I woke today feeling the soft tenderness that always comes along with January 1st, at least for me. It’s more difficult these days to find the stillness and quiet that a person needs in order to reflect when they’re feeling introspective, but I’m able to snatch a few moments here and there between naps and snacks.
If I had to characterize 2020 I’d say that with pregnancy, Covid, and then colic, it can be pretty solidly defined by the word anxiety. Actually, maybe the word would be discomfort. Just a constant state of discomfort from morning sickness, an unrelenting news cycle, and lockdowns with two young children at home. Then recovering from my third birth in four years, adjusting to life with three at home, and spending sixteen hours a day bouncing a screaming baby. Discomfort. Like many other families, 2020 was not our finest or our favourite year. We did not flourish.
For us, 2021 was more chaotic but thankfully also much more fun. There was a sense of finality and newness, of endings and beginnings. The pregnancy and baby years closed for us with the year, taking with it the bittersweet experience of raising a last baby, of seeing all the milestones of her first year knowing that we’ll never have another one. 2021 was also the last year I spent as a breastfeeding mother, a journey I loved and felt so rewarded by. These little finalities made the year both challenging and rich.
Amidst those tender conclusions were beginnings that herald the start of a new chapter for our family. Our first child started Kindergarten, kicking off the seventeen years that we’ll have one or more kids in school. A new and deeply-loved, rewarding job for me outside the home after five years out of the workforce. A lot of new friendships after starting a local mom group totally on a whim. There have been many bittersweet, complex, rich, euphoric, and mournful feelings for me in 2021 as I finally carved out a little sliver of self identity from the long fog of early motherhood.
The little things have been pretty sweet, too. Learning how to chop wood and make a fire. Trying new recipes. Making breakfast in a sunny kitchen. Bonfires at the neighbours house. Organizing kitchen cupboards between nap times. Hennie’s excitement when we pick her up from school. New library books. A freshly mowed lawn. Good coffee after a full night’s sleep. Painting. Building. Running. As the world has felt in a real upheaval these last years it has sure given us fresh perspective and a new appreciation for our privilege and our simple, small luxuries.
Happy New Year, friends! I hope that even amidst the anxiety of 2021 you are able to tap into gratitude for all you were given.