for a moment there i felt like everything led up to christmas day and after that i was sort of stumbling around in a directionless, rhythmless stupor. we came to south carolina on a much more complicated flight pattern than anticipated, felt like we slept in a different room each night for five nights, and were caught up in the spirit of visiting with family and celebrating. it was beautiful, magical, stressful, exhausting, wonderful, and much needed. and then, my brother and his family left and suddenly christmas was over.
i realized that i have missed our rhythm as much as my children have. although they have not told me they miss it, i see it in their actions and feel it in their turbulent moods. we need to find our way now to settle in and make this home our home for the coming weeks. we need to rediscover our in and out breath.
this morning i was elbow deep in soapy water, hand washing all the plastic dishes here and it brought me such calm. in that way i have changed. i no longer thrive on my own disorganization. instead i find something grounding about doing a little housework. i want to be in a home that feels balanced enough. this afternoon i will spend time working on the toys and play area in the living room. i need to sort through, figure out what we want in easy use, and then find a place for everything. it is too difficult for the children to clean up when they do not know where things belong and it is also too difficult to play properly. instead they constantly want and adult there to help direct them. who would have guessed that i would become a woman who enjoyed hand washing dishes and couldn’t wait to organize a mess of toys?
also absent in the recent days has been the time i take for self reflection. i had fallen out of the habit of doing my mini meditations. i have not thought to meditate on each child before i fall asleep to see what i can learn about the day and bring to the next day. i had not spent time imagining how the next day would unfold and how to best prepare myself and my family. i think, in some ways, i had just fallen into the role of tagging along with what was happening and hoping for the best. i am not upset with this i am just noticing how i shifted. i also notice here how i would like to shift back.
reading a post up on the parenting passageway about inner work for the holy nights reminded me how much of the depth of my parenting – and the depth of my daily life really – comes from the inner work i do. i had taken time during the advent to focus on inner work and i let that go when our trip began. carrie’s post brings me back to the possibility of refocusing myself before we enter the new year. already, i had been thinking about ways to create a new tradition, a mini celebrations for just the six of us down here for new years eve. perhaps we could bake a cake, sing some songs, and have a nice dinner. maybe the bean would like to help me make a banner or some other kinds of decorations. i don’t know yet what we can or will do but i was embracing the idea that the smallest amount of effort can start a tradition, can start a celebration.
the idea of doing some focused inner work on what i want the coming year to be strikes a chord within me. i know that i will find my own way to think about this. i know that i will find my own strange time of day to get the work in. i know that it is work that needs doing. i am the best parent, the best wife, the best child, the best version of me when i carve out those moments for inner work. in some ways, that is what i have learned the most in the last year. it has not been an easy year and there were many times during it when i thought my life was changing in heart breaking ways. yet, i am so grateful for the struggles which led me once again more deeply inside myself. the effort i needed to stay strong through this past year showed me once again the importance of self work, inner work, walking my path with clarity and intention.
and now, i will set some time to think about what i want to bring with me in the new year and what i want to say thank you and goodbye to.
what about you all? how are you feeling as the holidays draw to a close and what are you reflecting on?
i have to tell you, being me, i never had heard of the idea that the days between boxing day and three kings day are the holy days. days for self reflection. but it is really working for me. i think i feel myself settling into a slightly different version of myself with slightly different goals and intentions, with my arms elbow deep in washing water, and i like it.