Sunday, 24 June 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

It is late on a Saturday evening, the summer heat is still more than obvious as I sit here knitting and writing with frizzy hair and an overwhelming feeling of heat induced malaise! My fridge is filled with 18 pounds of blueberries and 36 cucumbers. The plan for tomorrow is blueberry jam and bread & butter pickles. I'm knitting something a year ago I would not have had the courage to make. And on my knee, fast asleep is a little girl. My little girl. A year ago next month I met a beautiful girl and boy, who waited far too long for a family, who were separated for more than 4 years, who had more families than I can actually count. A little boy and girl who are now home. As I reflect on the last year, there have been some major challenges - dealing with children who have post-institutional like behaviours, who've been shoved from pillar to post, in less than ideal situations, isn't always easy. But it has been joyful, particularly the last month, when it feels like we've finally cemented.

And as I reflect on this year and this whole crazy rollar coster that is adoption, I've been thinking about the adoption of a simple life, or perhaps more correctly, a different life. It isn't always easy. In my frugal, simple, green journey it has been 2 steps forward one step back. I had a DISASTER with vermicomposting (lets just say there were hundreds, if not thousands of mites), I've had adoption costs spiral so out of control that years of saving and frugal living seemingly went out the window. I've had loss which resulted in moves and pain and a need to really examine the life I want to lead. I've struggle to learn some things that seemingly came so easy for others - casting on took me YEARS, baking is still too methodological and not enough "dramatic flair" (at least without disasterous results) for me. But there have been oh so many successes too. I now have a community garden where we grow our own. I've found a farm which accepted family volunteers, in fact we now "farm" once a fortnight as a family. I've gained the confidence to can and freezer cook and I've learned you can live ethically on very little. I've rid our home of plastic and learned to accept one can raise children without that which 90% of people believe is "normal". I've learned the best weekends are spent hiking, gardening, volunteering and crafting. But more than that, I've learned through the addition of my two children (one still on my knee, one in another room), that dreams do come true; they may take a long time to come to fruition, they may involve sacrifice and doubt and fear and questioning, but if you keep your eye on the prize, you will one day have it in hand.

My children are my greatest blessing. They are also my greatest motivator to keep learning how to be more green, more frugal and more simple. As a full time working mum to two children with special needs, with limited resources and never enough time, it can be so easy to get lost in what needs to be done. But as I look at their faces I find I have a reminder to clear the calendar and just be, to make that green sacrifice, to find joy in the need for frugality. They remind me daily if you keep on going, a year from now you may just be where you always wanted to be, or at least all the ways that matter. I know I am just where I'm supposed to be in this journey - a great place far ahead of where I was last year, but with lots of room to continue journeying ;)! How about you?