I spent my day doing many things. For as long as I can remember, holidays have meant heaps of food and love and people and places to go. And this year, I added an additional locale to the traditional stops.
I had breakfast with my immediate family, a time spent bickering, which between siblings, is a language of love. I then thought about the daunting task of Easter dinner with too many voices competing for top volume. And at these dinners I often become quiet, preferring not to compete to have my voice heard because too often, I feel like no one cares anyway. So I eat and drink and listen and observe. Maybe it is the writer in me or the introvert. Maybe I'll never know for sure what causes me to retreat into my own head during these family functions.
But this year, I had one more
place to go. Since I'd convinced the best friend to accompany my family to Easter dinner because "hey there are ranch rolls and homemade pineapple sauce and someone is bound to say something horrible so why not join in the fun," plus we've been friends for ten years and he still hasn't seen just how quickly these times spent all together can end in passive aggressive, hospitable hostility, just like so many families I know. But I digress. I was invited to brunch at his grandparents, two of the sweetest people I know. And of course I said yes because his family is my family and I hadn't seen them in too long.
I arrived twenty-four minutes late to his house, which for me is actually somewhat on time. I maneuvered his driveway as best I could whilst rapping "Guns and Ships" from Hamilton to an enamored audience, which included myself and said best friend.
I arrived at brunch with hand-painted Easter cards sealed in handmade envelopes because the watercolor paper wouldn't fit in a standard envelope. All three sets of of the Maher clan enjoyed their cards, not even surprised at my craftiness, because let's face it, that is a true sign of being in good company; people know you.
So I caught up with my best friend's brother's wife, who is also one of my best friends. We all talked about publications and writing and books and The Blacklist and decided on a dry Riesling because wouldn't that go better with brunch? And then we ate fantastic food, the best part being my best friend's homemade applesauce, which is something I akin to magic because it is just that good.
And while we ate, we accessed proper protocol for passing dishes, and just who was going to win Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit because in the room we had four hardcore Potterheads, two occasional viewers, and three people who knew a battle was about to ensue. We talked about future books and the "Bridge to Nowhere," in our town.
Then my best friend's dad said the most amazing thing that made me feel appreciated and loved and understood. He told us he was building wall-to-wall bookshelves in the downstairs den and said there would be a spot for my books there, too. I could've cried. Really I almost did. And the moment passed and I knew, I just KNEW I had to write about it here so that I would remember it.
Next we began Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit in which my team won by a single point. We learned the best friend's brother has a better memory than we ever imagined, and came to the realization that we are much too competitive, that we love Harry Potter, that we love each other. We seemed to understand that all of us are a bit strange, and thus we make up the most amazing collection of people that I call family.
When we played Bananagrams, I expected to win, but I lost, and went on a tirade about not knowing the rules and we laughed and the day felt perfect. And then I ate dessert and rushed off with a bag of my favorite sweets and a full heart.
* * *
I went home to prepare for dinner and finally opened my Christmas presents from the best friend, which were perfect, and I loved, and really we are two of the BEST gift givers ever. And then there was dinner, which was delicious. Sitting in a big house with a big family, I realized how easy it is not to appreciate the people you're related to by blood because maybe you think they have to be there. There are times during these events where I don't feel appreciated or understood and sometimes that hurts. Maybe this is because I am an introvert or a writer.
I do know that walking the grounds of the "manor" with my best friend while we argued about the ending of Snow White and once again discussed where Christoph's parents are in the beginning of Frozen (which by the way is like a taboo topic around me because the logistics of most animated films--Inside Out excluded--drives me nuts) was perfect and we laughed and wondered about life. I didn't tell my friend how much I needed the walk and talk, which at the time only made me think of Gilmore Girls and their walk and talks and for the love of God when will we know a release date for the revival? I didn't say anything about how much I loved the moment. Instead I talked about another moment I loved and how I'd written about it and my best friend smiled and I know he understood.
So now I'm home and I'm listening to Amy Poehler read her book Yes Please and I love all the hilarious and heartwarming things she has to say. And I found the quote above and knew it had to inspire this post. Because I've found a best friend who loves my madness, a clan of curious souls who never tire of my long-winded rants about Frozen and book ideas and bridges that seem to have no purpose. And they make me better. They've challenged me to let down my walls for them, they inspire me with their love and their appreciation for life and each other and pink applesauce. And they have changed me.
I think I needed them to remind me of this today and I needed this post to remind of such things every day. So here it is. And I hope, if you find amazing people like mine, that you will keep them forever.