That’s the way the story goes!

This is a (pretty) self indulgent reflection post on the last 12 months.

It’s part of my annual process of saying goodbye and holding space for thanking the year just about to pass and holding the door open for a new one.

It’s been written in snatched moments, mostly in the dark in the in-between of the graft of motherhood.

My word of this last year was H O P E.

It’s served me as brilliantly as did the words I chose in 2019 and 2020.

I’d really recommend choosing your own word to help anchor you and expand and unravel your way… (my book How to Colour outside the Lines in 2022 can help).

/həʊp/ noun

a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing.

Different from the rest

We started the year with Dave’s health hanging in the balance in the depths of winter and the ridiculous intensity of home school.

With a new born baby to look after and recovery from birth with no family support it was quite the bleak and brutal opening of the 2021 door.

There was also a moment of clarity and deep knowing where I said; “we can’t and I can’t ” more than ever before.

I’m grateful for understanding my strength and all of the support our then 6 year old wove in. I’m so thankful we got to bond as a new family of four and for all of the community IRL and online that kept me going. I’m grateful the ashen face of my husband turned pink again and I’m grateful to understand why we experienced the hardships we did.

Rough as a Stone but Light as a feather

An ultimate test of resilience, we looked for and continued to find the bright spots.

Turns out there is so much sparkle woven between the sheets of pain, fear and worry. Even humour can be found – it’s odd and beautiful.

In February, we started to understand the issues with Dave’s mystery illness and we learnt it definitely wasn’t cancer.

Just holding our breath for the the only news bulletin we cared about to land with the words;

“… you’ll get better.”

…was all the hope I needed to drop my shoulders for the first time in four months and face the next steps eyes wide open.

I was ready to start sharing my experience and share the solace I’d found in creating.

Dark days, these are dark days

I started therapy in the form of postnatal psychology in Spring.

For my first appointment, I drove myself the 35 min drive to our local hospital with a tiny baby Luna-Jean and met the first therapist I really trusted – the wonderful Helen. Behind masks I
You sent
talked and she listened.

We agreed to continue online.

My husband hung out with the baby and I sobbed through over nine hours of online therapy unpicking and understanding a life time of trauma responses I had no idea lived within me.

At the very start I got sick. I was riddled with the pain of shingles – a harsh nerve response brought on my re-counting the trauma of birthing a baby alone in a pandemic and some deeply buried memories of similar emotional responses.

By the end of the sessions after a few more moons I’d allowed myself to cry over a Dad that never wanted me. It was the first time in over 35 years I’d felt any emotion other than indifference about it. The biggest shock was, I didn’t even know I held sadness about it.

Therapy is literal magic and I feel so much lighter and more equipped to be a mum to my children without constantly abandoning myself in the process.

I heard there’s an easier way…

We’ve been on quite a road with understanding our son’s way of seeing the world. He’s had so many breakthroughs this year as have we around owning our own neuro diversity.

I am grateful that at age seven he can now read and write and for the support of his school often re-writing ‘the rule book’ often at our request.

I dreamed I dreamed of the Bonny…

I’ve been outside every single day in 2021- I’ve felt my body gather it’s strength and Qi as I’ve pushed LJ in her buggy up the same hill. Each time a pace to suit the tune of my body in the hope vigour and brilliance finds me again.

I’ve taken part in an incredible online writing course with other mothers and I’ve learnt how I wanted to show up in the world for my clients and mums curious about creativity’s impact on our wellbeing.

Using my own milk to feed my daughter is an absolute privilege and I’m so grateful it works for us. I mostly find it so relaxing and down regulating and I have a very happy and content little girl!

One life is a short time

Lockdowns have made me feel eternally grateful for our beautiful cosy home. As we head into another winter and we’re inside more I can often feel hemmed in. I’ll maybe heal that wound next year?! Either that or we’ll earn enough money to move?!

Gardening has been a BIG WIN this year! I’ve watched you tube tutorials on how to grow Dahlias and been inspired by insta legend Dahlia Beach and had beautiful blooms all summer long that just made my heart so happy! The first photo of my first book was in front of home grown cosmos!

We invested in a tipi for the back allotment garden space and we’ve had a right rollercoaster of an adventure with it so far but we’re looking forward to inviting folks to heal, create and spend time in it in 2022.

This is the beginning of the rest of your life

Ever grateful for the friends at the fulcrum, the community as we step out of our door (front or back) and new surprising connects of elders too.

There’s been a pathway of reconnects and some that I want to leave severed in the past holding on to beautiful memories and letting go of the hurt caused.

I’m ever cautious and realistic about how much time I have to nurture friendships and the expectation of “being and feeling a good friend” and what that really means woven in with everything else.

Flashbacks to the only place I know I belong

We’ve screeched into the end of the year and arrived.

We celebrated with my Mum and her parter this year and it felt so special. My mum continues to amaze me. She’s the queen of bouncing back. Earlier this year she temporarily lost her speech. Just watching her cook an incredible Christmas dinner in a party dress, a piny and heels just because she wanted to reminded me she’s a constant inspiration to me.

So 2021, you’ve given us reason to more deeply understand life’s vulnerability and why piecing things back together in a completely new way shows us not only hope but much congruence. Perhaps hope is the balancing part of staying vulnerable enough to share your gifts?

I’m so grateful for your lessons and if it’s ok we’ll part ways here?!

“The hardest of the game,
Isn’t even playing the game.
It’s caring enough to care about playin’ the game.” This and all other lyrics in my headings are Gerry Cinnamon.

Thanks to my husband for introducing me and our baby (each nigh at bed time) to his Scottish no nonsense lyrical ways!

Hope you have a magical end to your year.

Claire x

PS – My online shop is open – you can find my book ‘Creativity Island for Mums – The Journal’ here and my ebooks too.