It’s my birthday.
I’ve struggled a bit with how to mark this day. Do I celebrate the passing of another year or let it slide by without notice?
It was a long year.
We bought a house. We tangled with the local wildlife. Again. And again. We expanded our poultry flock and lost most of them. We started a garden and lost most of it to the weather and the geese and finally, when I became discouraged, to the weeds.
It was a learning year.
We slaughtered our first chickens. I performed my first surgery on a goose, relieving him of his pain from bumblefoot. I read everything the library had to offer on raising geese and ducks and bees and backyard orchards. We built our first fence. And I learned how to make jelly from the flowers growing wild on our property.
It was a hopeful year.
We bought this property full of dreams for the future. There were dreams for the land, dreams for our family, dreams of what we could do as we labored together. Seeds were planted in the ground and in our lives. New life sprang forth in my womb and I gave birth to a brand new baby boy. The miracle of new life touched our family for the sixth time.
It was a heartbreaking year.
We lost a son. And that seems to overshadow everything else.
But there was so much more to this past year. His first steps. His first words. His delight in the “chickie chickies” and the way he stood down the geese without any fear because Mommy was standing right there beside him. His love for outside, the tractor, “nanies” and his family. His wonder and his joy for the every day that so often made me slow down and think how beautiful life is right now.
And that’s why I can’t say that 36 was a bad year. A horrible thing happened. A horrible thing that has changed me and has changed my family. But my precious little Tiggy was with me for ten of those months and even if I could I wouldn’t trade the beauty of those days to escape the pain of losing all the tomorrows we thought we still had to be with him.
So what kind of year was it, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, dreams and heartache? I think perhaps it was a year of life and of learning just how precious that life really is.