Attitude Makes The Occasion
Highlands TodayI love flowers and fresh vegetables, but I hate gardening. I love a clean house, but I detest housework. I love cooking, but I dread washing the dishes. I love decorating for holidays, but I hate packing it all away.
Published: March 8, 2009
Published: March 8, 2009
Are you seeing a pattern here?
To have and do the things we love, we almost always have to endure some things we hate. For every pleasantry enjoyed, there is an equal and opposite "unpleasantry" to be endured. In fact, in most cases, the greater the delight, the greater the pain in the neck.
Sometimes the pain or hard work precedes the joy, as with childbirth. Sometimes it follows, as with a tickertape parade. And sometimes both, as with staging a big event like a wedding or a party for 200. The joy is sandwiched between the crusty hard work of planning and the crumby nuisance of cleaning up.
But once in a while, if you're very lucky, along comes one of those rare and wonderful occasions that are pure delight, through and through - where you wouldn't change one moment, not even the hard work before or the mess after.
Recently, I helped with a wedding shower for a cousin who is very special to me. As the three of us who planned it were discussing decorations, we kept thinking about weddings past and reminiscing about them. Soon we realized that those weddings were the perfect theme for our décor. So we all went back home and started pulling out old things packed away, the older the better.
We decorated the tables with ladies' hats from the 1940s and '50s, gloves, lace handkerchiefs, brooches, and strings of pearls. We even ordered a cake with gloves and pearls on it. While the guests ate, we played music from the '40s, '50s and '60s and gave prizes to those who could name the old songs and artists.
We decorated several old hat boxes, stacked them in front of a lattice screen and piled keepsakes of all sorts around them, including two hand-painted glove boxes that belonged to our great grandmother. But the piece de resistance was three vintage wedding gowns that had been worn by my mother and two of my aunts, circa 1940, 1944, and 1953. Satin, lace and seed pearls, once white, had aged to a creamy ivory, almost more beautiful than ever. Beside the dresses we placed old black and white photos of the bride and groom from each of those long-ago weddings.
It would have been a lot less work to just buy some decorations. Hanging crepe paper streamers and plastic wedding bells would have been simple and quick compared to steaming three wedding gowns, recovering old hatboxes, and rounding up enough antique hats, gloves, and jewelry to decorate nine tables. But the delight on my mother's face, when she walked in and saw her wedding gown restored and standing there, was worth every moment. What started out as just a shower became a celebration of our ancestry.
The bride-to-be became the next link in a long chain of family history. I hope it made her feel honored and special, because for me and for her aunts and cousins (who did most of the work), it was a labor of love. Even packing it all away was fun.
Maybe that's the difference. If I could just learn to face everyday chores, especially the ones I hate - gardening, housecleaning, washing dishes - as a labor of love, maybe they'd be fun too.
Yeah - when pigs fly!