Just as Kayla and Hannah are mastering the skill of balance, it’s getting harder and harder for me. In the past few weeks, they’ve learned how to sit without help. They’re learning when to push and pull, when to shift their weight at just the right time so they don’t fall backwards, forward, or side to side. They love being able to experience their world from an upright position! I love these beautiful girls so much that I want to hold them all the time, cradle them throughout their days, caress them as they fall asleep. But just as much as I want them to know how much they’re loved, I want them to be happy and healthy girls. To ensure they have the independence to fall asleep on their own and eventually do all of the things life demands without my help, I have to restrain myself just the right amount. I can shower them with love, but I also have to let them be alone sometimes. I can show them how to do new things, but I have to let them try and fail on their own. Just as the girls are learning their first lessons of balance, I’m also learning. This Christmas, it’s not easy to restrain myself from buying every toy the girls might like. I want to give them everything, but I know that it’s impossible to appreciate the value of things when you have it all. I want our girls to appreciate what they have, to know how lucky they are to have a loving family, a nice house, and all the clothes, toys, and food they need. But it’s difficult to provide everything they want and also appreciation for it all. It’s a delicate balance. The only way I can think of to accomplish this seemingly impossible task is to hold back now, invest in their future, and expose them to families without enough. Instead of giving them all the fancy toys, clothes – and eventually cars – they want, we’ll put that money away for later. Once they’ve grown up with everything that they need, when they’re on their own they can have everything that we can give. We’ll ensure they get a proper education and the promise of an easier life. But as soon as possible, I want them to feel what it’s like to help children who aren’t as lucky as they are. Perhaps every Christmas, our family can adopt another family – one in need – and spend some time shopping for other boys and girls who won’t have as much under their tree. Perhaps we can spend some time volunteering every spring to help Harvester’s wash the 11 eggs in the carton with the broken one or sort food on its way to children who don’t have enough to eat. So, I’m learning all about balance. I’m learning not to buy them every toy I want to… I’m learning to put money away for their future… and I’m thinking about what we all will gain from giving back now. As we have our first Christmas together, we’re all learning about balance. I don’t want our Christmases to be about the toys, but instead the gifts of family and love and goodwill. I want to do this right – I only have one chance.