Jerry's New Year's Resolution
A New Year's Resolution is generally hard to follow because we often think of major things that we need to change like quitting smoking or loosing lots of weight. When making a New Year's Resolution, try to think of small steps towards a common goal to make it easier to keep.
We have to make a promise.
Meredith looked at her little brother, Jerry, and smiled. “Mom wants us to make a New Year’s Resolution,” she said. “She wants us to tell them about it tonight when we celebrate New Year’s Eve. What’s yours gonna be?”
Four year old Jerry gave his eight year old sister a chocolate smile as he looked up from eating his chocolate pudding. “What’s a reso…rev…restit….whatever you said?”
“It’s a promise we make to be better somehow,” Meredith said with an unhappy sigh, “don’t you know anything?”
“Sorry,” Jerry said his smile fading away.
“Oh it’s OK, Jerry,” Meredith said trying with a smile to take away Jerry’s sadness, “I’m just teasing.”
“Not funny,” Jerry said before filling his mouth with another spoonful of chocolate pudding.
“Did you even listen to Mom when she told us?” Meredith asked pulling out a piece of paper from her school notebook. “I’m gonna start my list right now.”
“Listes,” Jerry asked, “whas that?”
“A list,” Meredith said without looking up, “you know you write things down on paper……Oh, forget it, you don’t even know how to write. Go see Mom, you’re covered in chocolate.”
Meredith returned to her list without looking up so she didn’t see Jerry’s face fall as he slowly turned and entered the kitchen through the swinging door.
“Mom,” he asked stepping up to his mother and yanking on her pants in case she didn’t hear him.
“Yes, Jerry,” she said putting down the dish she was drying. “Oh look at your face! Did you get any of that pudding into your mouth?” she added chuckling as she reached for the dish cloth to wipe his face.
“Merry said I gotta make a reso…restit…..rest-i-lushoon and she won’t tell me what it is.” He said sadly.
Do you ever have trouble finding a New Year's Resolution?
Try getting together with family or friends and making one together. That way you have people to encourage you to stay on track, and vice versa.
Do you mean resolution?” his mother asked stooping down to look him in the eyes after returning the cloth to the dishwater.
“Guess so,” he said. “What is it?”
“Well,” his mother said smiling and sitting on the floor next to him. “Come here, Jerry, and let me see if I can explain it so that you understand.” Jerry sat down in front of his mother on the floor and began tracing the patterns on the tiles. “You have to listen real hard, Jerry,” his mother added removing his hand from the tiles and placing it in his lap.
““Kay,” Jerry said, I’m lisnen.”
“Well, you see a long time ago……”
“Is this gonna be like the stories you read to me in bed?” Jerry asked brightening because he loved those stories.
“No, dear, this is a serious one, so you must listen and not interrupt, okay?”
“Kay,” Jerry said and looked into his mother’s eyes.
His eyes radiated such innocence and were so deep blue that anyone who became subjected to that intense look would sometimes find themselves lost. But Jerry’s mother had grown used to his intense look and she just smiled before beginning her story.
“You see, Jerry, a long time ago, a lot of people got together and determined how the calendar would be used and followed….”
“Caldar?” Jerry asked.
“Calendar,” his mother corrected. “Yes, the months, you remember learning about those in day care?”
Time out again? But I just got out of it!
“You mean Janrary, Febrary, and March?” and he got up and began marching around the kitchen counting, “one, two, three.”
“Yes, Jerry, now come and sit, please,” his mother answered.
Jerry came back and sat in front of his mother again. “I like the March month,” he said giggling.
“Okay now, Jerry, back to the story. Once they had talked about the months and such, they decided that when December…..”
“CHRISTMAS!” Jerry shouted throwing his hands in the air.
“Yes, Christmas,” his mother said smiling, “when that month was over they wanted to begin a whole new year and to celebrate that new year they decided that everyone should think about how they could be better behaved in the new year. Do you understand, Jerry?” his mother asked looking at the confused look on Jerry’s face.
“Be-have, like when you stan me in a corner?” he finally asked.
“Well, something like that, Jerry. You see grownups have to behave too, just like little ones. And each year we try to think of how we can be better.”
“So I need ta think of how I can keep outta the corner?” Jerry asked with a half smile.
“Yes, Jerry, that would be perfect. Now you go and think about what you can do to be better behaved and we’ll all talk about it tonight when we celebrate the New Year.”
She rose to her feet and returned to her cleaning. Jerry rose to his feet and sighed.
