The children cry “Happy New Year” from their rooms. Shane and I made it to 11:30, then sent everyone to bed. We drift of to sleep to the pops of fireworks in the distance
I am up to do the woodstove. This is my time, the time I take to do my reading for the day, soaking in the still, dark hour.
Shane is up to stoke the fire and soak up the sunrise, I roll over and return to my sleep.
Today is Shane and I’s anniversary. He sits next to me sipping cocoa as I write. We still have Christmas lights up, lining the rafters of the living room ceiling. The kids got up early to spiffy up the house, well, some of them did, anyway, and now they are carelessly tossed throughout the room on a variety of screens.
Gracie isn’t up yet. It will probably take me to actually rouse her out of her bed. The fatigue is just one of some concerning symptoms she has dealt with over the past few months, but I think we are on the mend. We haven’t nearly the intense struggle experienced by the cousins.
Belle is playing a puzzle game on the xbox, as her sisters patiently advise her. Even Emmy looks up from her phone every once and a while to offer advice, which I will take as a win. It has been a long road incorporating another tweenager into our already big family. The past few months resentments flared a bit after our dear girl’s “sprained ankle” refused to heal, necessitating lots and lots of physical therapy and other appointments. The sprained ankle was a growth plate fracture, and is recovering with proper treatment.
And the Lord provided a special mercy for some of the other kids. With all of the other appointments, my individual dates with the girls fell by the wayside. They missed it more then I realized, but by the time that hurt came to light, our budget was already tight in anticipation of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, some visitors to our church handed me a jar of coins. It was enough to take each of the girls out in the following week and spend some special time with them individually, and it was just the cure their hearts needed.
I haven’t written much this past year, but there has been much to treasure, much to ponder. As the children grow and become, I find that I also am challenged to grow, to become. There are questions of my life long unanswered, strings left dangling as I jumped from one thing to the next. In this season, I find disparate threads beginning to come together. A Pentecostal upbringing meets a current liturgical context in the form of contemplative prayer. I see a future in my mothering vocation as I look to a ministry and training in spiritual direction. I am free to embrace my “life that is” as a vital, integral part of who I am becoming. Its struggle and suffering are only kind instructors in the Way.
Shane wakes from a dozey sleep beside me. It is time for the children to come off screens, and for me to make lunch. Today is a rare day off work for him, and I will feed my dear, hobbit man, and perhaps even bring him a pipe. He continues, in spite of the physical exhaustion that accompanies his ataxia, to get up early each morning, to check the fire, to go to work. He stays up late with me each night, to bank the stove before bed, discussing with me the various books I am reading, bringing to our talks a wealth of historical and theological insight. He is wise, and kind, and 14 years later I am still quite fond of him.
He has surprised me, and delightfully so. He puts feet to my crazy leaps of faith. Years ago, it was in coming up with a table of repairs so that our home would be suitable to take foster children. He budgeted, planned, and executed all that was necessary for us to realize that dream. This year, I brought him a niggling idea of taking some seminary classes. Today, we eat cheesy rice and beans for lunch, a concession to the budget Shane came up with in order to make that happen. I couldn’t imagine a better traveling companion or more suitable spouse.
I write as the teakettle whispers from the stove. In a moment I will sit with my dear one and drink peppermint tea…Normally, we go out on an anniversary date on New Year’s Day, and take an afternoon to dream and plan. This year, we are planning a trip for the coming weekend. Today we rest some and tidy our offices and unclutter out minds.
After supper, when the dishes are done and the floor is swept, Shane will watch a show with the kids as I take an evening walk.
We curl against each other with our respective books. It is still, and quiet, and so very good.