And then…





Good morning kind souls.

When I popped in on Tuesday I thought I was on the mend. In reality I was only coming up for air. This flu was a bugger, shape shifting from the standard spiking fever and deep aches variety to something evil that dwells in the intestines.

I do not exaggerate when I say there were moments when I thought I might die.

Lord have mercy. That was really exceptionally hard.

Pete suggested it was a metaphor for the changes we're going through. The purging, the release, the surrender to the now. And maybe it is.

For me it has so many layers that went simply beyond "the sickest I've ever felt". The layers that go so much deeper – into what I value, how I see myself, and how I relate to my family.

I know. Heavy, right? It was just the flu. Pete has always told me I'm an over-thinker.

But here's the kick. It was the flu a week before Solstice. Solstice. Our big celebration. Solstice. The holiday I stay up late into the night crafting magical things for my family – my kids in particular. Solstice. when I pull out all of the crafty stops.

And I was too sick to even knit.

Adorably decorated farm house? Nope. Gluten-free holiday treats? Not happening. Handmade Solstice gifts? Um, no.

And that last one. That was huge for me.

I can't exactly explain why it's so important to me. I guess for me "making" is like love encarnate. It's one really tangible way that I express myself.

I can't make up for last week. I spent six days and six nights in bed. To get done what was on my list, last week was vital. Without it I need to scrap the list and regroup.

I actually had one feverish night where I had knitting nightmares. Somethings about scratchy wool and tangles of yarn with dramatic lighting and dark music. I was trying so hard to finish my kids gifts in time and I already knew it was a lost cause.

We don't do many gifts on Solstice. But we do make them by hand.

So to give that up and throw in the needles (so to speak) was an emotional moment for me. To call the kids in and say, "This year, I just can't do it." felt like failure. Like I was letting them down. But the reality is that it's so inconsequential to them. We haven't made this be a gift-centered celebration, so it was no big deal. They'd rather have more time to snuggle with me and read books and maybe even bake a batch of cookies. They don't need the presents. They just want the celebration.

What I also realized is just how rarely I put myself first. And doing that this past week was vital. I really had no other choice.

And you know, putting myself first once in a while might be downright healthy. (Ya think?)

So maybe this flu has changed me.

Maybe I'll find a way to continue being sensitive to the needs of those I love, but also to awaken to my own.

P.S. The Winter Apothecary will be released tomorrow! And it's lovely. Thanks for your kind contributions.

9 thoughts on “And then…

  1. Michelle says:

    I was talking to my sister in law (who has two sons) and she said that she never really learned to put herself first because her mother never put herself first. My husband agreed (he also has a very hard time with that). They recalled having to beg her to buy herself a winter coat one year (I know, sad, but they had no money and were struggling). My sister in law said that she is working hard to try and instill a sense of taking care of oneself without being entitled (She buys herself new shoes when it is time to get the boys new shoes, etc) because if she didn’t do that, she would never take care of herself.
    My point is, by taking care of yourself when you need to your children will learn as they become adults to take care of their needs so they can better serve the ones they love.

  2. Angie says:

    Why we can’t just take the gentle hints I’ll never know. As mother’s we often put everyone and everything first. We don’t stop until we get stopped.

    Glad you are truly on the mend now. May the sunshine today give you extra energy!!

    hugs to you…

  3. Laura says:

    this is a very touching post, letting go like that is huge and I admire you so much for it. Well done and now the celebration will perhaps have a new meaning, a deeper level for you? hugs and feel better soonx

  4. says:

    I love your blog. Thank you for putting your self out there. I have teared up several times reading various posts of yours.
    Sending warm hugs from Australia.

  5. Leanne says:

    I’m another of your readers sending a hug to you from Australia! 🙂 Thank you so much for your post; I really needed to read this tonight. I am a single mama, and have been putting so much pressure on myself about having no money for nice presents or any special food much this year! I have stressed myself about it so much that it basically totally ruined our Chanukah! 🙁 Your post just woke me up; I have totally lost sight of what it should be all about, which is NOT presents and money and fancy food – it’s togetherness, and time, and LOVE that are the important things. My kids won’t remember the gifts they were given in years to come, but they WILL remember if mama was exhausted, stressed, and cranky every year when the holidays came around..!!! Your post has inspired me to make 2013 the year of simple, real, small but made-with-love homemade gifts instead of overspending just for the sake of having stuff to give. And also to make 2013 the year I start making nurturing our spirits – mine included! – a priority ahead of spending money.. So glad you are feeling better, love. Love to you and yours this Solstice xxxxx

  6. Leanne says:

    (PS – you’re so right: the snuggles, and reading books together, and baking cookies, is what it’s all about! I’ll really be looking forward to reading about the new ways you find to nurture yourself; I really need to begin doing the same..). Thank you again! xxx

  7. Erin says:

    I have been following your blog for a bit over a year. My family and I are renting a very rustic cabin right outside of Viroqua Dec 23 and 24, looking for a quiet holiday. I was wondering if you had any thoughts about interesting holiday events in the area during those days, evenings. would love if there was a real live creche in the woods with the nativity somewhere. Just wondering. Glad you are better. I am also throwing in the towel this year for handmade because it would make things even busier and it seems to defeat the purpose. Thank you…

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