On Wednesday, my nephew turns one. On Wednesday, I will not be there. The good fortune is he won’t remember. Still, I will.
But I need him (and you — and me I suppose), to know that I woke up on Saturday happier than I’ve felt in years. This is not to say I don’t have my happy days. I do. But this breed of happiness is the childhood kind of glee that you grow to recognize later in life. It’s waking up on a rainy, sunless, bitter, winter day warmed to the core, knowing that you are surrounded, embraced, enveloped by love.
Because I shared the Mardi Gras experience with Sweden and they did it proper, fake tits and all. (Technically, an American donned the fake tits, but it still takes unbridled tenacity in this place.)
Last year around Mardi Gras I was only a few weeks into my new job. Naturally, I made king cakes and brought them to work. Several people were super excited (especially one who really wanted baby jesus. and she got him, yay!). All were appreciative. But oh how my heart broke when I had to throw away large portions of the cakes. In my excitement, I forgot king cakes are A. Foreign and B. Quite over the top for cake consumption. Also, I think Karl and I made 4 cakes. But for 40 something people, I thought that was decent. (Raise your hand if you wouldn’t eat half a cake in one sitting if given the chance. Mmmmhmmm.) The tepid consumption made me think ‘Pffft. That’s it. I’m going home for Mardi Gras next year.’
And said visit would be perfectly timed, since my nephew would turn one. But then el jobbo gave me the opportunity to work in a store in the States and be home for Christmas. Christmas with the wee one! Who could resist? And so, I didn’t resist. I worked at the store in Michigan, got to see my relatives there whom I also miss dearly and spent some time with friends and family in Louisiana, too. With that came the compromise, it would be a Mardi Gras-less 2012.
At some point in that visit, the brain switched on. I started stockpiling hurricane mixes, went to party stores for decorations and thought ‘I’m just gonna fucking do it. This is your test, Sweden. Fail this and I’m going to have to do some serious thinking.’ I e-mailed Abita to try get beer sent over. No dice, though the kind president did say they’re working on Sweden. And after far too much googling and e-mailing, I finally found a slush ice machine for rent in Malmo. That’s right. We had daiquiris. From a machine. At our house. Motherfuckin, right! Karl ordered the rum, delivered from Germany. (Thank heavens he’d been to Mardi Gras before and knew how to make this work.) I made Jell-o shots (duh). And I roughly tried to explain to guests what to wear and expect.
So, when 50 or so folks passed through our doorway, decked out in their Mardi Gras best – masks, feather boas, homemade costumes, store-bought plastic beads, blow-up animals, wigs, painted faces – smiling, dancing and ready to party (but not sure what to expect), my heart swelled so big it sank. PLUNK! Down to my ankles, out from my toes and into thin air, creating space for more.
Sweden, I can love you now. And now you’re getting to know me more, too.
Party Saurus Rex
P.S. You have indeed shown me what you’re workin with. (See what I did there?)
Oh and rumor has it Fat Tuesday is March 4 in 2014. I’ll be 30 very shortly after that. The hamster wheels are turning!
(I will blog again within the coming weeks. I promise. With photos and things and what’s been going on, but I needed this and now.)