Happy New Year’s Eve! We high five 2015 and conclude we’ve given this past year our best effort– we are proud of the people we love and look forward to the challenge and adventure that live just around the corner in 2016. We love the high five for a lot of reasons. Little guys learn to high five around the same time they learn to clap, even before they can walk or even use words. The high five says it all, really. The high five can say, “Hey, look at me, look at what I can do!” It can later say, “Wow, check us out, look how awesome we are.” Later still, “I am so proud of what you accomplished here- slap me some skin!” Well, maybe that was just my own dad who said that, but I digress. Even the fist bump evolved from the high five, first as a way to cut down on spreading germs by not unfolding the entire hand and slapping it.
We are also big fans of the thumbs up as seen below. As I looked for pictures to accompany this writing, I chuckled several times aloud to see just how many pictures we have of various people, young and old alike, giving the ever famous thumbs up. Last night, we assembled a rather intricate standing bar, which had been my uncle’s. This is the focus of my next blog, but I couldn’t resist Carver’s thumb’s up stamp of approval as his Uncle Greg, my brother, and our friend, Matt, collaborated to rebuild the structure we had taken down in my Uncle Gordon’s house after he passed away. No words are being exchanged here, but Carver’s thumbs up lets the men know they are on the right track.
What you want to avoid at all costs is greeting 2016 with the middle finger, which according to the Gospel of Olivia, our 8 year old friend and weekend neighbor, means that you don’t love God. Now, our little boy has been a fairly consistent middle finger user- not in the sense that he is flicking people off left and right. He actually uses his middle finger to point, to follow along in a story, oddly enough, to scroll on his tablet, and to draw attention to other things. We did not want to make a big deal out of this middle finger because we knew it was only a matter or time when someone would suggest to him that his middle finger was dangerously close to being seen as a disrespectful gesture. This occurred early in the fall on a car ride with Reverend Olivia, who believed it was time she filled him in properly with her intel on the middle finger. Olivia attends and loves her elementary school–St. Mary’s Catholic School. Some of my favorite conversations have been overheard while she is in the car with our kids, which is why we affectionately refer to her mini lectures as the Gospel of Olivia- she regularly discusses God, Jesus, the crucifixion, what the word “sin” means. These are very lively discussions, and, of course, the kids have a lot of questions. The latest being: Mom, does it really mean I don’t love God or Jesus if I stick my middle finger in the air? He will ask this and follow up with whether or not I’ve decided to let him see the newest Star Wars? Is Wolverine the super hero younger or older than me? Why is the sun always following us? And at Christmas Eve service in a loud, incredulous voice, “Mom, they really couldn’t find any place inside to have baby Jesus? That is just hard to believe.” Greta on the other hand still asks questions for clarification, but she acts more like one of Olivia’s acolytes, in repeating her explanations to her grandparents, friends, anyone who will listen. Then, who is faster- Tinker Bell or the wind?
And so for these reasons, we Krills are celebrating the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 with a boat load of high fives and thumbs up. The middle finger moments are there in our memories, but we will do our best not to dwell on them or cynically imagine there will be more in our futures. We are optimists after all. So tomorrow, on New Year’s Eve, we challenge you to pass out those high fives and thumbs up as if your hands were on fire. What kind of gesture will identify you in the year to come? The high five? The thumbs up? Certainly not, we hope, the middle finger…and if you see either of our kids with the wrong fingers pointed upward please remind them of their manners. Happy New Year!!!