While hugs and high-fives are on hold, consider sending a doughnut proposal to connect with those you love.
“Will you be home Tuesday?” Nina asked me. “I only leave to take walks,” I answered affirmatively. “Ok good. I’m sending you something. It’s perishable. Be on the lookout!” This was an intriguing directive. What could it be?
Nina’s Tuesday delivery could not have been better timed. The package of perishables arrived at a moment when I needed a reminder of the value of our chosen bonds of love, the friends who we choose to call family.
The family we are born into is not a choice, and yet, there are a lot of expectations and obligations for the familial relationships. There are a lot of “shoulds,” which can yield a lot of pain. In the grand scheme, I was born into a family who has shown me love and support, so I’m lucky. However, my relationships have not been without their upsets, disconnects and lasting effects, which I’ve begun to unpack with more diligence and the aid of therapy.
Our closest family members know our weakest defenses. They have a full arsenal and know precisely which arrow will land at the target the fastest. On that delivery Tuesday, arrows had hit me with full force. I was able to see how the attacks were a means of defense, but knowing that defensiveness is what draws the bow back does not necessarily lessen the sting.
Much like Julep barking aggressively at other dogs, the arrows are a confused way of saying, “Don’t come near me, I am afraid you will hurt me.”
The wound was deep. I cried. I internalized the sorrow in a way that made my shoulders ache. I felt drained physically, mentally and emotionally. In the past, I would have accepted the insults as deserved, but with a new lens, I was able to see a pattern in the exchange. I cried, but I also walked myself through the tools in my kit.
Is there evidence for these criticisms? No? Then, breathe. Remind yourself of who you really are, who you know yourself to be. In the midst of that nurturing self-talk, my phone dinged with this alert, “your package has been delivered.”
I opened Nina’s surprise perishables, and I cried again, but this time, I cried tears of joy, laughter and delight. Nina sees me and knows me, and she knows how much I love doughnuts. Rather than arrows, she had sent chocolate, dough and sugar, the fastest but happiest ways to my heart.
A Doughnut Proposal
Nina and I have known each other since college and have joked about tying the knot for years. She is exuberant, hardworking, dedicated to making the world better and always makes me laugh. “Why not just marry your friend?” was our logic. Platonic life partners. Between us, there’d be a lot of coffee, dancing, wine and basil … all the makings of a really happy life. Well friends, Nina finally popped the question in the most ridiculous and delicious way:
The ball or rather, the doughnuts were in my court, so I packaged up my answer and left a perishable surprise on her porch.
I could only spell a rather indifferent looking “yea,” but I repurposed the question mark into an exclamation, so it would be more of a loud “Oh hell yeah!”
So my dear reader, I don’t know what your relationship is to your family, but my biggest hope is there are people in your life who love you and see you with the power of chosen family. Should you feel so inclined, you might want to send them a sugary doughnut proposal.
If a marriage proposal is jumping the gun a bit, there are more options. You can send other messages like “you’re the best!” It’s a very delightful way to connect while hugs and high-fives are on hold.
A Note About the Delivery Photos – I added the flowers to the packaging myself for the sake of the photo, and the laser-cut engagement ring was a separate but related gift from Nina. She really sealed the deal!