Last weekend, I constructed 144 boats with my own two hands.
Out of cantaloupe.
And striped straws.
And polka-dotted card stock.
You see, I only eat food shaped into forms of transportation or cute baby animals.
No, that is definitely NOT me. I don’t require any special packaging for my meals; like any good German, I’ll eat anything that can be dipped in ketchup or chocolate.
So, before you jump to conclusions that I am some over-achieving Pinterest junkie with a house full of DIY candle holders and monogrammed drawer organizers, you should know: I am not crafty. I own a single dried up glue stick and a smattering of gray markers, all without caps.
But after assembling a full fleet of melon boats, I consider myself a sailor. There should be some recognition after hoisting all those sails (and fielding all the questions about my melons with a straight face to the man in the grocery store).
I like a good party. This typically includes a few bottles of wine and some good friends who won’t leave the table when my laugh turns into a snort and my jokes get dirtier than a drunk uncle. It rarely includes sculpted food.
But, when the occasion presents itself, I like to host big. Big cakes, big decorations, big food, big drinks … and big detail.
And I become big and bossy.
Send me into Michaels with a coupon and a cause, and I turn into a craft addict. An unskilled, ill-prepared craft addict, that is. All of a sudden I’m sure I can recreate the parlor of the Titanic with a little metal spray paint and a glue gun.
And Pinterest is like the naughty, but beloved, best friend you have from high school, who encourages you to just try it once. “Here, watch me first … then you try it yourself,” it screams. And this time I caved to peer pressure like a freshman at her first tailgate.
The offenses included:
Nautical napkins ties.
And, yes, cantaloupe boats.
For an ADULT party, mind you. I’m sure there was more than one party invitee who feared I might strap them into an orange life jacket and hand them a paddle upon walking in the door. Or, God forbid, make them dive for beers in the hot tub.
Thankfully, I am surrounded by gracious people. Lovely people who probably would agree to wear a life jacket while ordering gin and tonics and munching on shrimp dip. Forgiving people who refuse to tell me my barn door is split wide open throughout my entire weepy speech and only laugh quietly into their cups as I bounce off a screen door onto the deck (with the exception of my siblings and husband who fully embraced the opportunity for ridicule — on microphone).
Forgiving people really are the best kind for me to be around.
And after enough punch to get the uncles dancing and the musicians crooning, I paused and heard someone snort mid-laugh; the contagious kind you share with only the best of friends. And I looked down at my sleeping baby, passed out from hours of running with her cousins, cheeks smeared with chocolate fruit dip, and forgave myself for thinking my love for these people would shine strongest through color-coordinated utensils and witty parting gifts.
An impromptu sing-a-long to “Halleluiah” broke out at midnight underneath the stars on this first warm night of spring, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for family that forgives theme parties and bossy captains.
Gratitude for friends who will laugh until the sides hurt and drink happily from plastic cups.
Gratitude for being taught to love big, no matter how ridiculous.
Gratitude that screen door had a little bounce left in it.