Yes, it’s that traditional time of year where I get to remind you that we used to look like this:
And now we look like this:
Advent blogging has been sparse this year. We are deep in the winter dark of getting through the days, adjusting to new places and spaces and the seeking to be gentle as we all try and figure out who we are in this new world.
I can be found knitting wool chains together for Christmas decorations that may be ready by Christmas Day. Or rewatching Miranda to make me belly laugh at the end of long days. Or being surprised that we all seem to sleep past 7 these days. Or drinking many cups of tea around our kitchen table with my lovely sister in law. Or watching all our boys figure out how to play together.
In the midst of all of that I encounter the man I’m doing all this with, we walk past each other, smile wryly, roll eyes, catch a laugh, swear with exasperation at whatever is causing angst in the house once more, stare exhaustedly, kiss deeply, read out lines from articles that might help explain our youngest’s behaviour and have the occasional snippet of conversation.
He works in his cupboard, warmer than the shed but less cut off from the storms which sometimes rage in the house. He comes out from work, takes the boys out, cooks food, learns more stuff on the sly and brings laughter to us all.
12 years we’ve walked down paths together. You could read about those years in the blog posts I’ve written at the end of each one. Each year unfolding in strange and unexpected ways and yet consistent in the delight and gladness I feel about being married to this man. He is relentlessly optimistic in the face of my loud despair. He sees our glass as overflowing whilst I drain the dregs and wonder how we will walk on. This man is deeply good for me.
This year he’s launched further out into freelancing, sweeping up his teaching and training gifts and applying them to the world of coding and development. He continues to astound me in his drive and passion for learning and embodying that line from Hamilton ‘I’m looking for a mind at work, work’. He’s settled more into who he is as a person and his health has been steady for most of the year. It’s been a treat, as ever, to live life with him.
This year we decided that, both being in a fairly good place, we would rock the boat of our world and see what happened when you change all the externals of life, living back in his home country, seeing what it felt like to write a new book of life together.
I’ve written about that before. We don’t need to go over the details again. Suffice to say that it’s his energy and passion that enabled a wine infused conversation one evening in June to turn into a new adventure in Northern Ireland by late autumn.
And so we walk on, side by side up the mountain. This photo was taken in the hills that we can see from our bedroom window. We walked in them a few months before getting married, all those years ago, on a trip back here with friends. Today we will hopefully walk on their slopes again whilst our boys have fun with their Aunty, cousin and Granda.
We walk on. Held in a bigger love, because of a bigger love and here I find myself running out of superlatives to express how much I love this man and the life we are living together, as we dance, give each other space, cheer each other on, get irritated with each other, poke fun at each other, are familiar with each other’s long term weird ways, enjoy each other and keep on slowly, steadily holding on. Seeing. Knowing. Not going anywhere.