A Fall Fête, and Why

It's November, which means we've been knee-deep in this crazy stage of life for eleven months now. We're tired. Everyone says, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." But sometimes you need a party more than you need a nap. 

The pacing of this stage of life is really screwy. It alternates between extreme slo-mo (particularly during weeks of sickness, like this one, that include entire mornings spent in a steamy bathroom and entire nights awake playing medic) and 10x, where I️ race around like a maniac, literally running from place to place, trying to juggle work, basic needs, and self-sanity projects. It’s a constant question of where I️ am on the caffeine—alcohol spectrum at any given point in the day. 

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Some might say that the answer to this dilemma is to take it easy, and that the answer is most certainly not to use your precious free moments to make 65 soft pretzels and 120 cupcakes, or to invite 70 people to invade your house. But what if it is?

What everyone sees is the finished product--the effortless party and the big fat marshmallows. What they don't see is the self-doubt at pivotal moments the week before (before parties, and, yes, before every big adventure), the inevitable low point where I ask Jordan, usually over a pan of burned sugar, "WHY AM I DOING THIS AGAIN?" He always answers with some version of this: "Because you have to do this to live. Because if we don't do this, it means we're not really living, we're just surviving. And...also, because you're a little crazy." 

Six years ago, we started the tradition of throwing this party, mainly to celebrate all things autumn and make good things for our friends to eat--and, okay, because we had a park-sized backyard and wanted an excuse to give real tractor hayrides. This wasn't the year to break with tradition, but not because of the lack of tractor in our California yard. During one of the most challenging years of my life, this party is a reminder that there's a Big Party ahead. This season might be defined by frustrating minutiae, Middle-East-caliber 3 year old negotiations (I should have gotten a degree in conflict management, not violin performance), and constant adaptation, but this season doesn't have to define me or jeopardize the things we love. Sure, there are times I need to rest--and not just power naps at the YMCA during shavasana--times I need to learn actually to take it easy. But I think for some of us, particularly those of us built especially for imagination and creativity, there is a powerful tonic in creating, in exerting yourself for something extraneous, in exercising not just your body but your imagination, in creating beauty for the heck of it, in inviting others in. It burns energy of one kind, but it produces energy of another kind. It keeps you a little bit sane along the way, too. And, you know, so do the Irish car bomb cupcakes. 

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