Connection is on my mind almost all of the time.
How can I find time each day to connect with my children? How can I carve out a few minutes that feel genuine, rather than offering ten minutes that work for me to cross ‘connect with kid #3’ off the list? You’d think it would be easy, having all day everyday with these incredible humans, but often things get in the way.
I’ve also been working tirelessly on connecting with my own purpose, especially since my years of growing babies have come to a close. Mothering is my jam, and I hadn’t planned much else. To me it is Everest– alluring, challenging, and rewarding. It’s almost enough, but as much as I will always be a mother, I will also be a woman who needs to do, to help, to contribute as my children move out of our home. As one little bird hovers on our doorstep, about to take flight, I’m reminded of this….
And then that leads me to my partner. After months of his working over time, and then there was winter prep (still), and the needs of our kiddos…before we knew it, our connection had been stretch and pulled and weighed down by all of the moments of missed opportunity…
So it’s traditional for us with November days, when we turn to each other and promise to take a little better care of this foundation that everything is built upon. We remind each other of things we likely said to each other last year, but they help to bring us back to what’s important….to ask each other for help when needed, to offer up a little more than the other expects, to feed this fire first…something that is difficult with babies running around stealing acorn squash from the front room and flushing the toilet for fun.
So if you haven’t had the reminder in your own life, lately, here it is…tell your spouse you appreciate them, love them, listen to them, hold them, spend time with them…whichever language works in your favour.
Autumn months bring the chance to retreat, to circle around the fire together and reflect. What can I do to improve my family life, my relationships, my self? Work upon the latter typically helps in all other areas.
I’m appreciative of time spent indoors, despite being a lover of the natural world. Colder, darker days give a busy woman permission to pursue projects with her hands, projects of sewing and of needle work, or making new clothing and creative writing. The gardens can wait.
The darkness gives way for work on our inner foliage. What have I neglected during life’s busiest season? How can I ensure to keep all areas nourished, moving forward, and what signs are going to present themselves to let me know when that balance has tipped? After all, a balance isn’t a very stable thing.
Here’s what we’ve been balancing lately:
Our ceiling will never be free of cobwebs
The idea of being caught up on the laundry is actually impossible, unless we become nudists.
The floors are maintained at a level of ‘clean enough’, which to me means, go ahead and eat that strawberry you dropped…
There will always be smudges on the cupboards, even though I wipe them
There will always be bathrooms that could be cleaner because we use them
There will always be toys on the floor because we play here
I might not always make the best choices or say the right things
I might not always be the ideal role model
And while these things are important in running a home and raising children, focusing on them too intently, takes my eye away from the prize.
Sometimes it’s important to remind myself what that is….
As previously mentioned here, we enjoy a first- snow- of- the -season- hot- chocolate tradition in our home. It dates back to Big Brother’s childhood nights, almost 10 years ago.
It was December. It was days before Christmas, and it was finally snowing! We had tucked our 10 year old into bed hours ago, and being the excellent sleeper that he has always been, he was more than likely, sleeping soundly.
I’ve always held a special love for the Christmas season and the romance that a first snow brings (perhaps because my future self would have two Christmas babies!) So when those fat, white chunks fell from the sky, and the brown earth slipped away under the floof, I ran into his bedroom, summoning E from under his warm, horse-print sheets and dragged him out to enjoy the late-night snowfall.
“Come on!” I shouted out the front door that was reserved for the kind of company that didn’t know us well. I ran and jumped through the snow, feeling so grateful for the opportunity to feel childlike again.
Of course, having been woken from his slumber, the child stood in the doorway beside his father, staring. They muttered things like “well, she’s lost it”, and “what the?”
Eventually, I was cold and wet enough to come indoors, only slightly disappointed that no one shared my joy. As he turned to head back to bed, I asked Big Brother the 4 magical words that seem to have stuck over the years… want some hot chocolate? And just like that, a tradition was born.
I’m sure at this point, I pulled down some sort of ‘Nestle’ crap in a tub, boiled water and mixed the marshmallows- included powder together, but it was the beginning…
We’re 4 kids into this tradition now, and everyone seems to enjoy it. Here’s the recipe I’ve perfected over the years…PNourishing Hot CocoaPrep Time5 minsCook Time5 minsTotal Time10 minsCourse: DrinksIngredients
- 2 cups Milk of Choice I’ve used 2%, cashew milk, or even heavy cream
- 4 tbsp Fairly Traded Cocoa Powder
- 1 tbsp Organic Collagen optional for added protein
- 1 tbsp Raw Honey or Coconut Sugar or to taste
- 1 tsp Salted Butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- .5 tsp cinnamon
Combine ingredients and heat slowly, whisking always.
Be careful not to overheat. This is most important if you are using raw honey and wish to preserve the beneficial bacteria.( If you enjoy your drink extremely hot, save your honey on a spoon to dip and stir as your beverage cools.)
Once heated, pop into blender for 30 seconds to create a yummy frothy texture.
Add optional whipped cream topping.
Enjoy with garnishes such as chocolate curls, coconut, sprinkles etc.
I’m thinking this evening, about my choices and how they’ve lead me here
….here to my home where I grew up, home to my partner who always supports me even though he may not agree, with my children who believe I’m special even when I can’t understand why.
Of course, there were other hands involved in this journey, the hands of luck and of privilege, not to mention the hands of those who helped me up…for them I am grateful.
