Months ago, in the pink city, my Indian friend Raj offers me a stick of kulfi from his favorite street vendor.
Oh, I couldn’t, I say, still digesting our afternoon plates of curry and naan, cookies and chai. I’m stuffed!
Not so, says Raj, as he pays the vendor, hands me the ice cream. You make room for things you love.
In my current season of life, I’m stuffed. There is a new baby to welcome into our world, a new book to welcome into yours. There are a million questions to field within my own four walls, a handful of which I can answer: What’s for dinner? Did you write the check? Can you pick up goat milk while you’re out? When’s the book tour? Will you pass the salt? Mom, how does a cloud know it’s a cloud?
I am stuffed, in the good way, of course. You make room for things you love.
I’ve had a long-standing, self-imposed rule about holiday cards. It’s simple, and sometimes not so simple:
Write something that matters.
Last winter, I hand-wrote long letters to old friends, staying up until the wee hours of the night as a fire kindled nearby. Red wine, Bing Crosby, the dogs snoring beneath the dining room table. I shared memories and dreams and half-regrets, none short on sentiment, none short on space.
This year, could I do the same?
OK, I say to Raj as the cars buzz by, as he reaches into his pocket to pay the street vendor. I’ll take just a bite.
Yes! he says, excitedly. Now we understand each other!
The kulfi feels cool to the touch on a hot afternoon. It looks rich, refreshing.
It tastes incredible.
I am remembering this.
I am remembering that big efforts are a series of small steps, tiny bites. I am remembering that a little bit goes a long way. I am remembering that space is perception. (That life is, too.)
I am learning that, when our days gets overwhelming, when things feel stuffed, when long holiday letters seem nearly impossible, there is room to be made.
In the spirit of abundance and kulfi, I head to Tiny Prints to order my cards early this year. They arrive in a flash, in their foil stamped and brush stroked glory, matching return address labels to boot. In lieu of long letters, I offer tiny bites. Each family member receives a timeline of highlights from a template customized on the back, small milestones to mark our year:
Scout: Resident party animal / crafts artisan spit bubbles / recent accomplishments include belly laughs and charming strangers / purveyor of pacifiers (takes night shift).
Bee: Local inquisitor / expert tower-builder and brother-soother / marketable skills include reading, whistling and riding a balance bike / current employment: dog feeder and unofficial fact-checker for the Wild Kratts.
Erin: Accredited scrambled egg maker / gatherer of dirty socks / equally proficient in kitchen dance parties and lectures / reigning Uno champion / author of Chasing Slow, now available for pre-order on Amazon(!!!).
Ken: Certified chili maker and fire-builder / highly adept at managing female emotions / carpentry phenom and endorsed foreman of toddler towers / business owner and master baby swaddler (also takes night shift).
The card is full of photos and musings; there is little space left in the margins for a message. But I know better. You make room for things you love.
A postscript for each, then.
You made my book what it was. Thank you.
Remember when you taught Bee to whistle? She hasn’t stopped!
Your chili recipe is still leaving its legacy. Merry Christmas!
Just a bite.
Ken’s grandmother used to offer two pieces of advice – in kitchens and in life:
- When making pasta, never forget to salt the boiling water.
- Always leave a postscript.
And I think what she was getting at is precisely what Raj knew, what many of us know, what we are continually forgetting in a season of what can sometimes feel like overwhelm, on a holiday where we’re often rushed and frenzied:
Make room. There is space.
For a pinch of salt, a slice of kulfi, a simple postscript.
For something that matters.
Or more precisely, for someone you love.
This essay was written for Tiny Prints; thank you for reading! Wishing you many postscripts this holiday season.