• by Susan Sussman - Tue, 2011-01-04 10:21

Over the holidays I was visiting the New York mishpucha - Yiddish for "clan, kin, tribe - group of people related by blood or marriage."  In my case, the star of The Mishpucha Show is my 17 month old granson Jonah (who was 2 1/2 months premature and weighed 2 lb 9 oz at birth).  Jonah is my daughter's first child, and the first grandchild for my son-in-law George's wonderful Portugese parents. There's also a large, close extended family just around the corner, all of whom are members- in-good-standing of the Jonah Fan Club.   I hope all of this helps you understand why Jonah is so adored!

So now for the connection to the New Year.

We're all familiar with the image of the retiring Grandpa Time (representing the old year) welcoming The Baby (symbol of the new year).  Why is "The Baby" such an apt image for the New Year? And what can we learn from how we relate to babies that could be instructive in our relationship with ourselves?

Back to Jonah, who still seems like a miracle.  Like most babies, everything he does, every new thing he learns, each and every time he practices what he's working on at the moment is cause for celebration. George's large adoring family routinely shower Jonah with applause, smiles, kisses and every other type of encouragement and appreciation imaginable. And the Sussmans are no slouches either!  We all sit there together amazed and tickled-pink as Jonah practices for the 100th time pushing Thomas the Train through the tunnel!  We marvel at his patience, his energy, his enthusiasm for learning, his determination, the joy he finds in the process itself.  

We are all better for our relationship with Jonah because we have endless opportunities to exercise our love and patience; to raise our daily smile and enthusiasm quotient; to be happy (even delirious) with exactly what the moment holds, whether that's taking a step or falling down; to have the unique experience of truly appreciating the soul of the human being in front of us.

What if we could apply everything we learn from babies to ourselves?  

Like most of us, I can be hard on myself and have to admit that I generally don't treat myself the same way I treat Jonah.  What would it look like to relate to myself the same way?  How are my intentions with myself the same as or different from my intentions with Jonah? Is reparenting (or regrandparenting) ourselves a topic serious people can entertain - even with themselves?

How important is it to you to take good care of yourself? How do you start? Or how do you ramp up the effort?  How do we even define what taking good care of ourselves means?

What do you think? I would love to know.