I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012! I don’t know about you, but I am happy to say good-bye to 2011. While it’s been an exciting year in so many ways, it certainly has had its challenges! It seems like with every joy, there has been an accompanying challenge. For instance, my oldest son got married in February, but the joy of welcoming a new daughter-in-law and grand daughter into the family was marred by my son’s deployment in August. He is currently serving in Afghanistan. I celebrated the release of Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal, with my cross-country, Route 66 trip in May, but the trip was marred by the Joplin and El Reno tornadoes and Texas, New Mexico and Arizona wild fires. I arrived back home from the trip feeling more like I was experiencing post traumatic stress, rather than the usual post vacation exhaustion!
If you have had challenges in your life this year (and who hasn’t??!!), I hope you have scooped up the little ones in your life and have reassured them of how much you love them and that the stress you are feeling is not their fault. Children tend to think that everything is their fault. The holidays always seem to bring out the worst behaviors in young children. Their schedules are disrupted and we overstimulate them with all of the presents, candy, visitors and extended bed times. These things can cause stress for the entire family and parents may end up doing more yelling and punishing than usual. What a paradox! While we are lavishing them with toys and goodies (stuff) to show them how much we love them, we’re also yelling and screaming and even spanking! So, if you have been sending your children – your most precious gifts of all- mixed messages, please take time right now to tell them how thankful you are that they are in your life and that you love them! Take time to truly experience the joy that the smiles and giggles of a little one can bring into your life. Vow to read them a great bed time story, tuck them into bed and give them a hug and kiss every night in 2012!
May you experience many joys and fewer challenges in 2012!
Happy New Year!
Anne M. Slanina and Annie Mouse Books