Affectionately Yours

Sorry I haven’t written here in such a long while (for those of you trying to keep up with me!). As life usually does it ran away with me, gripping my hand tightly and my feet flew from beneath me. Unfortunately life usually gets to dictate how I spend my evenings but I have stolen this evening to bring a little bit of wonder to you.

I have always found affection to be tricky. Not that I have a hard time giving away my affection. On the contrary I immediately love someone and slowly grow to loathe their existence. The tricky part has always been earning someone else’s affections. Not necessarily the romantic kind, as that is far too complex for me to ever fathom, rather the kind of affection one feels toward a close friend, the family pet, or a sibling.

You see, the issue stems from the way my parents garnered my affection. My mother would buy me things. Oh, you’re so mad at me aren’t you? But how can you be mad at me when I just got you this new toy!! My father tried to win my affections by letting me have a puppy, or taking me fishing. C’mon, we’ll go do what like to do. You can see why I never developed a good way to make friends with people.

As this is the case I’ve had very few close friends in my life. After a fiasco with some friends in the sixth grade I had nearly decided that friends weren’t something I needed. Friends are just too much work, they take time and patience I didn’t feel like I had to give anymore. Then I started talking to this girl in my seventh grade class. I can’t even tell you what we started talking about but we haven’t stopped talking since. She’s the friend I never knew I needed. As with most things, our friendship just happened.

Since then I have made a few friends, and when I say friend I do not take the word lightly. The people that are my confidants, my companions, and my fellow warriors, they are my friends. And slowly but surely I have come to understand how to be a true friend to those people. Though, I must admit I have been known to buy some incredible Christmas presents. (Just in case my way of doing things doesn’t pan out!)

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For the Love of Eating

When I was much younger my family used to get together constantly. We would all gather at my great-grandparents’ house for food, fun, and family. My favorite part was always the food. The deviled eggs, macaroni salad, banana pudding, and my favorite: my great-grandmother’s chicken n’ dumplings. I used to call them fluffy white clouds and I loved them.

There was just something about the southern comfort food I used to eat as a child. All the rich flavors and mouth-watering scents. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything better than the dishes that would be served at my great-grandmother’s house. Maybe it was because the food served as a little reminder of how much I was loved by those around me.

Many years, and a few heartaches later, we don’t get together at my great-grandmother’s house anymore. She’s been in a nursing home for a few years now. I’ll probably never have her chicken n’ dumplings again. But I think the worst part about her growing old is that she doesn’t have the strength to hold our family together anymore.

When I think back to those days I get a little sad because my little sister will never get to have those memories of playing at our great-grandmother’s house with everyone around. She was too young to remember all the great times we had there. I can still imagine the living room. The smiling faces taking up all the available space. I remember running from my great-grandfather’s bees in the back yard and playing basketball with my cousins. I remember how great the sun felt.

In the digital age we’ve lost the need to be as close to our families and neighbors. Why get to know your family when you can just text your friends? We’ve all become strangers to everyone around us. In an age of microwave dinners it’s not even necessary to sit down as a family and have a meal. I remember my great-grandmother letting me help her in the kitchen, some of my favorite memories are when we bonded over biscuit dough.

Maybe I’ll go outside today and get some fresh air. Or call someone to ask about those recipes.