Nothing like a pile full of Christmas letters touting the extraordinariness of your friends' and family's children to leave you feeling insecure about your child's accomplishments. You know how hard-won every word and step and move toward independence is, but those things are on a different plane of existence from those letter-writers whose kids are on the honor role at Notre Dame or valedictorian of their high-school class or award-winning athletes. Though you usually can avoid making those kinds of comparisons, the holidays -- when children's successes become currency in conversations and correspondence -- make it hard.
Fortunately, right here on this site are other parents who understand that the things that don't seem so outstanding to your kinfolk are actually a thousand percent more impressive than a typical kid having typical triumphs. Let's start our own brag book here. I've set up a Readers Respond page for listing your child's accomplishments this year, so we can celebrate together. And if you have trouble remembering all those wonderful things at year's end, make a resolution to start a "joy journal" in 2013 to celebrate things little and big all year through.