December 27 – Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?
(Author: Brené Brown)
Airports make me cry. It doesn’t matter if I’m picking somebody up, dropping them off, or travelling myself. I inherited this trait from my mother.
In June and July I spent a lot of time in airports. I flew back to my family, and then, because I needed her, my Mum came to visit me.
I paced in the airport arrivals area, hugging the baby to me, completely wired with anticipation.
The arrivals board flashed landed and I watched the top of the escalator intently, willing for the first glimpse of her. She finally appeared behind a bunch of enormous business men, and right on cue I burst into tears. By the time she reached me, we were both crying, and laughing because we were crying and then finally we hugged.
We must have made quite a scene, because I saw other people watching us, and every time someone else caught my eye they smiled or laughed, too.
Airports are full of ordinary joy.
Posted in loved ones
December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you
are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
(Author: Tracey Clark)
I love this photo. I’m standing in the middle of the adventure playground, wearing my favourite Freo-hippy-mama clothes. The baby and I were on a playdate with some of our favourite friends, and it didn’t matter a bit that I was the only single mama there.
Some days I grieve for the family life that I no longer have. Some days I grieve for the earth goddess mama that I won’t get to be.
This photo reminds me that even if I’m a single mama, even if I work full time, the baby and I can still have adventures.
Life is still good.
Posted in loved ones
December 16 – Friendship
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
(Author: Martha Mihalick)
I’ve written about how I’m not good at sharing the bad stuff, and this year I learnt to spill it.
As I started to tell my friends that my marriage was over, it felt like admitting a failure. I kept waiting for someone to tell me off, shut me down, tell me it was all my fault. To be honest, I kinda wanted that – I thought that if I knew what I’d done wrong, maybe I could still fix it.
I half expected people to just walk away. After all, the person who’d spent ten years by my side, who knew me best, no longer loved me. If he couldn’t love me, who would?
But that’s not how it turned out.
Every time I opened up, a miracle happened. My friends were shocked, and sad, but over and over I heard words I really needed to hear. Often, I wasn’t ready to believe – that this was not my fault, that there were better things waiting for me, that we had really tried and it was time to let it go.
My friends and my family have been so fiercely loyal and so strongly supportive, that they’ve dragged me kicking and screaming out of my shell. I’ve had to pull all my hurts out into the open, and examine what I really believe to be true. I’ve looked back with their eyes, and seen that no single person could be responsible for everything I held to be my fault. Through them, I’ve seen how loved I really am, just as I am. And that they love me more for showing them the bad stuff.
I didn’t mean to write something quite so sappy today. But honestly? I love my friends. I wouldn’t have made it through this year without them.
I bring you five minutes of parenthood I hope I never forget:
- I have him in my arms as we walk to the car. I kiss him on the head, out of habit – but this time, for the first time, he smiles in response.
- On a friends lap in a cafe, he plays with teaspoons. I’ve been trying to get him to try solids for weeks, with no success. He won’t let anything near his mouth. But today he opens his mouth wide for a teaspoon of hoummus… and then wants more.
- Intent on the contents of the box, he picks up one toy, then another. He doesn’t realise that he no longer has a hand on the box for support. When he sees us watching, he claps the blocks together and sits down laughing.
- I’ve put him to bed and he’s yelling in outrage. I’m at the door, ready to go in, when he starts blowing raspberries instead, and singing to himself. I run away to laugh out of earshot.
- He is perplexed by the open screen door at grandma’s house. He sits on the threshold; lean out – lean in, lean out – lean in. He looks back at me, very serious, not sure if this is okay. When he sees my smile, he cracks an enormous, cheeky grin – and makes his escape.
December 14 – Appreciate
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
(Author: Victoria Klein)
I tend to hug my hurts inward, and keep my sadness away from those around me. This helps me keep it together, but it’s lonely.
This year was so hard, and the things I did were so big, that I couldn’t always keep it together. I had to reach out, ask for help and lean on my friends.
I was ashamed.
But, what I’ve learned, and what I’ve learned to appreciate, is other people. People who are fiercely loyal. People who love me when I’m a tearful wreck. People who want good things for me, even when I’m spewing negativity all over their kitchen. People who will build me up and feed me and remind me that I’m a good person, too.
This has been a hard year, but in a way it’s been worth it just to see how much better my friendships are when I’ve asked for help.
So consider this a big thank you to all my friends, near and far. Everyone who listened to my story, over and over. Everyone who watched me agonize over dumb decisions. Everyone who shared a coffee or a meal or a piece of cake. You know who you are.
You made my year.
December 7 – Community
Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
(Author: Cali Harris)
Online I have found a community of my heart in the Goddess Guidebook Circle. Creativity, spirituality and sparkles in one gorgeous package – I’ve found some wonderful women and read some really, really big stories.
Offline, my book club has become a wonderful circle of wise women. We meet up in cafes and discuss the books for all of ten minutes before moving on to the important stuff like new loves, old jobs and crazy happenings. Because there’s always something crazy going on in our lives.
One of my big lessons this year was reaching out. When you only know somebody through mother’s group or a writing class, it can be hard to talk about the big things going on in your life. I’m Cancerian, and I tend to hug my hurts to myself, but this year I learnt how to share them and lean on my friends. Asking for help has really built a community for me, where offering help never quite bridged the gap.
December 6 – Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
(Author: Gretchen Rubin)
Yesterday I made banana oatmeal muffins. With, you know, mashed banana and rolled oats and vanilla yoghurt because I didn’t have the plain stuff.
It feels good to cook. I forget sometimes. But it feels good to use my hands. There’s magic in the transformation of ingredients into food into meals.
A more permanent thing I’m making is a baby scrapbook collage thing. Inspired by Leonie’s scrap-journal I’m filling up a binder with photos and cards and notes and reminders for the baby. It isn’t beautiful on the outside yet, but it’s already full of magical stuff.