My days are long, but my years get faster and faster. I am sure I am not the only one who is wondering how another year has gone by so quickly.
I love to reflect and reminisce. It helps me to remember my life, capture the lessons I am learning, enjoy the memories, and stay present to how much our kids are changing. I went back to the first day of this year on my camera roll and scrolled through all the pictures, remembering the events, recalling how I felt in the moment and realizing how much the kids have grown this year.
There were many highlights of 2021, more than I could ever fit in one post, so I just chose a handful to share with you.
HIGHLIGHT: We have really enjoyed what I refer to as the “golden years” of parenting this year. Our children range from 10 to 4 and that feels a lot different than when we had our first three in 3 years, which gave us a newborn, 18-month old and 3-year old. Phew. I prefer this season of parenting much more. My concern for their emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being has increased, but I’ll take that any day over the labor of keeping babies/toddlers alive. We have interesting conversations, we laugh about a lot of things, their personalities have blossomed, they are developing their strengths and they are all very independent. This is the first year we have all of them in sports, so we are always on the go and the logistics of our life are complex, but I still prefer this season and it does not feel as hard as the earlier days of parenting.
LESSON: Sometimes we think the current circumstance we are in will always exist, but the only thing that does not change is that life always changes. Be discerning and wise about the big decisions you are making based on your current circumstances, which will eventually look very different.
HIGHLIGHT: Something that has contributed to more “ease” in our parenting life is the agri-community we have lived in for three years. I do not know if there is a neighborhood that does community life better than we do here at the Farm. And we have stayed living in community together for the past two years, despite being countercultural. There are about 30 children in our small community, so there is always a friend to play with, an activity to do, a trampoline to jump on, bikes to ride, an open door, an adventure hike to take in the woods, a pick up game of frisbee golf or football in the field, a dog to play with and a community gathering to look forward to. It has been a healthy (physically & mentally) environment for our family to live in and it keeps our kids busy, occupied and learning relationship skills within a safe community.
LESSON: Humans are meant to live in community with each other. It is always our most healthy option.
HIGHLIGHT: It has almost been two years of Cliff working from home, which has been a big change in our world. He still has the same workload (a lot), but has had the flexibility to be more engaged in family life, and there is nobody we love to have around more than The Daddy. It has been silver lining that has come from the past two years of unprecedented crazy.
LESSON: Invest in a great pair of noise canceling headphones if you have 4 kids and work from home.
HIGHLIGHT: My entire life has been a health journey (see blog post: https://www.allllthethings.com/post/a-different-kit-with-a-weird-lunch ), but we took it to the next level when my son was diagnosed with an autoimmune challenge almost two years ago. We have learned a lot about food, gut health, homeopathy, supplements, fermentation, immunity, melanocytes, health care options, environmental toxins, light therapy, and the list goes on. Eli’s healing & health journey has been a gift to our entire family as we have all worked to encourage him and make sacrifices on his behalf. I have appreciated the opportunity to support him, pray for him and connect with him at a deeper level. We spent a week in Boston in the fall to take Eli to see a doctor at UMASS who specializes in his health challenge. It was an amazing family trip and we are grateful for the care that is available to us as we continue to walk out the journey.
LESSON: God works for the good of those who love Him and He can always use hard things for good.
HIGHLIGHT: We get to add another human being to our life very soon. Rowan Grant Lauchlan is due in just a few more weeks. I think we thought we were done when we had our Lydia Lulu 4 years ago, although we never really officially decided. We never drew a hard line in the sand. We tried to not let the hardship of parenting 4 young children cause us to make an official decisions, because circumstances always change. We stayed open. There are so many things that have changed for us over the last 4 years, that we could have never anticipated, that played a big role in our openness to have Rowan, a new person who will impact the world, just as every new life does. We are all looking forward to this new adventure and we can’t wait to see his squishy little face.
LESSON: What’s one more?
Scroll through all your pictures from this year. What were your highlights? What did you learn? What were the hardest moments? What were the most joy-filled moments? What can you improve on for 2022?
Live intentionally this year because time waits for no one. Year 2022 will go by faster than 2021.
Have a very Merry Christmas,