Oh yes, and happy festivities of whatever sort you may celebrate! We're a Solstice/Christmas kind of family here. We ended up having a lovely Christmas. We had a very busy morning involving cooking and cleaning. We had our feast (a paleo meatloaf with apples that was delicious but very crumbly), and some other stuff I can't recall. Kids were very excited but things went well. We went to Church and the kids were in the Pageant, which included my youngest child (playing the role of the cow) doing push ups. Last year she burst out in interpretive dance, so it's par for the course, really. Thankfully, it's a family-friendly parish! We went by our friends' house on the way home, and the kids had a blast, as did the adults. We got home, got the kids settled into bed and quieted down. Five minutes later, my daughter (the aforementioned cow) threw up all over the place. I think we had the classic parental reaction, especially given that the stomach flu had been all over my local friends' Facebook pages. Yes, it involved swearing.
Thankfully, she either ate too many sweets or my husband gave us all mild food poisoning by using expired condensed milk and sweet potatos in the pie, who knows. We all felt crappy but were fine the next morning. We had our Opening Of All The Things, got packed up and headed to the in-laws. I've been knitting up a storm, and FINISHED A PAIR OF SOCKS!!!! Apparently I was half-way through sock 1 in October of 2009, so...well, yeah. But, I've been plugging away, and I finished sock 2!! My SIL was very excited and commented several times on how much she liked them, so I had her try them on for me.
They fit, so with a "Merry Christmas!" the socks became hers. Because I love finishing things so much...I promptly cast on not one, but two different socks. (One is sock #2 of the KPPM socks referenced in the above-October 2009 post). I was making a pair of Spilly Jane's mittens, but the fish weren't popping enough from the background so I'm going to redo them in different yarn, so I took the colored yarn and started a sock with it. I think I'm getting re-energized with sock knitting! I love to wear handknit socks!!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I told my husband the other day that I really wanted to put lights up before the Solstice. I wouldn’t call myself a pagan (though the Beliefnet “What Religion Are You” quiz put me 100% at Neopagan, then Bhuddist, then UU, HAH!) but honoring the Solstice, the shortest and longest nights of the year feels authentic to me.
I think it’s no secret that I’ve lived through my share of darkness. There are many labels you can apply to me, some of my own volition, some not, but the one I used to hold to was that of survivor. Now, however, I prefer to think I’m in my post-surviving, thriving phase! And honestly, does any thinking, feeling, aware person get to be 42 and and not have had their share of darkness? I have a *good* and meaningful life, one I’ve fought very hard to have. I used to feel guilty for my blessings, but these days I just work hard to appreciate them, to deserve them every day. I just turned 42 and decided it’s time to dump the guilt.
So, for me, honoring the Solstice, especially the Winter Solstice, is about acknowledging the truth of light and dark in the world, and in my life. Here in New England, it’s been getting darker and darker. It has a big impact on mood, on energy, on the simple rhythm of the day. Even though I know that Winter hasn’t even hit here, that we’ve still got months of ice and snow and shoveling and slush ahead of us, it gives me hope to know that it will be getting lighter. I don’t think about it as the light vanquishing the dark, because isn’t that also the reality of life? That just as the light comes, so does the dark? Honoring the Winter Solstice to me says “I know the dark is there, and real, but so is the light. And light is coming.”
By honoring, I don’t mean that we’re doing any elaborate rituals or anything. The Solstice is at 5:30 on Thursday morning, so I hope we’ll be asleep! And Thursdays are busy for us, I work, the kids have school, we’ll go to Karate, I’ve got approximately eleventy-billion Christmas presents to wrap. By honoring, I mean, I’m going to take note, light candles, turn on the outside lights to light up the long dark night. I’m going hold my family close, like I do every day, and try to live in the light as much as I can.