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Hygge (Pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that really doesn't have an English counterpart. It is a feeling that comes from the joy in making ordinary moments more meaningful and beautiful. Lighting a candle with dinner, lingering over a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee: taking pleasure in the ritual of making the coffee. It is being aware of a good moment and allowing yourself to fully feel it. 

Children understand the importance of being fully present in a good moment.  

So do dogs.

My grandmother immigrated from Denmark when she was just thirteen. My mother spoke Danish until she started kindergarten. I have fond memories of baking bread with my mom and grandma every week or so. I must have been around 3 years old and they would give me my own bread dough to knead and bake. No TV, no computer, no cell phone beeping; just grandma, mom and me and the smell of fresh bread and homemade jam. I still do this with my littles today, 50+ years later--both the fresh baked bread and the homemade jam. Hygge. 

We MUST find our way back to hygge. Our children's mental health as well as our own, depend on it. Childhood anxiety is on the rise and at a much younger age. Parents are pulled in a million different directions and no one can put down their phone. Our brains were never designed to take in all the world's bad news several times a day. I'm not saying don't be informed, I'm saying unplug. And more than unplug, savor the simple moments. Pour that cup of coffee or glass of wine and take a moment to really enjoy it. Go for a walk with your child and notice the evergreens or the cold air on your face. 

When my mom died, I used to walk down to the bike trail very late at night. I would stand on the bridge, face the moon and close my eyes. I was savoring the moment and all the memories of her. Hygge.

Children can bring us back to hygge if we will listen. The little one in the picture (as well as the big dog) have been two of my greatest role modes this past year. I am grateful. I am blessed. Hygge.

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