We're on day 6 of 12 of our family love holiday. It's been so great having all this time together as a family even though both Kevin and Nixie are now really poorly and we've spent these past few days lounging and relaxing at home but we did make it out to the forest for a beautiful walk this morning which really did me good but I am so happy that we were able to have our big holiday celebration before everyone got super sick.
This was a year of many firsts, and this holiday season we didn't celebrate Christmas as we have done in the past but instead our big day has become the Winter Solstice, celebrating the coming of light & we decided to have our big day coincide with the solstice celebration at Stonehenge.
This year as we got closer to the holiday season Kevin and I really began to think about what traditions feel right for us NOW as the people we have become. We both grew up celebrating christmas in the traditional ways but there was never a sense of any deeper meaning to it all and we both feel so strongly that if we are going to celebrate something it needs to resonate with our heart mind spirit and soul. Christmas just kind of became something that we did just because it's what we had always done but now with Nixie in our lives It is so important for us to give her a life of deeper meaning.
So this year was the start of many new family traditions and it has easily become one of my favourite times of the year.
The first weekend of Dec we go pick out our tree which we call our Love Tree (this is something we started doing the year Nixie was born) and the tree itself, an evergreen, symbolises the eternal life force of the universe and of life, rebirth and renewal. Each year we decorate more hearts for our tree filling it with love as a way of bringing more love into our lives for the next year.
And during the longest night of the year very early in the morning on the 22nd of Dec. we set the alarm for 3:30 in the morning so that we'd be ready to leave the house by 4:45 to make our way to Stonehenge. What better place than to celebrate the birth of the “new sun” than at Stonehenge. Kevin and Nixie headed to the car before me so that I could quickly put all off Nixie's presents under the tree so that when we returned back home she'd be in for a big surprise. I loved the fact that she had no sense of anticipation for getting any presents whatsoever for this time of year!
We arrived just as the car park was opening but it was filling up so fast, if we had left any later we may have missed out on a place to park. Once we got Nixie bundled up we headed to the cafe for a coffee, the line was long so Kevin waited in line while I chased Nixie around the visitors center. The path leading up to the visitors center from the car park was lit by little round lights and Nixie loved them and this was where she ran back to first. To her these little lights were moons and we spent ages jumping from moon to moon while she proclaimed her love for them. There was so much going on, so many people, dressed in so many different ways, people playing music and getting all excited about being there. But Nixie was in her own little world, having the best of times running through crowds of people, at one point she ran down and in the middle of a very organized queue for people wanting to hop on the bus to the site and went underneath the barriers, I couldn't keep up with her without bumping into several people but no one cared, everyone we came across was in such good spirits and just helped me keep up with her! She ran all the way around the visitors center and back to her little “moons”.
After a pretty long wait Kevin finally made it back to us with coffees in hand and we could set off to the site. Annoyingly I forgot the torch, not that we really needed it because other people had them which lit up our way but because I really wanted it for Nixie, she would have loved it! She wasn't really in the mood to walk at least not in the direction we wanted her to go in and she didn't want to sit on Kevin's shoulders so we had to put her in the backpack which she didn't really want at first either but after just three seconds of protesting she was happy with the arrangement. I think walking to somewhere in the dark must have been such an adventure for her, she was being so sweet wanting to hug me most of the way which didn't make it the easiest of walks especially for Kevin, but it made it an amazing one, I can never get enough of her hugs, they just fill my soul with so much goodness.
There was something so special about walking to Stonehenge in the dark especially as you got nearer and could hear the drumming. I felt so emotional. I loved how on this day thousands of people from all over the place all join together to celebrate the coming of light. It felt like we were in some sort of a precession like they had in ancient times past.
As we got nearer to the stones the energy around us became amplified, the sound of drumming coming from all directions, so many smiling people around us, young and old. In the centre of the stones there was a druid ceremony taking place and it felt really special to be there. It was still dark out and a very cloudy morning which made it feel even darker than it would usually. We never did get to see the actual sunrise but it didn’t matter, just being there was such a great experience. It was a lot for Nixie to take in, I think at first she was a little overwhelmed with all that was going on especially the drumming, she's not such a fan of it as she says it's scary. she had that very same face that she has when riding Tomato, that serious poker face she gets when she’s having a big experience and needs time for it all to soak in.
