Top priorities

I was standing in my kitchen on a Saturday with 1,000 things to do and just a few hours to go before I had to leave on a three-day trip. 

I was feeling overwhelmed, torn as always, about what to choose and what to let fall way.

I had a head full of things I wanted to do, things I had to do and things I dreamed of doing — and they all felt equally important. 

When I’m in this state, no amount of list-making or Post-It notes can help me because those things can’t give me what I truly want — which is more time, and to do it all.

I imagine many parents walk around in this state of mind virtually all the time. I know I do.

But on this day, I was feeling it acutely — and for the umpteenth time. It felt like real anxiety, and I’d had enough. I finally stopped myself from fretting and just said, out loud: “OK, stop. What really matters?”

And in that moment, I realized the answer was my people — my relationships. What on my list had to do with caring for my son, my friends and my family?

That was my list. The end. Those things.

What fell away? Oh, EVERYTHING else. Yes, I’ll try to get to the rest, if not most of it, eventually, bit by bit. But stopping to really think like that put my priorities in place. 

In this issue, you’re going to find a lot of articles about cool things you can do — including oodles of inspiring green-living practices, super-fun family outings and even a life-changing soup recipe. 

But if you’re going to add anything to your already-full to-do list, I’d ask you to read the two most human-centered stories in this issue. 

One is about how to help when someone you know is grieving. It’s written by a local mother who lost her husband last year. It may help you someday, maybe even during the holidays, which are tough times for people dealing with grief, which doesn’t go away. 

The second one is a story about one family’s life after divorce; God knows, the holidays aren’t easy for families going through divorce. But this family (pictured) — which involves a dad, a mom, a stepmom and five kids from three relationships — will warm your heart. I promise.

The mothers in the story do something special — something that becomes incredibly hard to do when it comes to divorce: Despite being wounded, heartbroken, vulnerable and raw, they put their egos aside and worked to truly put their kids first, to not suck them into conflict, which is too easy to do after a separation. 

They got their minds right and their priorities straight. And now they’ve written a book to tell the tale of their 13-year co-parenting run from their different perspectives. 

As we enter this season of gifts and giving, that type of human kindness and love is truly something to celebrate.