New Year’s Eve Guest Columnist Francesca Lunzer Kritz: Skip Chocolate Cake, Fret Less, See Degas Exhibit

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Francesca Lunzer Kritz is the lead writer for NewPublicHealth.org, the public health blog of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She lives in Silver Spring, Md, and is the mother of Dina, 19 and Matthew, 16, who have brought new shine to words such as joy, delight and pride. She occasionally sees her husband of 22 years, who is currently posted in Jerusalem working on the Middle East peace initiative. 

Dear Dina and Matthew,

Now that Matt is leaving home for college in just 32 weeks — your room isn’t rented out, Matt, so if my count is off, feel free to stay longer — I’ve begun thinking about what I’ve done right and wrong in my parenting over these exquisite 19 years and have made some resolutions for 2012.  

I’m going to lose some weight. I would like to be healthy enough and live long enough to see you enjoy your children in your homes as much as I have enjoyed mine. Chocolate cake is not better than that privilege (even though some days it seems as though it is).

Once Matthew heads to Jerusalem for his gap study year in the fall, I will stop asking him, and have stopped asking Dina, to always let me know your whereabouts. That epiphany is a result of Dina’s phone going on the fritz en route to campus a few months ago and me losing some hair over wondering where she was. Go with G-d, take sensible precautions and charge your phone because that’s a reasonable practice, not because Mom might be trying to plot your every move.

I’m going to start a savings account. Even with one college tuition (and soon two), shifting some coffees and cabs will put a few dollars into an account. Besides, it’s a good example to set and helps create a cushion for all our futures.

I am going to stay on top of taking photos of all of us, and then printing and framing them. You are both beautiful, inside and out, and I want to catalogue your fun and your accomplishments, too.

I’m going to see the Degas ballet exhibit at the Phillips collection. It’s near my office and that will be the first step toward realizing the fun things I can do with my empty nesting time and not just focus on how much I will miss the two of you come August.

At night before I go to sleep I will take a minute to marvel at the trust G-d put in me to have allowed me to raise the two of you.

P.S. – Tomorrow see New Year’s Eve guest column from Seth Levin.

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