My children are alive, well fed and emotionally healthy. I picked myself up off of the kitchen floor and wiped away the tears before said children saw me. I brushed my hair. I even changed clothes three times in a week before any visible stains were showing through on the clothes. Yep, at one point in my life, this is what a successful year looked like to me. Surviving. Pulling the mattress up to the woodstove before bed, because the temperature read 40 degrees in the house type of surviving. Having $1.75 in my checking account at the end of the week because I was a single mother without support type of surviving. Maybe you have been there. Maybe you have teetered on the edge once or twice in your life. Maybe this sounds familiar.
I have had some rough spots in my life, mostly due to divorce, relationship transitions and grieving. I am normally a present moment kind of girl. Not relishing on the past too much, not looking to the future as much as possible, but just staying right here, in this moment. But the end of the year sometimes warrants a quick glance, a pat on the back, and a deep exhale. This was one of those years.
This year reminded me to dream big (or small, in this case). Our family has 'downsized'. We sold our 40 acre farm and exchanged it for 7 acres of peace. No cows to milk, sheep to chase or goats to catch. No more fencing to fix, frozen water to thaw for the animals, or barns to muck. The most animal care we are doing is for my daughter's french bulldog and our border collie. Life feels good. Sometimes simple isn't being so self-reliant, but instead, making life about less work and more time. Now, when we knead dough for bread, letting it rise by the woodstove, it is because we want to, not because we have to. When we can food from our garden, it is not out of necessity, but because it brings us closer, as a family. It gives us more of an opportunity to be with one another and share our wisdom.
We also had the opportunity to give some of ourselves to a family member who had no where else to go. We hosted a sweet 8 year old for 6 weeks while his guardian (my step-sister) was being treated for, and healing from cancer. To be able to create a space of safety for this little one, an alternative way of living and looking at the world and offer days filled with nothing but play was exciting for all of us. To help another single mama and to get to know this boy, Z, was a highlight for me and I am eternally grateful I could help.
We also traveled this year. Out west,...where we never have set foot before. We connected with long lost friends and family, swam in nourishing mineral rich waters, hiked until we couldn't hike any longer, drove through the most beautiful mountains and played. I played with my kids. For a whole month, I played. We swam in the ocean, built endless sand castles, collected way too many seashells and talked about how incredibly lucky we were to be having such an amazing experience. It was one of the most transforming experiences I have had in my whole life and for that I am feeling fairly blessed.
This year also ends the third year of Blue Egg Farmstore. It started way before that, though. It started when I first took a medicinal plant foraging class to learn that plants can heal. It started when my first born had diaper rash and I was looking for completely natural salves to treat it. It started when we went camping and couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how I could spray my kids with conventional bug spray, even though it was a neurotoxin. It started when we needed a natural sunscreen, bubblebath, deodorant, laundry soap. Yep, it started way before I even had the idea for Blue Egg. It started because I cared about me and my family when most big companies didn't. It started because of you and continues to support our family...because of you. This year was crazy busy getting the word out about our small little company and what we do. So thank you for supporting us.
We couldn't have done it without each and every one of you.
So the year ends without any tears or cold nights. The year ends with bread rising on the stove, tea simmering near by. The year ends with friends visiting. potlucks, good books that are finally going to get read and fresh board games that the winter fairy brought my children that have already been played at least three times a day. This is how every year should end. The gratitude jar filled with notes of what we are grateful for as the year comes to a close...because, really...
this is the good stuff.