Photo: From Ursa Major’s first Christmas. Those curls… oh my goodness! I miss them so much!
I finished Project Vi at 6:05 this morning. 90,000 words and 8 months of work. I’ve been getting up at 4:30am every morning for the last two weeks to get the first draft done. And I did it. I’m so relieved.
Though I am at my maximum stress-load thinking about all of the things that I have yet to do before Christmas (including wrapping gifts for two little bears), I am also feeling incredibly reflective. It’s been one heck of a year.
Long-time readers who have been with me for a while will recall that I spent the first three weeks of my year between homes. Thank God for Mom. The boys and I started 2014 in one little bedroom in her house while The Husband stayed here at the farmhouse with no electricity in most of the house, no internet or tv… no kitchen… and mind you, he did it in two snowstorms! It was miserable. Ya’ll were with me during both moves (the “stuff” move and then the “people” move), and then through all of the struggles with our contractors. You all were with me when we finally said goodbye to them in in mid-February.
And you’ve been here with me as I’ve stumbled my way through our first year of home-ownership. Amazing, right? 3 DIY projects (the playroom, the bathroom, the dining room), the major work done, insulation put in (already we’re seeing incredible savings on our oil consumption), the big yard clean-up and grooming… you were here for it. This house is a home now. We still have a lot to do on it, including painting the kitchen and the living room, plus deciding what we want to do with the upstairs rooms. We’ve decided that, aside from the painting over the winter, we’re going to make 2015 the “year of the outside,” with the building of two raised beds, the beginning of some vegetable gardening, a razing of that ugly side flower bed and the creation of an outside play area for the boys. We have a binder, journal, and calendar dedicated to the project. Oh yeah. Big time doings, ya’ll. 🙂 I can’t wait to share in 2015.
The boys have had their own incredible year. We’re all learning how to survive and thrive through these two most tumultuous toddler years. Making friends with an awesome set of moms from the preschool, instituting a once-a-month mommy-night-out with those women, and having regular playdates with kids we like has been incredibly helpful for all of us. Having Ursa Minor in school for two mornings a week has also been helpful. They are going through challenging phases, but they are also going through wonderful ones, too. They are funny, they love music, they are learning how to share their worlds with each other, and they are learning that the world is a wonderful place to explore. Ursa Major has a very strong sense of self that has not changed and only seems to grow. He and I clash constantly, and I am not sure if that will ever change. But then again, I see his fierceness as an asset that will take him very far (if I can harness it. Lord, please help me harness it!). They are a joy, and it’s a joy to share their growth with you, dear reader. I’m looking forward to sharing preparations for our first “kid birthday party,” you know… where we invite some 16 or so kids to come party with us…. with cake…. and pizza… it’s gonna be a thing. And more playdates. And maybe summer camp? We need to start extracurriculars…. one thing at at a time!
And then there is this blog. And all of the writing that I’ve done. I’ve only missed a handful of posts. I managed to be Freshly Pressed twice (once here and once over at Black Millennial Musings), I’ve picked up some new friends along the way and lost a few others. Views seem to grow every single month (with my most popular post still being about when the In-laws invited themselves over for Ursa Major’s birthday two years ago). I’ve learned that ya’ll show up most for these Quiet Thoughts posts, and I find myself thinking about these Quiet Thoughts posts as early as Monday morning. I love writing them as much as you think I do, and I’m so grateful that you love to read them. I can’t promise major changes to this space or my schedule in 2015. Frankly, I don’t want to change too much. I feel like we’ve got a good thing going here, right? Let’s keep it that way. I will, hopefully, keep getting better at writing words that are meaningful to both you and me.
Speaking of writing, let’s talk about what I did this year. I submitted two short stories (both rejected), wrote a novella and published it to this site (I’m currently going through the critiquing process on Scribophile and getting great feedback!), and I wrote my first novel with the full intention of publishing it. I missed my published by 30 deadline and I’m ok with that. Because Project Vi is totally worth the wait. I’ll be excited to share more, soon. For now, like a good piece of steak fresh off the grill, it needs to rest.
And so do I.
I’m taking a vacation, my dear reader. A mental vacation. I’m not going to write a single word (with intent) next week. No posts. No fiction. No nothing. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go feed my brain for a week: I’m going to listen to music with my eyes closed. I’m going to read at least one book. I’m going to knit or sew in silence. I’m going to try to visit at least two museums (without babies!!???). I am going to pray and I’m going to meditate. I’m going to give my brain the food it needs to sustain another year of thinking. I haven’t done that very much this year, and I’m ready. I will keep my moleskine with me at all times, as I expect to receive little glimmers of the stories and posts to come. But no development! No intent! Just little bread crumbs to bring me back to the big ideas.
It’s hard to step away from the blog. I’ve never done it without having some sort of special posts pop up on the right days. It was impossible to make that happen this time around because of the holiday insanity. But I think that this is the best time to do it because I know that you all are busy, too. So let’s all come back fresh on the 29th ready to rock and roll. Maybe I’ll write about some chitterlings and pig-feet, which I must find for New Years (and it’s gonna be impossible to find those things in freaking Massachusetts!). What a great post— “My mad search for Black Food in the North”… I could write that now, actually…
NO! MUST RESIST TEMPTATION! 🙂
For those of you who read every post and write a comment every time, for those of you who pop in from time to time and let me know, for those of you who read and never comment, but who keep coming back… thank you. It means a lot that you choose to invite my words into your busy days. I am grateful that you come here, that you’ve continued to come here, and that you’ve been part of my 2014. I hope that I’ll continue to write words that will resonate with you in 2015.
Because it’s Friday, of course I have wishes. First, I wish you the happiest of holidays, whatever they may be and however you choose to celebrate them. I hope that you celebrate them with people who love you, and if you can’t, I hope that you can make a friend to share some time with. I hope that you indulge in one great tradition: that you sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is looking, share without reservation, give with the fullness of your heart, and receive with perfect grace. I wish you quiet moments to sit and reflect, to thank someone or something for another year gone by. I wish you one good goal for 2015, impossibly possible and enough to make you anxious to get started. I wish you a good hot meal, prepared by expert hands. I wish you a good hot meal, delivered by your hands to a person who needs it (or a donation of other warmth to an organization equipped to pass it on to others). I wish you the magic of seeing children wait for Santa, the joy of hearing their squeals of glee in the morning. I wish you a fantastic retelling of the miracle of the oil lasting for all eight nights. I wish you the flutter in your heart when you hear about a baby in a manger. I wish you food for your heart, your soul and your mind. I wish you sleep in a warm bed, for as long as you want, at least for one morning. I wish you the warmth of knowing that you are loved, fully and profoundly, near and far, known and unknown. Always. For no reason and for every reason. Because you are worthy of it.
Until the 29th, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Joy, Peace, and Love. Take care.