It’s December, and the holiday season is now in full swing. No matter your religion, you can’t help but get swept up in the warmth of freshly kindled fireplaces and people’s smiles. The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on what you have and then look forward to how you can improve in the new year. I just returned from a 2-week sabbatical by the sea where I reflected upon the years, new and old, as I prepared for the days to grow darker earlier. I do not dread the weaning light; instead, I welcome it. I await the winter solstice with eager anticipation as it brings with it the smells of damp earth, fresh oranges, ginger, and of course, plenty of cinnamon. I can already see the circles of friends gathering under shinning stars or warm, flickering candle light to tell stories of the past year and hopes for the future one. As you reflect and connect to your deeper self, allow those who you have found at your side to join you on your journey of self-examination. Together you can wait for the returning light and the new refreshing energy it brings. How will this new year look different from the last, and how will it be a continuation of the past? I want to encourage you this holiday season to slow down and connect with yourself, your friends, and your family in novel and refreshing ways. Start a new tradition or dig a little deeper into the history of an old one. MONTHLY MOMENTS Bettina’s –Bettina Neumann
WelcomeHome! N avigating W inter B reak W ith Y our C ollege K id
Thanksgiving break was just a test; now you have a whole month with your college kid! It’s exciting when your child returns home for winter break, but you have to be prepared. This isn’t the same teen you dropped off this summer. They’ve had new experiences, been thrown into awkward situations, and fended for themselves for months. One thing will never change, though: They will always be your kid. They’re the same person who grew up causing a ruckus in your home, teasing their younger siblings, and laughing their way through plenty of family memories. If you’re worried about your college-aged kiddo returning home, remember these tips for a stress-free winter break. ‘MOM, I’M AN ADULT NOW…WHAT’S FOR DINNER?’ Thanksgiving break wasn’t enough time for you to experience the intricacies of a relationship with your newly independent kid. When they come home this winter, they may push against any rules you have in place. In contrast, they’re also going to soak up all the wonders of home that they missed, like meals, cable TV, and a familiar bed. When your kid first comes home for the month, celebrate the successful semester! Then set some guidelines. Will there be a curfew? Will they be expected to feed and clothe themselves? Is their room still theirs or is it now your home gym? Can they drink or smoke at home? Whatever works for your family is fine, but if you don’t establish some ground rules right away, you’re in for a few tumultuous weeks.
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