“This is’n gonna be easy,” he said to himself as he moved slowly towards the swinging kitchen door. “Merry’s gonna have so much more’n me, but I dono what I kin do.” He shook his head and shoved the doors closed behind him.
That night the entire family sat at the kitchen table eating steaming hot finger foods from the platters piled in the center of the table. Their father smiled at the gathering of three children and his wife once the grabbing had slowed to nibbles of what was left on the plates.
“It is wonderful to see you all smiling tonight,” he said. “Have we all thought about what our New Year’s Resolution will be?”
There were murmurs of assent around the table and then Jerry’s mother smiled. “I’ll begin,” she said, “I resolve to become more patient with my children.”
“That is a great one!” he said clapping and motioning for the children to clap as well.
Jerry had no idea what resolve or patient meant, but he clapped because he didn’t want anyone to yell at him.
“And I resolve,” said their father grinning at his young children, “to be a little less demanding on my family.”
“Does that mean I don’t have to mow the lawn next summer?” twelve year old Mark said grinning.
“No, it does not,” his father said grinning back.
“Thought so,” Mark said, “OK, I’m next!” he added. “I resolve to play better football so I can make my team win this year!” He sat back down beaming with pride.
“Well, Mark,” their mother said, “I suppose that is a good one,” as she looked at her husband with a grin.
“Yes Mark, that is a good one, however, I thought we were going to try to make resolutions to be better people.”
“Well doesn’t being a better player and winning make me a better person?” Mark asked losing some of his smile.
“Well, I guess it might make you a better student,” his father said absently as he tried to think of a good explanation, “but don’t you have something you can do with the family?”
“Geese,” Mark said, “who wants ta do that? Ain’t it enough I have ta live here?”
“Well,” said his mother, “perhaps we should let Mark think about his a little bit while Meredith tells us her resolution.”
“I resolve,” Meredith began proudly, “to be a better smiler, person, sister, friend, daughter, student, cheerleader, neighbor, and driver!”
“Driver?” her father said turning to look her in the eyes.
“Well, dad, I am getting on in years, and I will need to learn how to drive, so I thought….well…you know……”
“Meredith!” her mother said with shock on her face. “Young lady, you are eight years old and still trying to decide what fashion you want to wear and whether you like boys or not. Driving is way, way, way, way, way…….”
Her father interrupted, “yes Meredith, driving is in the future, but I like all of the others you came up with. Do you think you can keep them?”
“Wait, why can’t I drive? Carrie says her dad let’s her drive all the time.”
“Well, I guess that is up to Carrie’s father, but I said no. You will not drive until you have reached a more mature age,” their father said sternly. “Now, can you keep the others?”
“Course,” she said crumpling up her list, “I can do anything I put MY mind to, unlike Mark who just wants to make himself look good to the girls.”
“I do not!” Mark shouted raising a fist towards his sister. “I aughtta…..”
“Alright, that’s enough,” their mother said, “a fight is DEFINITELY not the way to start a new year.”
“That’s right,” their father added, “now Mark, have you thought of a better resolution?”
“Well, I guess I resolve to try not to fight with my stupid sister,” and he looked at his sister and stuck out his tongue.
“I guess that will do,” said his father, “if you can stick to it,” he added sternly looking at Mark for his tongue.
Silence filled the room and everyone looked at the floor, table or walls trying not to look at each other.
“What bout me?” Jerry asked suddenly breaking the silence. “Don I get ta say one?”
“Of course you do,” Jerry’s mother said gently patting his hand. “What have you come up with for a resolution, Jerry?”
“I resolve,” Jerry said puffing out his chest and trying to look important, “ta eat all my food so I can have dessert more often!”
Jerry smiled at his family and beamed as though he thought he had come up with the absolute best resolution of them all.
Silence once more filled the room and Jerry looked questioningly at his family. “What?” he finally asked, “ain it a good one?”
Jerry’s father began to chuckle real low; then he got louder and louder until he was laughing enough to shake the table. Their mother looked at him in shock and then she, too, began to chuckle. Meredith and Mark looked at one another and frowned.
Jerry looked at them all and asked, “Whas so funny?”
“Jerry, my boy,” their father said rising and picking Jerry up from his chair to give him a bear hug, “I think perhaps yours is the best of all. We all need to eat everything on our plates so we can have more desserts!”
“Well, then,” their mother said also rising, “perhaps we should have our New Year’s Eve Dessert.”
The “Yeah” that followed echoed off the walls as everyone rose to help bring in the homemade ice cream with all the fixings.
© 2012 Cheryl Simonds
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