The last few weeks have been stressful. There was the difficult news we received last week, obviously, to which we are still adjusting. Ultimately it wasn't so much the test results themselves that threw me, or even the possibility of a diagnosis that comes with that. It was the sobering reminder, intruding into my blissed-out pregnancy haze, that anything can happen at any moment, and that often, no matter how fiercely we love our babies, there is nothing we can do about it. It doesn't bear further thinking about actually, and so as I said, we have instead focused on processing the possibilities before us as we move forward.
But naturally, daily life doesn't stop for that process of adjustment; work has been especially hectic recently, with me taking on some particularly high-needs clients while also racing to
But forget about all that for the time being, because, dear readers.....on Sunday afternoon we set off for nearly three weeks of holidays in Austria and Germany, during which we'll have ample time to catch our breath, (re)count our blessings and just be together as a little family. <little happy dance> We prefer our holidays low-key and don't go in for any of the prevalent consumerist frenzy. There'll be some obligatory family engagements, but for much of the time it'll be just H and I, while we house-sit for his folks as they're abroad. Long hikes in what are sure to be enchanting snowy landscapes, chancing upon alpine huts offering warming food and crackling log fires, exploring ancient castle ruins. Christmas markets and gingerbread and chocolate and twinkling lights and woolly socks and sleigh rides and skiing. (And oh yes, the gluten free diet will be violated.)
Aaah. Deep breath. I can't wait.
In German there is a word for all this: Gemütlichkeit, which my German/English dictionary defines as any situation 'inducing a cheerful mood, peace of mind, a sense of belonging, coziness and unhurry'. Yep, sounds like just what the doctor ordered.
And the Austrians excel at it, particularly at Christmas. You guys, they are the Kings of Christmas. It's like being dropped into a Santa's village/Sound of Music mashup, with really good home cooking on the side. (And to balance out the saccharine sweetness of that image, they have this badass guy as part of the traditional festivities too.) Every corner of every street festooned with markers of the holiday season, but (with apologies to those who are fans of the more-is-more-at-Christmas school of decorating), not in a tacky way. No tinsel or glitter, but rustic and homespun and charming. Every open space is transformed into a tiny wonderland of a Christmas Market; little wooden huts selling the famous gingerbread and stollen and glühwein (though this year it'll be only the kinderpunsch for me) and impromptu outdoor, mittened social gatherings that seem to burst out spontaneously as everyone stops in their busy workaday lives (not that the Viennese are well-known for that), to slow down, smile (not that the Viennese are well-known for that) and just savour. And
And really, that's what I'm wishing for all of us in these waning days of 2013. I hope that wherever this finds you, you may encounter moments that bring you peace of mind, a sense of belonging, coziness and unhurry. May our hearts be happy and find peace, in whatever form it comes.
In looking back on my feelings towards the year that is passing, I think Freddy and Co. really say it best.*
* Also, how can you not love the 'stache/tank top/santa hat combo?