Firstly let me say that I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that 2016 is everything you want it to be.
The six of us that make up Scottish island family were all together this Christmas although we did miss Molly’s man, Scott, who was with his parents this year. I always consider it a blessing when we are all together because it is not something we can take for granted. The children are mostly adults now and have their own lives to live. If they choose to be at home then we are blessed. Molly arrived back on the island in time for my birthday and we all had the best of times including a very long game of cards on Christmas day which the youngest member of the family won….again! I proudly took up my last place as always. My Grandfather would not be impressed with me but he would think that I had taught my children well – too well obviously!
Family time continued into Boxing day with tired souls having a second Christmas dinner and then back to our own spaces. We try not to over-indulge but it is difficult with all that is tempting at this time of year. I refuse to go mad in the supermarket and I was truly touched this year when the eldest two insisted on making a financial contribution despite my best efforts to resist. On Christmas day Harry stepped up to assist his father with the Christmas lunch and Molly and Harry helped me with the washing up. I witnessed a change in the family dynamics this year as our adults are now fully fledged and keen to make more of a contribution to make it all a wee bit easier on Pete and I. I felt blessed all over again.
I do have to admit to a battle between my inward and outward state at this time of year. All year I worked closely with charities who support less fortunate people all over the world. I raise awareness and funds throughout the year and in 2015 I was also able to assist in the training of five young charity workers. I bear witness to some real horror stories and I am always acutely aware that my contribution is a drop in the ocean. So, outwardly, I love Christmas and all that it means to my family but inwardly there is a part of me that struggles. As I sit down to Christmas lunch I feel it most acutely as I consider all the people in the world who do not have the same privilege. It would be wrong of me to share those feelings at that time as the family are so happy so I keep them to myself. I make a silent pledge to do even more for charity the following year and I know it is a pledge that I will deliver on. Be it raising money for the people of South Sudan in a combined attempt to lift them out of their state as the world’s secret humanitarian crisis or it be knitting more warm blankets and hats for refugees the work will continue and it will settle me once more.
I admit that by the time Christmas day is over I go into a state of complete exhaustion. This time of year is the busiest for me and then there is getting ready for the family Christmas on top. Once I start to relax my body starts to scream at me and stamp its foot as well it might. It matters not as it is part of the rhythm of the year and January is my primary incubation month. It is in January that my best thinking takes place as I consider the year ahead. This year is slightly different as I have already done some of my thinking to ensure that I could launch my next Scottish island mum challenge on the first of January. The premise that underpins this challenge is that seeking and maintaining a feeling of wellbeing is a vital part of a healthy existence and that this is especially important with chronic illnesses. With the support of Fibromyalgia UK I am undertaking a challenge that I hope with not only develop an enhanced feeling of wellbeing but also tackle some of the more debilitating symptoms of the illness. Scottish island mum is going to take a walk every day for a year. This challenge will be documented on its own site entitled Walking for Wellbeing and there are lots of ways you can get involved if you choose to. Seeking wellbeing will be our communal goal and we shall see where this journey takes us. Do not be put off if walking is difficult as it is not how far you walk that matters but how your steps make you feel. We shall walk beside each other the whole way and see where we are at at the end of the year. If you do not want to join me walking then you might like to sponsor me. Fibromyalgia UK and UNICEF are my chosen charities for this challenge and all I ask is 10p donation for every walk I take. Potentially we have £36.50 from everyone who is kind enough to sponsor me and this will rise considerably if more people are able to help. At the end of the year I encourage you to chose whether to donate your funds to UNICEF or Fibromyalgia UK and I will remain grateful for ever.
Scottish island mum will go a wee bit dark in January as always as the site is redesigned and new pages added. As we enter our 4th year as a wee community I look back with so much pride in all that we have achieved. Without you guys none of it would be possible so as Scottish island mum takes her first steps of her new year long challenge she will know that she has many people right by her side.
Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy 2016.