December 30, 2017
Though we've spent our (adult life) Christmases in Maine, Alberta and the Gaspe Peninsula, the place we've had the most Christmases is Nova Scotia, at my parent's house.
When we lived on the Gaspe we often hosted Christmas because with snow and skiing right outside our door we wanted to stay put and make the most of our Christmas holiday doing activities we loved outdoors, so family came to us.
Those were good Christmases but going to my parents for Christmas is a gift, especially in a year like this one.
Christmas is a lot of work and energy - the food, gifts, decorations. And for our family, scattered as we are across eastern Canada, Christmas also means hosting out-of-town family. Though I've enjoyed hosting Christmas in previous years, this year going to my parents was an incredible gift.
Although we put up a tree and did a wee bit of decorating in our apartment, I didn't have much energy for making Christmas, the celebration, happen.
Life is seasonal. We go through ups and downs and sometimes we need help and support in those down times and Christmas with my parents and my brother's family this year was like that. It was a support in a difficult and stressful life season. Not only that but it was restful and fun!
Christmas Eve caroling
I really rested at my parents, and took a mental break from "all the things" that occupy my life right now. I still did a fair amount of cooking and I did the meal scheduling and other planning involved in hosting twelve people for multiple days (management is my gig). But when that's all you have to do there's still plenty of time for sleeping in, walks, napping and reading. Thanks Mom & Dad for this gift.
At the end of our 7 day trip (two of those are 14 hour driving days) both Damien and I came home to new jobs. Damien secured a full time job the day before we left for Nova Scotia and he starts mid-January. He'll continue to work from home, it's a remote position, but he'll be employed by a company (with all the benefits that confers) instead of working for individual clients, a situation that wasn't meeting our financial needs.
My job has started already, the day after we returned from Nova Scotia. It's baptism by fire as I stepped into the position during a time of high work volume. I'll tell you more about it later. It's still so new and fresh.
This is not how I usually end the holiday, with a focus on working but it's what is necessary. I've been looking for part-time employment since September, and I've started work on other projects and small contracts, and with the addition of this job I think I've pieced together a viable part-time work solution.
Christmas dinner before the power went out
I'm cautiously optimistic and I'll tell you more about it in the future, after the dust settles. For now, I'm setting aside the usual tasks of end of December/early January to focus on working and I hope to catch my breath, and do my usual reflecting and planning in the second week of January.
Christmas dinner after the power went out, candlelight and headlamps
We'll be flying by the seat of our pants for the next week in the housework. We came home to an empty fridge and I won't have time to do a big shopping trip till midweek, next week. I feel like such a newbie at this part-time work gig. We're in transition, which I'm never comfortable with. But it's needed change and I'm grateful for the work which will help us dig out of the debt.
There's a lot more swirling around in my head and heart that I'd like to digest and explore: the spiritual significance of these transitions and the changes that continually sweep over and through our lives - is my family ready for this change, am I?; the frigid cold we're experiencing in Montreal (I love it, it feels like such an honest winter); my relief and gratitude at finding work; the many questions I have about how and if my current jobs will help me reach my long-term goals, goals which are hard for me to articulate (ideation and vision-work are not my strengths) but lie within me like an ember of hope and desire, nascent dreams for who I want to be, and how I want to live.
Lots to process, not much time in the moment. Here's hoping I'll be able to preserve those precious days I've blocked out on the calendar marked "planning and reflection".
Happy New Year. See you in 2018.
Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.
You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.
If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.