When we got her out of the backpack she seemed right at home and immediately started to explore her surroundings, but at first she just wanted to get away from all the excitement and headed into the direction of the fields and past the rope that acts as a barrier to the site during normal days. She just wanted to run and run and run! And when she wasn't running she spent ages playing with the ropes surrounding the site. We really wanted to get back to the stones and all the music but Nixie did not share our thoughts, she was having too much fun, completely in her own world squealing with such delight at just going over and under the ropes. Her whole face was the absolute epitome of joy! But luckily this didn’t end up being our entire experience of stonehenge because eventually she had enough of running through the fields and playing with the ropes and we made it back to the stones. I think she just needed a bit of space from all the excitement to get her head around things and to feel relaxed and grounded because once back at the stones, she didn’t shy away from all the crowds and instead relished in trying to run through them! But for us that made it quite challenging because chasing after NIxie with backpacks through hoards of people is never the easiest thing to do! And at one point all she wanted to do was try to get into the centre of the stones and this area was packed with bodies and if you’re an adult you could not make your way in but NIxie could just rush past between peoples legs like running through some sort of maze. Luckily, once again, everyone was so sweet and kind and understanding and helped clear a path for us so that we could keep up with her.
We met a lot of amazing people including a woman who was wearing a unicorn mask, and for Nixie this was such a mind boggle. At first when she saw the unicorn she just had a quick look and rushed past but then she stopped and turned around to have a really good look, you could tell she was trying to make sense of it and then you could see that she finally came to an conclusion as if thinking to herself, “I know! I'll feed it!” because she rushed to go get some grass, and not just any grass would do, she really searched for the best pieces and then ran back to the unicorn and threw it at her feet, this went on for about 20 min, the woman with the mask on had a good giggle and thought it was the absolute sweetest thing. I really would love to know what was going on in Nixies head in those moments!
Another of our new traditions this year is to write down things we want to let go of and we do this while we're at stonehenge and Kevin and I took turns having some quiet space to do so while the other is chased nixie around. For us this is a time of reflection,a time of acknowledging the things we need to let go of in order to make way for the new and also a time for us to think about our hopes and dreams for the coming year and to put these intentions out into the universe.
After a few hours of being there feeling energized by all the music and all the happy people, feeling so relaxed, happy and full of love we decided it was time to head back home and to continue our day.
But before going home we had one more thing to do, we had to visit the woods. It was time to symbolically let go of the things we had written down and to plant new seeds for our hopes and dreams. I had imagined that we'd all have a beautiful walk in one of our favorite areas of the forest and then when we came upon a spot we felt a connection too we'd light a candle and have a few moments of stillness and meditate on these things and when ready we place the papers into the flame setting them free. To symbolically represent our hopes and dreams we brought with us seeds to put into the earth. But it didn't quite happen that way. Nixie had fallen asleep in the car and we just didn't have it in us to wake her so instead we parked our car next to an area we love and it happened to be right next to one of my favourite type of trees, a Douglas fir which I was instantly drawn to. So instead of having this magical walk in the forest with the three of us it was just me and Kevin a few meters away from our car while Nixie slept peacefully inside.
But it was obviously meant to be because it ended up being such an auspicious experience. As soon as I walked over to this beautiful Douglas fir, a Robin appeared and he stayed so close to me & followed me as I was searching for a good place to put our candle. I have always loved Robins and their inquisitive nature, but this little guy took it to a whole new level, he wouldn't leave my side and was singing to me and we kept having these little moments where we'd be completely still just looking into each others eyes. Once I found a good place to put our candle and lit the flame Kevin and I had our own little meditation. We kept everything to ourselves and when each of us felt ready we began to burn our pieces of paper. During this whole time my new little Robin friend was right next to me, only a few inches from my hip. And when I took my seeds out to symbolize planting my dreams and hopes so that they may grow this little Robin got even braver and hopped directly onto my hand! I really didn't mind at all sharing my seeds with him after all the Robin symbolizes renewal and new birth and having this unexpected connection with him couldn't have happened at a better time.
Nixie didn't start to wake up until we arrived home and I started getting her out of the car seat. When we got inside and she discovered that there were all these presents under the tree the look on her sleepy face was priceless! Her mouth and eyes opened up so wide and she paused for just a few seconds until she said with such sparkly eyes, “presents for me!” and started opening them. You'd think that she'd rush to open them all but that's definitely not what happened! She took her sweet time, she actually didn't finish opening them until just yesterday 4 whole days later! She is the first person I've ever known to not want to open her gifts! It's like she was savouring each one.
The rest of the day was spent cooking, baking (we actually made Swedish Kanelbullar, which only happens once a year), eating and just being together as a family. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Just being with the two loves of my life fills my entire being with so much goodness, love, peace and happiness.
It feels so good to have begun all these new family traditions, traditions that are truly meaningful to us and resonate with our souls. And I look forward to experiencing all the new memories these traditions will create in all the years to come.
It has truly been the best holiday season so far. It was such an amazing morning, i love this new tradition of ous, i love that it has a symbolic meaning to us and feels right to us.