Mindy Gikas and her husband, Reverend Basil Gikas, live in Mahwah, New Jersey, with Justin, 13, and Lillianna,11. Mindy is a Senior Vice President of Human Resources for a firm in New York City and Father Bill is a Greek Orthodox Priest in Wyckoff, New Jersey.
Dear Justin and Lillianna,
Wow, what a year it’s been! We’ve been on a roller coaster of exhilarating ups, sinking downs, unexpected twists, and scary turns. We started the year leaving our old church and coming into a new parish. Then we dealt with Dad’s surgery, followed by the seemingly endless search for a new house, then finally got settled in a new area, and started in a new school, and made new friends, and on and on. Thank God, we’ve weathered it all. I’m truly proud of the way you’ve both managed the ride.
Last year I published my resolutions for you on this website, letterstomykids.org, in the hopes of really keeping them (http://letterstomykids.org/new-years-eve-guest-columnist-mindy-gikas-fin). Here we are a year later and I’ve had mixed results.
Lilli, last year I resolved to spend more time with you and to listen more. Though it hasn’t always been easy to find the time — we’ve been so busy juggling all the demands of daily life — we’ve grown closer this year. I’ve seen you grow up before my eyes from my little girl into an amazing young lady. You have good judgment (or so it appears). You’re also smart, motivated, beautiful and self-assured.
In the coming year, I resolve to continue to be there for you, to help you, to support you and to listen to you – even when some of what I hear about life in middle school may be scary to me (like boys, parties, etc.). I also promise I won’t mediate every argument between you and your brother, but will resolve to remain impartial — except when the screaming gets really loud and then I’m retreating to my room to let the two of you battle it out. Sorry about that!
Justin, last year I resolved to give you more space and more freedom to manage your school work and we both know that didn’t really work for either one of us. When you’re left on your own, the school work didn’t get done and mediocre to bad grades were the result. My frustration and helplessness often got the better of me and I often lost my temper (okay, there was lots of yelling and screaming) and for that, I’m sorry.
This year, my resolution is to have more patience. I’ll keep on top of you to make sure you do what needs to be done because I love you too much to let you neglect your school work, but I will do it with patience. I’m not quite sure yet what that will look like when I come home late from work only to find you haven’t done some major homework assignment due the next day, but we’ll see. I’m hoping I won’t lose my temper as often, I’ll try to keep calm, help you if you need my help, and remain firm that you need to work harder, complete homework assignments on time and study for tests. Perhaps with more patience on my part, we’ll both be less stressed out and your grades will improve as well.
Finally, your father’s and my faith in God helped guide us through this roller coaster year. We continue to keep our faith in Him as we move into a new year of new challenges and opportunities. My final resolution for both of you it that you too will keep your faith in God and allow Him to guide you always – no matter how uncool you think that might be.
Happy New Year. I love you both more than you can ever imagine.