On this fine Christmas Eve day we celebrate. We celebrate the young life of our five year old daughter. We celebrate the sleepless nights that lay in our past, we celebrate the fact that we’ve made it. We’ve laid the foundation of ‘those first five years”. We see her for who she is, all of her beauty, her creativity, her kind, nurturing self. We see it all. And while she enjoys a slice of birthday, chocolate quinoa cake ( seriously, it’s amazing), we high five each other with a twinkle in our eyes, and we wish each other a happy birthing day, cause every parent knows, it’s not just about the kiddosWild Flower’s birthday gift, made by mama. She named her “Wild Willow”. We partied this morning, our fifth birthday brunch; friends and family came and graciously gave something special for Flower to open. She thoughtfully examined each gift, something that gives me a little thrill. We’ve managed to avoid that unwrapping insanity. Her favourite gift from this morning, a chipmunk in a tutu card, and she’s been toting around her 5 candle, adding it to the top of all birthday snacks. The innocence of 5. It excites me.
See that wee car? That’s us. The Hayswold’s family Christmas. Embarrassed teenage son..check! More about that next time.
How are you spending Christmas Eve….
This time of year always brings nostalgia. I remember being young and learning about the joys of Christmas discovery, unpacking the decorations with my mom and hearing the stories that accompanied each one. It’s a time to reflect on the year that has passed. A time to take stock of all that has been endured, the warm memories, and maybe some things that could have been improved upon. The thing thought that occupies my mind most is how much our lives have changed in these two short years since we first moved here. What I really remember is how difficult it was. How jobs didn’t pan out the way we had expected them to, the way it felt to be so very pregnant and to feel quite useless having given up my modern gal career to stay at home and do what we knew was best for our growing family while contributing zero dollas to our family situation (something I’ve since grown to see in a new light), and I can recall, most vividly, the memory of hearing the ever so melancholy voice of Judy Garland singing “next year all our troubles will be miiiiles away“. That sentiment carried me through the holiday that year, knowing that next year we would be a little bit further ahead. We had to be. And now, two years later things are moving along nicely. Although there have been no lottery winnings, we have managed to pay down some crippling debt, Papa is a little bit more secure in his position at work, and we’ve begun to adapt the way of life here at MoonHayven. This year’s firewood…practically free, versus the whopping $1200 we paid the first year, which, by the way, was wet and not nearly enough for the winter. We’ve found a great little produce market where we stock up on veggies for the winter, and we put enough venison (thanks Papa Bear) and home grown chicken in the freezer to last. The lessons we’ve learned are not just about survival, but of what we can give, how open we are to receiving, and about simplicity. I can’t help but feel so deeply grateful for all of the wisdom we’ve absorbed throughout that shittacular experience. Which leads me to part two of this post.
My occasional browsing of the local Facebook groups allowed me to help out a local mama this evening. She is living alone with her sweet two-year-old baby girl in a small one bedroom apartment. She’s giving it her best. She’s all in. Self-employed and twenty years old, does not your every day mama make. She loves her blonde cherub with every fibre of her being, which I could tell even before I met her for the first time today. She had posted in a local group, that she was in trouble this holiday season, that she had lost her Hydro privileges, and she was keeping warm with a small heater and one light. She was looking for candles; that’s it, candles. And so, with the spirit of the Yuletide season wrapped around me, recalling Christmas of 2012, which I have most certainly minimized in order to preserve Papa Bear’s embarrassment (although come on honey, you were not to blame), I reached out my hand to her, and lucky for me, she accepted. Wild Flower and I picked up this mummy and her babe this afternoon and brought them home to sit by the fire. The kiddos played, the mamas got to know what rocks each other’s souls, and then we ate some free-range chicken. It doesn’t get better than that, except maybe with coffee. We ate veggies and cheese and all things delicious; needless to say, they left with full bellies and a bag full of treats, but more importantly what we are left with is a feeling that cannot be described.
When I tucked my child into bed tonight, only then was it that I briefed her on their situation, “Maddie’s mom couldn’t pay to keep their lights on anymore, so we brought them here to play and have fun even though it is dark at their house”, and Wild Flower replied ” I’m happy I danced with Maddie, Mama.” Success. There may have been squabbles over whose toys were whose, there may not be anything left here for lunches tomorrow (Enee will delight in cafeteria lunch), but I know that there is some money left to buy what we need, and most importantly, I know what it felt like to share some kindness with a stranger. And to that wonderful mama, “next year all your troubles will be out of sight“…or at least fewer and farther between.
Much love and kindness,