Although Friendsgiving is still a new tradition for our group, it’s already become one of the most anticipated events. Time set aside at the end of each calendar year to reflect on all that we have been blessed with, if nothing more than just a group of individuals who shower one another with love and support. A reminder that everything is okay and if it isn’t, it will be.
Jessica and Olivia hosted this year’s dinner party at their new place in Richmond. It’s a cozy home with big open windows where pools of sunlight drip over wooden floorboards, tapestries hang from the walls, and bouquets of flowers fill the spaces between.
A few of us ladies get together in the morning to begin prepping for the night. We climb into the SUV for a last minute shopping-trip-turned-jam-giggle-session. That infectious giddiness takes over every time we are in each other’s company.
Back at the house, we alternate between being chefs and interior decorators, taking breaks from tending to the food only to rearrange the house: setting up decorations, moving boxes and tables, etc. You could tell something wonderful was being created, but when it all came together, we were in awe. It was magical.
With the menu tackled and the house set and ready to welcome the remaining guests, we pour our first glasses of sangria and toast to a job well done. I say something mushy along the lines of, “Take a mental photograph, guys. This is our youth. These are the moments we will long for when we’re older.”
One by one, friends begin to pile inside of the house, expressing how wonderful everything looks and smells. We hold off on dinner for as long as possible. For now on, we won’t make the eating time 7 PM. When we can no longer take the aromas teasing our nostrils and watering our mouths, we squeeze in around the table, legs criss-crossed on the floor. Someone points out the indecency of us choosing an Indian-style arrangement for a Thanksgiving meal. Whoops. Total mind-slip.
We laugh at our oblivion. Another tip for future success- reconsider chairs. Noted!
I glance around the room and notice the purity in the happiness being shared. A warmth fills the air around us.
A feeling of contentment…
Like these friends are really family…
Like we know nothing else.
Envy and jealousy have no place at this table. We are all humans with our own happiness and heartache. Our own battles and our own bliss. We are all lost, but we’re lost together and there is a strange comfort in that.
For our first Friendsgiving, we kept everything pretty small; we didn’t bring along our significant others. Partially because it was during an awkward stage in US history where women really needed to stick together, but mostly because we didn’t know what we were doing just yet. Everything was trial and error and our success brought along the courage to do it bigger- and better– this year and I’m happy we took that leap because it became a perfect night of drunken reveling.
The hours following dinner become a blur for me. How many of those jello shots did I even take? We sing and dance around and everyone keeps handing out different types of drinks. Everything melts together.
Flash to the basement, where the guys find a concrete slab suitable for a drunken skate session.
Flash to the back porch, where I interrupt some intense conversations to hand out beers for shot-gunning.
Flash to the dinner table again, where everything that once filled it has magically disappeared, leaving nothing but room for games of Thumper and Kings.
Flash to the bathroom, where us girls travel in packs and talk about how much we admire each other during our most vulnerable stages.
Flash to sitting on the floor, playing with Cowboy Winston- World’s Cutest Kitten.
Flash to when the world began spinning. With sleepy goodnights, I find my way into Olivia’s bedroom and sink into the sheets beside her. I’m thankful for this bed right at the very moment I needed it most.
Flash to the next morning- apparently my husband climbed into bed with us at some point throughout the night. The blurred bits of the evening still haven’t come into focus, but if my surroundings indicate anything– all of our friends sprawled out together in a nest of pillows, sheets, and blankets along the living room floor and a kitchen cluttered with the remnants of a wild evening– I’d say we had a pretty good time.
I’m thankful to have the opportunity to re-watch these moments through my camera. Without it, I would surely forget the little details.
I’m thankful for the moments when I stop living inside of my head and just start living in the world.
I’m thankful for my life and the life of those around me.
I’m thankful for understanding the preciousness of time.
I’m thankful for love and the immense beauty of it.
Oh & some photos I found on my phone cuz y not:
Friendsgiving 2017, I will never forget ya. Well, like, the parts that I haven’t already. Y’know?