Pictureka! Hopes for 2012

I hope I touch the bottom of my mega-sized holiday peanut M&M bag. I know I won’t find happiness there, so all I can wish is that my fingers will soon touch plastic and I’ll find only tiny bits of chocolate shell remaining. At that moment, I’ll start my new-year eating regimen. Or at least soon after.

I hope to improve my Pictureka skills. I am woefully pitiful at this simple board game, where the silly task is to find newspaper hats, diamond rings, and people with crazy hairdos. A few days ago, when my son D. won the fifth round in a row, he said, “You are really bad at this,” minutes before giving up and putting the game away.

It was a miracle that we were even playing to begin with, because D. is not much of a board game aficionado now that Modern Warfare 3 was invented. I’m not much better at Modern Warfare, which he humors me by playing as well. Even when he puts me in a juggernaut suit, which makes me almost indestructible, I still lose badly.

But that’s not a negative thing, right? It’s virtuous to be unskilled at Modern Warfare 3 and games that have caused the downfall of the millennial generation. It’s might even be Zen-like to fail at them. So in 2012, I hope to study Buddhism, and practice loving-kindness. This is my strategy to counteract the times I have bonded with D. over the Xbox.

I hope to practice loving-kindness with my significant other. He’s the yin to my yang. He’s the science to my poetics. I have to remember this when I get irritated with how methodical he can be when adjusting the pellet stove or when shopping for whole-house humidifiers. It’s the scientist in him that can tell me exactly how much snow we will get or that makes perfect patterns when mowing the lawn. But he also will butter D.’s bagel every morning and make me a K-cup when we are flying out the door. His loving-kindness is sweetly engineered every day. 

I hope in 2012 our kitten Tuna tires of the stuffed mouse we put in her Christmas stocking. She throws the mouse on the pile of newspapers every morning around 4:00 am, and plays with it until we yell at her to stop her crinkling. New fact I learned that I hope to quote sometime in 2012: Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Otherwise, they pretty much sleep. What a schedule! I hope to try this out sometime in 2012 (the sleeping part, not the mouse part).

I also hope to inquire a little more and advocate a little less. Especially at work. I asked one of my direct reports recently, “So what can I do to support you, besides shut up?” I laughed as I said this, because I know I can have good advice. That’s how I became a manager. But I share that advice a little too freely sometimes, which can suck a little air out of the inspiration in the room. I want to allow the smart people around me to form their own thought bubbles. Then I can simply follow them where they go, in case they need a little backup. That’s my hope—to help hold up others—but only when they need it.

Speaking of holding up others, I hope I can nag my son D. a little less about his grades in 2012. I want to find conversation starters other than, “How’s your homework looking?”  I hope he tells me more about who wrote “AH” on his arm and why he’s texting with her all hours of the day. I hope he goes to a high school dance, that they eat potato chips and drink Mountain Dew, and that he puts his football jacket on that girl’s shoulders. I hope the DJ plays “Stairway to Heaven” as the last song.

I hope Sundays will still be spent with my dad at the Veteran’s Home, watching the Pats or the Red Sox to fill the long afternoons. My sister S. and I will faithfully change Dad’s calendar, so he always knows what month it is and when we might be coming next. I hope he still needs us to clean his eyeglasses, and that we have plenty of seed to fill his birdfeeder so the chickadees will visit his window this winter.

And I hope before long, there will be plenty of warm summer days. Those are the best days, when we’ll bring him his favorite strawberry ice cream from Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar in a cup.