Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Today I am grateful for relaxing holidays. Yup. That’s us. All relaxed over here. But it hasn’t happened by accident. It happened by design.
Every year for the last 20 years or more, we’ve held a Christmas Brunch following the Wassail of our good friends. It was started because they would have a lot of family visiting from out of town for their event and we housed the over-flow. Since I had to make breakfast for everyone anyway, I hosted the whole bunch at our place.
I loved every minute of it. Even making gluten free, vegetarian, non-lactose dishes was not a problem because you do what you have to do for the people you love. But for the last 14 years, since we’ve lived in the town house, it’s been more difficult to manage logistically. At the old place I had a lot of main-floor storage. Here everything is kept in the basement. That means a bazillion trips up and down the steps.
I used to be able to pull off this event while still working, doing the lion’s share of the shopping and chopping after work, until the last few years. Now, even though I’ve been retired for a while, the tasks still take me longer. Last year I shopped at three different stores to get the ingredients I needed. It took me three days of prep and a full day of cooking to get the food ready. None of that includes cleaning the house, setting up extra tables, the bar, the coffee, etc., etc., etc. It’s a lot of work for just the two of us and we are not getting any younger. For several years I pushed through sciatica, trying to smile through excruciating pain. Another year I had bronchial asthma bordering on pneumonia which I didn’t realize I had, landing me in the hospital in January. Last year I learned (the hard way) that I have arthritis in my hands and could barely hold a pencil after all of the chopping. Big events take their toll.
On the way to Wisconsin this fall I was thinking about how I usually have bought some of the food I need for the brunch by now and cut it up to freeze for later. And how I’ve usually baked a few zucchini breads or other things and frozen them, too, and how I hadn’t done any of that this year. I casually said to Himself, “How would you feel if we stopped doing the Post Wassail Brunch?” He looked at me like I was from another planet, then asked, “Do you mean it? I would LOVE that! It’s so much work and it takes a week to set up and a week to get everything back in order and I’m tired.”
We sat on our decision throughout our seven weeks in Wisconsin, discussed it again on the way home and sent out the email to those involved explaining our reason for cancelling. They were wonderful about it and totally understood. They even planned a get together at a lovely restaurant for brunch and treated us. I imagined that as the day approached I might feel remorse, but it didn’t happen. Even now all I feel is relief. I guess it was time.
If you are stressed, I highly recommend making a decision to flick something off of your plate. There must be something you can live without. Ask your family. You might be surprised to find that what you think is important to them really is not. The reason we look like we are having a relaxing holiday in this picture is because we are! I hope it lasts.