It's been a while since I've shared anything here, but tonight, I felt like writing. Maybe it's with thanks to those of you who have checked in over the past 16 months to let me know you're thinking of my family; certainly it's helped by the gentle nudges of friends and family who ask when I'll write again. No doubt I have missed writing here and all it means for me (most especially, it means free time and energy enough to organize my thoughts, both of which are harder to come by these days).
Our days have been full and rewarding and a bit exhausting. In the hardest moments, I feel I've reached maximum capacity; four kids, two dogs, homeschooling, hockey, dance, rehearsals, teaching, attending births, keeping the house running, and keeping pace with my own expectations -- it all keeps me from having time to blog and brings me to ask some hard questions about the choices we make. I've been hesitant to complain about how hard things can be; no one said we had to do it this way. Could it be easier? What am I missing?
There are options available that, to outsiders, might seem to lighten the load a bit. But the upswing of questioning why we continue this way despite the challenges is a deeper connection to the values and ideals that brought us here in the first place. Beyond the real struggles of the daily grind is a powerful overarching sense of the real and tangible benefits these choices have brought; the closeness we share as a family, the satisfaction in a job well done, the lessons our children are learning, the never ending piles of laundry and housework... well, not that, really.
What I'm hoping to express here is the real sentiment that yes, these days can be hard and tiring, but completely worth it. If I were to do it another way, I think that sense of satisfaction would be missing. I feel obligated to admit that it's hard, but that is not meant as a complaint.
This is one of my favorite times of the year; it's tapping time. It's become a tradition around here the past three years, and I love the kids' genuine excitement for this work and their eagerness to help.
Really, if I skipped this, what would I be missing? The work of cleaning the equipment, gathering supplies, tapping the trees; the hours of boiling down sap and the sticky, charred mess on my stove -- all for the sake of some syrup I can buy at the store or the farmers' market.
I would be missing her first taste of sap from the tree, miss hearing her respond with a satisfied "mmm!" and excitedly saying "sap! sap!" over and over.
It's true; I have been missing uninterrupted sleep, a clean house, writing this blog regularly and hearing from those of you who read it.
But I'm happy to say that I haven't been missing the moments of joy that are hidden in all this work.