As the year comes to a close, it's natural for us to reflect on what the last 12 months have brought, revealed and challenged us with. And I feel like it's been a big year for me.
I wrote last year, that 2014 was a year of quiet and healing. It was by far the most emotional of my life; a year of heart-breaking lows and heart-mending highs. It was a year of firsts without my Dad and firsts with Coralie; the strange reality of my Dad never meeting Coralie, and yet their lives overlapping in that way is something I think about often.
It turns out that 2015 has been a year of understanding and growth for me. I guess in many ways I didn't realise it at the time, as the months and seasons slipped by, but here we are and it's dawning on me how much I've changed this year. My opinion, feelings and thoughts on so many things feel more grounded, more true. I feel like I've discovered more of myself this year than I ever have before.
Over these last weeks, in the midst of exhaustion and illness, I've found myself awake in the middle of the night, joining the dots. And while it's been a journey, and one that on many levels I was thrown unwittingly, kicking and screaming into, the last two years have taught me so much about myself and the person I want to be.
* I think motherhood is a journey that none of us know the path of. It winds and flows in every direction, sometimes all at once, and the best we can do is learn and understand and stay true to ourselves and our instincts and beliefs. Birthing Coralie and those first six months of sleepless nights and attempting to forge some kind of routine and normality in the throws of grief, was hard. Indescribable, really. But as Coralie has grown, and as all four of us have, we've hit a stride in these last few months that I feel in sync with. There have been challenges, as there always are in parenthood, but Ben and I have come out stronger and more united than ever. And our girls continue to blossom and thrive. They are truly my greatest achievement and, oh! My life, my existence, it's all for them, for Ben, for our little family. I want to be present, to listen and understand, even when I find it hard to. I want to smile and laugh and continue to forgive and forget the little things that can sometimes seem like the biggest things. Because they're not. I want to take more moments to myself to breathe and stay calm and centred; to think. And I want to see those moments as a blessing and necessity not a failure.
* I want to relax in this new found freedom that is body-confidence. It's not so much getting my old body back, because that really hasn't happened, but it's understanding this new body of mine. This amazing body that created and grew and birthed and nourished my babies. I have a new found respect for it, and am in a very happy place where I no longer feel like I'm fighting it. I'm happy, and despite being heavier and softer, I love it more. I aim to listen to it, to strengthen it (but gently with pilates I think) and I will embrace this feeling and share it with my girls. To love oneself. To stand in front of the mirror and feel proud. And I will enjoy every mouthful of steak or creamy chicken Ben cooks and every bite of that chocolate bar he brings me home as a treat.
* I aim to continue simplifying. A term thrown at everything now, I know, but one I've really identified with this year. In all aspects of life, I hope to be less cluttered. To hold onto only the things I truly love. I've started well in 2015 and feel so much clearer because of it.
* The mix of motherhood and grieving has pushed my love of style and fashion away, as far as it ever has been, but over the last six months, I've felt it return and it's different now. It's about those few choice pieces - not necessarily expensive (the charity shop is still my number one) but thoughtful - about finding the balance between practicality and desirability; for my wardrobe and our home. Clothing-wise, I've got rid of those fall-back items I just chuck on because they're easy, yet which I never feel good in. I deserve more than that; whether I'm at the park, at home or out for lunch. I aim to buy less, but make it count.
* I want to use my time better, to use it purposefully and use it well. To achieve the little things and the big things. The things I need to and the things I want to. I have a few projects I hope to develop and work on next year, and I will need to utilise the afternoon naptimes, the nursery times and the early evenings as best I can, but I know it will be worth it. I'm excited to see what that time will bring.
For me, 2016 is about thoughtfulness. All these things come back to that. It's about taking a moment to decide what I want; what I want to buy, say, do, achieve. I want to take control and make the most of this year. Breath in every second of my babies, of this moment in our lives, seize every opportunity and make my place in this world count.