Saturday, December 31, 2011

The year in review

Yesterday, the Christmas tree fell over and in that instant I knew that the holidays were over. We used to leave the tree up until Epiphany, but in recent years, I've wanted to start the new year fresh and that means taking the tree down on New Year's day. Yesterday, I took off most of the ornaments and packed them away. There's still a few left and the lights are still there. I felt like the tree needed to hang in there until New Year's day. When the tree fell over, I started thinking about 2011 and I started thinking about it more when I read this post

It's been a hard year. No, it's been more than a hard year. I think this year has stretched me more than any other year in recent memory. I'm not sure how much I grew, but it has been a year of enormous change for me. I looked back at my post at the beginning of 2011 and I had so much hoped  that it would be the year of calm for me.  I think it was anything but. That makes me sad. 2010 was defined by a difficult pregnancy and 2011 was largely the year of adapting to life with the twins. As much as I desperately sought the calm I hoped for, I felt rushed...all the time. I'm still learning and I've learned that I have to let go of some things. I won't be less of a person if I do. That's a hard thing for me. I'm one of those "Carpe Diem" types. I want to learn something new every day. I want to try new things. I'm excited by life. I try to do too much and I'm disappointed when I can't. Here are the things (in no particular order) that filled my life in the past year.

Knitting/Quilting: Looking back on the past year, most of my posts centered around knitting. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me how I had the time to knit with 5 small children to mother, I'd have piles of money (for more yarn of course!). Knitting has been so much more than knitting for me. This won't be the first time that I  mention the calming effects of knitting on my soul. I'll stay up late when the house is quiet and knit contentedly for hours. The joy I get from creating something for a loved one is something I find difficult to convey. The tactile joy of handling beautiful yarns and the rejuvenating effect of the repetitive motion is like being rocked to sleep. Like Elizabeth said in her post, knitting is so much more than knitting. Amidst my sometimes chaotic life, knitting has kept me sane.

I also got back into quilting this year. I've been quilting for several years now, but I had a lot of not-quite-finished quilt toppers that really needed to be completed. Now quilting isn't like knitting for me at all.  It isn't portable and it isn't really super relaxing for me, but it's enormously satisfying. There's something about piecing all that fabric together. Somehow, my brain starts churning with the endless possibilities of beautiful fabric. I've collected a lot of fabric this year and I have plans for it all. I'm giddy over my fabric collection. There's something about quilting that makes my brain work harder, better...something I can't quite describe.

The Twins: I was blessed with the two most adorable boys ever! They are one year-old now and I love these two little faces so much  (a little bit more each day), but mothering twins has not been easy for me. I didn't get to mother them the way I mothered my other babies. For instance, I barely made it to a year nursing them. I wanted them to have what my other babies got and my other babies got more nursing. I just didn't have enough milk for both and I had to supplement. This was difficult for me, but I tried not to feel like a failure. It's been difficult to accept that each mothering experience is going to be different and a little unexpected.

It's hard to cuddle one twin when I always feel like one twin is being left out. I sometimes feel that the twins aren't getting everything the other babies got, but maybe (hopefully) having each other makes it all okay in the end.  I'm still learning how to mother twins. It's not just the twins though. I just want to be a good mom to all five of my children. They stretch me and force me to be unselfish and hopefully, I will be the mom I want to be.

Counting Gifts: This book encouraged me to write down all those gifts I might otherwise overlook. If you look closely and pay attention, there are gifts everywhere. Gratitude. Thankfulness. I stopped and noticed the small things in my crazy life. I know that seeing every small thing  has changed the way I see life forever.  I started recording them here at my blog, but my whole list never materialized. I will do better at capturing those moments here in 2012.

Just the other day, one of the twins was in the Exersaucer  playing with one of Tess's birthday balloons. He was absolutely enchanted with that balloon. It was something I wanted to remember. I stopped in that moment to capture the image, not with a camera, but with my heart. It was one of those small gifts. God's glory is everywhere and I might have walked on by without ever truly noticing how adorable the image of a baby boy and a simple helium balloon.

Anniversaries and Birthdays: This year, I turned 39.  I entered my last year of my 30s. It's been a great decade. In July, Paul and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.  It's so cliche to say that the time flew by, but it did. How was I once 23 year-old bride now heading into 40? All I can say is that life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and take a look around, you could miss it. (I got that from Ferris Bueller.)

My Word for the new year: Last year's word for the year was Calm. This year, I have two words: Calm and Gentleness. I want to be characterized by gentleness. I know this would go a long way to being the mom, the woman I want to be.

What will 2012 bring? More gifts....Choose to look closely.

 Happy New Year my friends!

1 comment:

Neen said...

I am visiting from Catholic Moms online. I read a little about your beautiful family. Your end end post struck me as we will be welcoming twins twins this year. I need to seach a little deeper to read about the issues while you were pregnant. My twins might share a placenta and a sack. I am a little nervous. Please say a prayer for them. Happy New Year.