This was meant to be my first blog post at the beginning of January, but I ‘lost’ it, somewhere in cyberspace. It showed up this morning… don’t know why, but, here it is! Happy New Year!
It started snowing in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve, a sprinkling of flakes, dusting the bleak December ground with a clean, white coat. I was planning a quiet evening in, so the slippery roads didn’t worry me. I say, half jokingly, that I will bring in the new year with my cousins in Norway. The eight hour time difference puts me watching the ball drop around 4 pm… perfect! I’m ready to bid farewell to 2016. As Jimmy Buffet says in his song, ‘Trip around the Sun’, this year gone by ain’t been a piece of cake. The long and bitter presidential campaign left me feeling a sadness and fatigue I have not experienced in my sixty years. I am, by nature, a positive soul. I am content at home, surrounded by family, friends and pets. My home life fills me up, and when the yard is full of kids tossing a football, swaying on the old tire swing or collecting eggs from my colorful flock of clucking hens, I am in my happiest place. My intention is not to write a political essay, so I will just say I was not rejoicing on election night.
December found me still cloaked in a fog of despair, and my traditions were my saving grace. As I pulled boxes from under the stairs, Christmas music filled the air. Sentimental ornaments, released from their year in storage, held more meaning for me. The paper angels my kids made in kindergarten watched sweetly from the tree top as I hung every single thing saved through the years on the green boughs. Cedar swags wrapped in twinkling lights draped across the doorway and held the overflow of ornaments when the tree filled up.
…and then there was Cooky Day… Years ago, my sister and I started a day of baking. She’d come early, laden with flour, sugar and butter to add to my stockpile and we would bake, frost and sprinkle to our hearts content. When I think back, I wonder ‘what were we thinking??’ I guess we thought it was up to us to keep the world supplied in Christmas cookies, because we filled enough plates and tins to make a dentist happy for sure. I lost my sister almost twelve years ago, but the kids and I continue the tradition on a smaller scale. Until this year. This year I needed the company and kinship of young people to counteract my doldrums. I live in the same house where I raised my two, mid thirties kids, and they have blessed me with six beautiful grandchildren under the age of eleven, and they all have lots of friends. The more the merrier might be my mantra, and explain how I ended up with seventeen kids, three babies and nine young moms in my kitchen on the third Sunday in December. To say it was wild would be an understatement, but my little farmhouse was filled with rosy cheeks, powdered sugar frosting and lots of sprinkles. My mood lightened even if the bathroom scale didn’t.
The reality is, in the grand scheme of things, I am a speck of dust, a flake of snow, but in this little corner of our great Pacific Northwest I am in charge of my own happy heart. As we set our sails for another new year, what ever lies ahead, family and friendship is the glue that will hold us together.
Happy New Year!