA, SNOW!”

I delighted in their delight—the real payoff of parenting. But then something odd happened. The girls moved to the next room of their grandparents’ house and said, “Let’s look and see if it snowed outside of this window, too!”

It had, my friends. And the next…and the next…and the next. They verified it all in squealing astonishment.

You might argue that my kids aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer or deprived California kids. I choose to see their approach as the perfect metaphor for a new year. Have new eyes. Take nothing for granted. Prepare to be surprised.

It’s a time of new year’s resolutions and goal-setting and gym-going and all that. But what if, instead of doing something new, you just did the thing you always do with childlike curiosity and a small measure of delight?

That’s my new year wish for you — not the extraordinary, but the exuberant. Check all the windows. Taste all the bites. Feel all the hugs. When you can slow down, do it. This is life, all around you, already happening, waiting to be noticed and squealed about. It can be terrible. But it can be wonderful, too. Don’t get so effective that you forget to notice.

Feeling this even more powerfully given the news that a true inspiration for me, and a new friend, Courtney Everts Mykytyn died suddenly early this week. She was a truly visionary woman. I hope to write more about her in the coming days, but please check out her powerful podcast in the meantime. And hold your people close.

And I wrote this in an attempt to flip the script on the incessant headlines about unaccompanied minors at the border. I asked: who is helping those who want to stay in their home countries stay? And how are they doing it? The answers were inspiring.