Sunday, December 9, 2018

2018

A couple Christmases ago, my beautiful friend Maria sent out a Christmas letter. It must be stated that Maria has a magical gift for words - a way of expressing emotion, love, and tenderness in the most sincere way. I have held on to and reread every card, note, and letter Maria has gifted me over the years, and this particular Christmas letter is no exception - It planted itself firmly in the back of my mind, a place it has been thought about and looked back on many times since. Five beautifully crafted questions that allow for pause and reflection on the 365 days behind them.

This year I have opted to borrow Maria's thought-filled questions, and although my attempt at answering them will not be nearly as elegantly written, the sentiment is there.

Thank you, Maria.

What are we grateful for? What in this year did we appreciate?
So much! Amazing friends (near and far), a hugely supportive and unconditionally loving family, adventures (we've had many!) health, happiness, a roof over our head, food in our bellies, and a little bit left over to share at the end of the day. I've appreciated the experience of being able to work out of the house and, in return, shift our finances a little bit. Also, having flexibility in our work to be able take the summer to visit our family all over the country is a gift I will never take for granted.

What do we struggle with and what are we learning from these experiences? 
The distance from our families continues to be hard- our time in Vancouver has had many ups and downs, and the downs are particularly challenging to navigate when parents and siblings are never near enough. Missing family gatherings, dinners, nieces and nephews growing up, and the ordinary ins and outs of everyone's day to day never gets easier. That said, the distance reinforces for us how lucky we are to have so many truly incredible people in our lives- family we long for a miss terribly, and friends that feel like family to help fill a bit of the void felt in their absence.

What do we appreciate in each other? 
Jeff is such a considerate partner. His love language is absolutely gifts of service, and this past year, while I have mostly been working full-time, he has picked up SO MUCH slack without ever being asked. Cooking meals, shuttling Finn to and from school, dishes, laundry, and so much more- He manages it all on top of his already full schedule. I deeply appreciate his thoughtfulness in making our life run smoothly. I also value his view of the world- his thoughtful words and compassion for people beyond our bubble. For his patience in listening to me ramble about all the crusades I must take on- always joining and supporting me through the ones I deem most important. I also appreciate celery juice and coffee made for me every single morning.

Finn is full of so much light - he's thoughtful and kind and beginning to find his voice in this world. Right now, that shows itself in sarcasm and quick wit, which is *almost* always appreciated. Like the true Aries that he is, he is headstrong - dedicated, passionate, loyal, and opinionated- traits that will serve him well throughout his lifetime. I appreciate how he has become a natural leader this year, keen to participate in every school activity that presents itself and eager to be the first to take on any project that needs a volunteer. He continues to grow deeper in his love of music (piano) and performing, which has been fun to watch unfold. I also appreciate his ever-growing compassion toward animals and enthusiasm for vegetarianism.

What do we appreciate in ourselves? 
I think my biggest area of growth has been finding more balance in my commitments. Where I have been known to run myself ragged over-committing, never ever saying no in an effort to do it all, I have slowly started to allow myself the kindness and grace to not feel bad when I am simply unable to commit to or take on everything that comes up. 

What is something we dread and/or anticipate in 2019 (as joys multiply and fears diminish when shared.)
Right now, we are struggling to decide where we will lay roots. We've spent the last 6 years living in Vancouver, and we absolutely love it here, but it has always felt temporary. Because of the cost of housing, we have never been fully settled or comfortable in the idea that our life her long term is sustainable. The time has come to do some deep soul-searching and make some hard choices. We intend to move at the end June, but are still unsure where. Uprooting our lives this way of course comes with its fair share of dread, stress, and worry, but the possibilities on the other side are also really exciting. We will be sure to let you all know when our decision is made.


 

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