We gathered – around a table in my back yard, overlooking the apple orchard, on a cool and breezy May evening. No masks needed now. Beautiful smiles all around.
We ate and drank – beautiful platters of food filled the table. Each person bringing their own specialty – delicious cheeses, soft lemon bars, homemade guac and chips, skewers filled with cheese, tomatoes, and shrimp, and a fruit and nut platter. And some summer rose to sip as we nibbled.
We talked and laughed – about work, family, the upcoming summer. About the crazy year we were experiencing. Just about stuff.
We relaxed – We sat and ate and drank and talked for hours on a Monday evening. It felt like we could just stay like this all night. It felt so good to spend time with colleagues off of Zoom, gathered around, laughing and just being together.
We need to do this again….soon.
“Just say, ‘Thank you.'” my dad advises when I try to deflect compliments. He’s right most of the time, but this time “thank you” just didn’t feel like nearly enough. It was Sunday evening and I was heading to bed after a most spectacular Mother’s Day. I tried to express to the girls and my husband how much the day had meant to me.
“I can’t tell you how touched I am by all you did to make this day special.”
“Thank you for making me a mother and for being the most wonderful daughters.”
“Your kindness and thoughtfulness is beyond….just beyond.”
“Thank you for a day of fun, love, and spectacular food and entertainment.”
None of it seemed quite right. None of it felt like enough, but I couldn’t keep blabbering on like this. I wanted so badly to capture all that I was feeling with words, but I couldn’t do it. I wanted so badly for the girls to know how full my heart was. Even as I lay in bed thinking back on the day that started with my coffee and cereal served on a paper doily, a beautifully set table filled with handmade cards and the most thoughtful gifts, followed by brunch with my dad, stepmother, and extended family (for the first time around one table in more than a year), and then on to a walk along the beach, back home for some crossword puzzle solving and newspaper reading, and then fancy appetizers and the New York City Ballet Gala, a most delicious dinner of my favorite swordfish, and finished off with a game of Baby Boomer Trivial Pursuit and doughnuts from THE best doughnut shop around, I struggled to find words.
Maybe there aren’t words for this. Maybe it’s just this overwhelming feeling of joy and love and gratitude that can’t be captured. Maybe I shouldn’t even try to capture it. Maybe I just need to let it fill me up. Maybe I just need to savor it and hold onto it as long as I possibly can. I guess I just have to trust that my family knows that they created this experience and that I thank them. Maybe I’ll just have to leave it at that.
Do you want to come over for dinner?
How about if I order some pizza and we come by for an early Sunday dinner?
I haven’t said these words for over a year! COVID has kept us from seeing our friends and family over the dinner table. We have done our best to stay in touch by phone or Zoom. We have gathered outside around firepits. We have had meals together, but sitting at separate tables, at least 6 feet apart. We have taken walks with masks and more recently, without.
But this week, Tim and I gathered on several different occasions with friends and family (We are all vaccinated, of course.). We gathered around the same table, inside, and without masks. We talked and laughed and ate and drank for hours on end. We hugged on the way in. We hugged again on the way out. We made plans for our next dinner gathering.
I’m feeling some normal. It feels so good.