This rosy brunch, a precursor to the COVID crisis, was a celebration of a few of the female bonds in my life. It was a celebration of what makes each of us unique and a celebration of what we share. It was my effort to look at my calendar, and my photos, and my posts to see if my values matched my life. Was I defining myself with work, or was I making time to foster relationships? Was I taking action, or was I falsely relying on "someday" and "sometime?"
I wanted my Valentine to know he is "simply the best," and while I may not be able to sing and strum the song like Patrick, I can say it in chocolate. Thanks to fellow devoted fans on Etsy and time in the kitchen creating these chocolate peanut butter roses, I conveyed that message with a very Schitty Valentine, which of course, you could turn into an any-time-of-year care package for the Schitty's Creek fan in your life. <3
I have found my new Bible, so I can't help but proselytize. I have been so wholeheartedly recommending and repeatedly quoting "The Art of Gathering" to my "pod," I'll have provided the thorough CliffsNotes before they turn their first page. So... why do we gather?
If someone told me a few years ago, "Relationships take work," I probably unintentionally rolled my eyes. Then I probably [intentionally?] shot tonal daggers from my hazel irises at this brilliant interlocutor. All these snarky eye rolls implied, "Ok genius, but I am a worker. I can even be an obsessive worker. Some have been so bold as to call me a workaholic, so why, why, WHY could I not seem to work on, or for, or in my relationship?" No one seemed to have a handy guide for that work. No one offered the faintest clues as to what that work looked like. It was an interview without a job description, so I went on my own freakin' journey, one wrought with plenty of pain, mistakes, mourning, and a fair bit of baking.
Maybe Valentine’s Day makes you cringe, but I would encourage you to see the holiday as a gentle deadline for sending and showing love to friends, family, and romantic partners. This year, I’m harkening to my elementary school days, when we’d craft mailboxes, position them on our desks, then await the delivery of Valentine’s cards and a bounty of candy hearts.
Like snowfall on Christmas morning, this past year, I saw a brighter beauty. The soil, the roots, the dormancy of my past life still existed in me, but there was so much sparkle in this new coating, so much brightness. I wanted to pull all the warm moments close to my chin, like snuggling under a protective winter quilt. There was so much warmth to this Christmas, much more than a day. This is how I Christmas'd in 2020...
As a kid, I was always searching for traditions. I orchestrated (read: made my family suffer through) an annual Christmas play with my best friend, complete with violin and piano solos. There were spreads or ring bologna, cheddar cheese, and soda. As an adult, I’m still searching for traditions, but now I err on the side of prosciutto, smoked gouda, and wine. It’s all too easy to let traditions slip away, to avoid the effort, or to overstress (hi!), but these intentional celebrations enrich our lives.