{Love}

Well here we are again, a year after my last blog where I promised more blogs… What can I say except life happened, a lot of it, and well quite frankly, I’m still recovering from it all. I feel like every year for the past several years has been “The Hardest Year of My Life.” I have lost very close people, I have gone through the process of closing a business, opening a business and then subsequently closing that business. I’ve been frantically searching and grasping for something real for a very, very long time. Through these ups and downs the past few years (there were a lot of both!) I really had a hard time processing the grief of losing my grandparents. I was suffering deeply internally, therefore I couldn’t figure out how to let them go, because I held them so very close to me my entire life. I knew that if I was in pain and then let them go, I would be completely empty. If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I bring them up on the reg in my social media posts. I use things of theirs almost daily, I talk about memories of them and mostly I have this desire to share the best parts about my childhood because I have the best memories from them! They were pretty awesome, a couple of my favorite people in fact, and when they passed (especially my grandma) I was completely and utterly devastated. They said things would get better over time, but almost 3 years in I was still crying over the death of my grandmother almost every day.

My Sister and I on “Bread Day” at Grandma’s House! She was really an amazing baker!

My Sister and I on “Bread Day” at Grandma’s House! She was really an amazing baker!

Just look how happy those two little girls are?! Of course I would crave that feeling of comfort and home when I was struggling so deeply. My grandparents were home for me. No, I will not go into the long and short of my pain and struggles at this time. You do not need to know the details of why I was unhappy or the events leading up to the past year. They are for me. But what happened most importantly, is that I decided to LIVE. And I’m not talking about the kind of “LIVE” I’d been living, where I felt like I was standing in the center of a tornado while the rest of the world was spinning out of control around me. I needed to and did make a drastic change in my life in August of 2018. It was the biggest, scariest decision I’ve ever made and subsequently caused many other people close to me pain, which as a chronic giver, was devastating for me to have to do. However, the prospect of continuing to live the way I was, simply was not an option for me any longer.

The last six months have given me the space, time and peace of mind that I needed to finally start healing from all of my grief. The other day I was speaking with someone about my grandmother and I had the abrupt realization that I had not cried over my loss of her in a pretty long amount of time. I thought at one point that this was just my new normal, that I would cry every day forever and that was just how it would be. I had not even realized it had started to subside but when I did realize it, of course, I cried!! But I cried because I was finally starting to let her go and that it wasn’t a sad thing anymore; that it was just time and I was starting to be able to breathe again. I can actually say with full honesty that I am beginning to feel happiness again, like genuine, smiling for no reason, happiness. No things definitely aren’t all sunshine and roses all the time but I feel amazing most days - which is a double edged sword because I know that people on the other side are still recovering from what happened.

So why this story? Its kind of funny, but Sugar Cookies! What do sugar cookies have to do with grief and happiness and all the things I talked about above? Well, because its February and February is traditionally the month that everyone gets big heart eyes and social media is blasted with pink everything that you need to buy to show the people you love that you love them. This brings up issues for me because I grew up watching my grandparent’s love, which was actually very simple, but deeply sweet and I want to share this aspect of how they loved with all of you. Hence - I blog.

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As a child, everyone gets very excited for Valentines day parties at school. You make your little mailbox and everyone in class writes out the silly little folded Valentines cards and someone brings goodies for the class to share. It was always so fun, but my favorite Valentine every single year were the ones I would get after school from my Grandma. She baked heart shaped sugar cookies with pink frosting each year and would make one cookie for every single person she loved and write their name on the cookie in white icing. I did not realize it as a child - I realize it as a grown adult who can no longer express my gratitude to her - but with that simple little treat I knew she loved me, genuinely loved me and wanted me to feel special on Valentines day. Then, there was the part about my grandpa’s love for my grandma, and how he contributed to this yearly tradition, which I will talk about below. This year, I wanted to do that exact thing for my kids.

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I whipped up some dough from my friend and favorite baker, Jenny Cookies, cookbook. It is the “World’s Best Sugar Cookie” according to Tori Spelling — so you know its good right?! Plus, I have her cookbook that conveniently has that recipe in the first 3 pages.

I rolled out the chilled dough and then it was time for the hearts!

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Ok, here is the part where I have to dote on my Grandpa’s love for my Grandma for a bit… They loved each other more than any two humans could love one another but you almost never would have known it. Their love was all about quiet, simple ways they showed each other they cared. They were married for over 50 years and my grandpa never even wore a ring, but after he died, she had a beat up old photo of him sitting in front of her in the kitchen, that she sat and stared at every day for 6 years until they were finally able to be together again.

My grandpa knew my grandma made these cookies every year for the people she loved and she had a need for the perfect sized, heart shaped, cookie cutter. That cool dude took an old Folgers coffee can out to his shop and welded this heart for his wife to use when she made cookies. That, my friends, is simply what it’s all about right there.

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I took one of Jenny’s cookie workshops about 18 months ago, and got to learn some great tips and tricks from her about baking and icing the world’s best sugar cookies. While my piping skills are not Bakeshop quality, I am improving every time!

I took one of Jenny’s cookie workshops about 18 months ago, and got to learn some great tips and tricks from her about baking and icing the world’s best sugar cookies. While my piping skills are not Bakeshop quality, I am improving every time!

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So I cried (not shocking!) and got very nostalgic while I was writing our names in white icing on those cookies. Not out of sadness though. Out of thoughtfulness, and intent and love! Love for my grandparents, that I had such an amazing example of what real love should look like. Love for my two children, that I can show them through my love how to navigate this sea of life. And self love, that I can begin again with the realization that everyone deserves the kind of love that is is as simple and sweet as having a cookie with your name on it and a partner who will make you the perfect cookie cutter.

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I want to write more. It’s inside me aching to get out. I don’t know if that will be in blog form or what seems to have become my online journal on Instagram or if I will finally start chapter 2 of that book thats in me. I’m not making any promises, but I honestly can’t wait to find out what happens!

Happy Valentine's Day Loves!