It’s that time of year again. That quiet time between Christmas and New Year when the still dark nights and the exhausted post gift giving calm make me ponder the year that was past.
This year I am spending that time out in the country with my Grandma and Grandpa, my cousins, and my aunts and uncles. There are a lot of us, and last night we all joined my grandparents in their cozy farmhouse for a boisterous post-Christmas celebration. The were new faces, old faces, some faces that had changed so much that I hardly recognized them. It had been too long since I had seen my family and it felt good to come “home” to Grandma’s house and recenter and remember all the Christmases past.
Time goes quickly, and I started off writing this post about what all I had accomplished this year. Last year, I set a few goals. Some I reached, some I didn’t, some changed my life.
I wanted to volunteer more. I set a goal of volunteering once per month. That definitely didn’t happen, although I did go one weekend and spend the day mucking stalls for rescue horses. And I did volunteer to be an assistant leader for my daughter’s Daisy Scout troop. I would like to do more, but with the little ones, I think it is best that I wait and give my own children that focus.
I wanted to spend money with intent rather than with abandon. That has become more important following the loss of my paying job when we moved to California. Though I do have a full time job caring for the children now, the loss of my income, which was 30ish percent of our household income was staggering. I’ve gotten better at spending with care, but as with all things, it’s a skill that I continue to practice.
I wanted to learn some more advanced homemaking skills, and that became a very interesting journey. I learned to make bread, which led me to the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes technique. Now fresh bread is part of our daily life. I learned to make Sauer Kraut in a lovely crock that my grandma gave me for my birthday. I made marmalade with my friend Liz using the canner my grandma gave me. I learned to make kombucha. But more than all of that, my friendships with my fellow mothers grew stronger as we learned from each other and taught each other.
The move was painful, and the loss I felt at leaving my community was profound. But the new year is approaching, so there is time for change and time for finding new happiness and new community.