As summer slowly melts away; the days get shorter and slightly cooler, the nights longer and darker... and if you're anything like me you start feeling a little melancholy, deeper thoughts start swirling around, and that winter chill creeps into the mind somewhat.
Okay - so that is a little dramatic; but changes in season generally leave us deep-thinking folks pondering a little bit more... This particular change of season, as we head into the cooler months, has got me thinking about seasons in our own lives.
It has been a particularly 'cool' year for us - we have had a year of almost constant ill-health in our house; sure we might get a good week or two here and there, but over-all we seemed to have battled cold after cough after infection after tummy bug; and so it goes on. It has been literally twelve months - starting in April last year, with 'lil M getting 'Hand, Foot and Mouth' on his first birthday; we'd just come out of six months of almost perfect health, and while I was expecting the winter onslaught, I wasn't expecting this.
The finances are TIGHT, like squeaky tight... again, this is a choice we have made; I want to be at home with the kids, and that means one income in Auckland, and the required sacrifices that go with this. But it feels like we are stuck - unless something dramatic happens in the next 12 months; the past 12 months are an indicator of the coming 12; which pretty much were a carbon copy of the previous. In the ten years (almost) of marriage, we have had 18 months of two incomes - that is it. We never had the chance to get ahead, to save for that house... just circumstances; health, changes of career, associated study etc.
But - I keep reminding myself, this is 'just a season'! Like the constant ill-health, and the sleeplessness... One day we will look back on these years with fondness, and we won't remember the hardships; rather the cuddles, those sweet smiles, and the gorgeous children that make it all worthwhile!
And; while we are in these tough days, we are still moving forward... there is no excuse nor time to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves, because otherwise when change does come we won't be ready; and it could easily pass us by without realisation.
So while we are waiting for those elusive changes to happen - we sit and plan, we budget, we study, we dream and we change our lifestyle.
Currently we are working hard on our eating habits, and me on my cooking; we don't want our kids growing up on sugar, fast foods and preservatives. We are buying more whole foods, and I am cooking from scratch - some of this is essential due to allergies within the family (including, but not limited too: gluten, dairy, fructose, refined sugar... and possibly egg and nuts as well). But while the allergies were the key to the changes, they no longer rule the changes - it is now us making the rules, and choosing what our bodies consume. I like that, I like that sense of control; because when we first became aware of the possible extent of the allergies, control slipped right out of my hands. It felt like everything was falling in around me, and while it is still difficult - I look at it as a challenge, and I am standing up and winning this challenge. My daughter is not going to grow up missing out on anything, she is going to grow up independent and healthy; and able to make good choices for herself. I love that I am teaching my children, through example, how to make good choices for themselves now and into their future.
We are also working hard on our 'budget', studying, and discussing the possibility of me going back to work part-time in twelve months when 'lil M turns 3... just for 20 hours per week, and just until our financial position has improved.
I'm dreaming of studying nutrition, and maybe one day being able to make my own recipes - whole foods, nutritious foods, family-friendly foods, and allergy-friendly foods. Maybe one day I will see some of these in a recipe book; like Eleanor at Petite Kitchen has done, she has her own recipe book just out now, and as an avid follower of hers - I am SO excited for her, and hoping to grab my own copy one day! It is possible! I am hoping hubby can one day bring in enough money, so I can stay home and cook all day; wahoo! That is my dream, my goal.
And as a step towards that goal - I am going to put together a little pamphlet for some of the other parents at my daughters Preschool, with our favourite allergy-friendly snacks. Some of the parents are really struggling, and just need a little encouragement; a little help on what to feed their kids that is not only healthy but also safe. I am really excited about this, and really looking forward to being able to put it together; but I think what I am most excited about is being able to encourage another. I have been there, I have struggled - but am in a good place now, and I want to see others come into that place.
So while outwardly, the season hasn't changed much around here; inwardly the warmth of spring and the promise of a brighter future is starting to take root. We are beginning to plan and hope, to see past the ill-health and the sleepless nights (which are coming to an end, I'd better add - he sleeps through more often than he wakes now; whew), the lack of finances and the endless cycles of washing!
We are daffodils, slowing poking our heads up to greet the warmth of the sun, as spring approaches!