Though there are things to work on, I’m content. On a daily basis I experience happiness. My life is full, my home is warm, and there is food in my fridge. I really couldn’t ask for much more.
wishing the same for you,
Wonder is all around me.
It’s knocking on my door whether or not I’m here to answer…
It seeps through the cracks between hustle and hibernation, calling for me to take notice.
It. Knows. My. Name.
Will I choose to accept its calling?
Or will another moment whither away, my hands deep in the dish water, my mind wracked with thoughts of lists and things that are, in fact, quite important.
Or will I crouch to greet the face who clings to my legs, calling out ME! ME! MEEE!!!
The least helpful advice to give to a mother with young children is to forget the dishes, these years pass too quickly.
Though the message comes with good intentions, believe me, she already knows. She can see how quickly the moments stack up like bills, debts she hasn’t yet paid to herself or her children. Those pants she meant to sew for the last baby didn’t meet the sewing machine and now he’s teetering on two. Despite all of the times she turned away from the soapy water to pull his small face into her hands, kiss his marshmallow cheeks, and toss him up to the counter to help, time slipped on by.
And besides, who IS going to do those dishes?
Somedays, I’m obliged to choose the sudsy sink, but today I chose wonder.
Wishing you wonder and someone to mop your floors,
I can feel the change in the air.
I haven’t worn my sandals for several weeks now, and we’ve turned the heat on long ago.
Rather than living outdoors, we simply visit.
Need I say it? Fall is here, leading us quickly towards winter.
I haven’t put my gardens to bed yet, and I still have to pick up my winter veggies from the local farm. I haven’t washed and sorted through the hats and mittens yet, nor have we piled the wood into the shed. But we’re feeling the sense of urgency that comes with a chill in the air. This weekend better watch out!
Suppers have transitioned from greens to roots and we’ve trimmed our smoothie making habits way back. Lately we’re making hot chocolate, my famous recipe I’ve mastered over the years. Some days we even have it with breakfast.
But I’m not sad about this shift. Though I love the feel of the sun on my body, I equally love the sound of the wood stove’s fan and the smell of the chimney smoke while we play in the woods.
This life is always changing– one season gives way to the next, one year into another, one child into a grown man (18 next month!)…it doesn’t make sense the try to stop it, squeezing it so hard the juice spills over our hands. I’m reminded of this each time I dig my heels in shouting “I’m not ready yet!”
…..it’s better just to flow.
This morning I woke up determined to make this a better week, or at least, make Monday really great so that the natural decline in mom-awesomness (momsomeness?) that tends to coincide with the days of the week, would at least plateau by Friday rather than plummeting into abyss.
I was pleased as punch to see that Sparrow let us sleep until 8am, though slightly less impressed that it was Moonchild who finally leaned over and whisper yelled into my ear that he ‘couldn’t lay in bed anymore’.
So we got up.
And then we went outside because there is nothing like fresh air to spruce up my mood. Yes, mom, you were right.
I knew that the best way to bring a sense of calm to our home was to bring back our rhythm…some of the usual staples, and some new ideas. I took the opportunity to dig into my back pocket of tricks to pull out a Hay-child pleaser, anything stemming from a nature walk. So we foraged and identified various plants and their seeds which branched into creating our own ID cards….and on and on it flowed.
Though of course, Mother Nature had other plans for our walk. We tucked under the lean-to just in time to avoid being completely drenched.
Once we made it back inside, my shoes were soaked and our bellies were rumbling. A pot of tea and some warm applesauce quickly brought us back to life. The day wasn’t anything spectacular, but I kept on top of the dishes, made healthy meals, ran through a good four hours of lesson time, and folded the laundry. I even snuck in a few episodes of something for me while I worked.
Success. Small, but mighty.
Sometimes I feel like I’m rocking this mom game, and other days, I feel like I can’t keep any of the plates that I’m juggling from crashing down. This was one of those weeks…
There were plenty of sibling disagreements, messes, toddlers on kitchen counters, and no clean, matched socks. Morning lessons were not on our itinerary, nor were crafts or field trips.
I’d hate to give the impression that everything here is peachy and keen all of the time, so this small post is just to let everyone know … shit gets real here.
I managed to snap some photos that reflect the turn of events this afternoon, when I finally managed to fold and sort the laundry and we made it outside to play together….
Fresh air has a way of making us appreciate everything a bit more.
Seven years ago, on Thanksgiving Monday, I drove home after holding my father’s hand. He took his last body-shaking breath, and just like that, he left his earthly body.
Grief is an unpredictable thing. It’s a bit like the ogre analogy from Shrek, the one about the onion? It seems the sadness can be healed, but underneath each layer is another with a story that’s been waiting for its turn to appear. Just when I think that I’ve got it mastered, osmosis kicks in and I’ll find myself with oniony tears stinging my eyes.
I spent this past Thanksgiving with my in-laws and most of that time with my father-in-law. It felt comforting to have conversation with people who are more grown up than I, and to be honest, I hadn’t given a lot of energy to this (un)anniversary, until I leaned in and hugged Pa (the name that has lovingly been given to my children’s grandfather) goodbye, catching a whiff of that Old Spicey scent.
Smells are like the powerhouse of memories…the times, all of the times my dad kissed me on the cheek and scrubbed my face with his whiskery beard…they all found me. Though, it’s a bit of a relief knowing that something as simple as a sniff can dig up some of the oldest memories because then I know he’s not entirely gone.