Papa Day

Today is the second annual “Papa Day”.

This will be the third October 10th that my grandfather hasn’t been with us…and we all miss him horribly. I would have had so many things to tell him this year. I would have told him all about my house and showed him pictures. I would have showed him pictures of my garden and told him all about what all we were growing, the success we were having, and the lessons we were learning. I would have picked his brain for gardening tips and tricks and asked him for gardening stories. I would have showed him the hat that my mom got for Trey that is just like the one he wore. I would have told him about my new job and how happy it makes me. He would have loved that I am able to be home at a reasonable hour and that I have weekends and holidays off. He would laugh sweetly at how long Trey’s beard has gotten.

I came up with the idea for Papa Day last year as a way to make his birthday into something joyful and comforting for my family. The idea is that on this day, you honor him and do something that brings you joy, but also helps you feel connected to him in some way. You might wake up before the sun and sit with a cup of coffee to ease into the day. You might make a large breakfast spread for someone you love with biscuits and chocolate gravy, preserves, honey, eggs, bacon, etc. You might spend time in the sunshine, working outside or just sitting outside. You might make a southern dinner of cornbread and “field foods”. Whatever you want to do, or can do, that will help you feel linked in some way. It feels like a little bit of a reset to devote time and energy to just remembering him, loving him, and finding this connection.

Last year, Papa Day held a lot more than this year’s did. I was working this year, and by the time I got home - I felt too tired for much of anything. So, I took a bath, combed my hair, put on my robe, and sat down to write this. I have vivid memories of my grandfather gathering his pajamas and a towel from upstairs and going downstairs to take a shower every single night. When he would come back upstairs, he would have on his robe and his plaid pajama-bottoms would be peeking out from beneath it. He’d have on cozy socks and his house shoes. His hair would be perfectly combed and he would sometimes say something about how squeaky clean he was. He wouldn’t stay awake for much longer. His shower was always at the very end of his night.

So, here I am. Squeaky clean and ready for bed. The second Papa Day is coming to a close, and somehow he feels farther away but so much closer at the same time.

Year 3

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Don’t read this if you don’t want to risk being disgusted and annoyed by me.

Three years ago, Trey and I stepped away from everyone, and sat next to each other to say our vows. We vowed to love each other and to honor each other, to always work to lift each other up, to put effort into US when the energy just isn’t there, and many other things. We’ve known each other for almost six years now, and have been married for three of those. In those six years together, we’ve moved five times, adopted a cat and a dog, moved higher and higher within our companies, and had some very high highs and some really, really low lows. I would say that our time in Florida was probably one of the lowest lows, but if I’m being honest - we’re currently climbing out of what would probably be the next lowest (if we’re really rating our lows). But, we’re holding stronger than ever and we are so, so close to a new chapter.

Someone asked me the other day if when I met Trey, I knew immediately that he was the one that I was going to marry. The answer is yes. From our first conversation, we were a match and we just clicked in every way. When I say that we are more alike than we are different, I don’t say that lightly. I managed to find someone who is…so damn perfect for me, and I’m perfect for him. I know this because he tells me almost daily. He thinks that I’m hilarious and he loves my attempt at a sandwich and he loves to ask me sports questions. He loves the way that I sleep in the middle of the bed with half of my body on him during the winter, and the way that I’m sprawled out like a starfish during the warm months. He loves building me back up when anxiety and worry and fear has tamped me down. I know this because he tells me. He takes the time to look me in the eyes and say all of the things that I didn’t know that I needed to hear. He lets me be me, and doesn’t push me to be any different. He speaks my language and sometimes it’s honestly unreal how great he is. When an acquaintance of his meets me, they say, “You’re Trey’s wife, right? Oh, man. He is so great. I know you know this, but he really is just the best.” To this, I say, “I know” and I beam. And he knows this, because I tell him. I tell him that he’s like a warm furnace that I always want to be next to, and I tell him that he is perfect for me and that he loves me so perfectly. I tell him that he’s funny and that I need him. I tell him that I love to watch him eat chips because he looks at both sides of the chip before the puts it in his mouth.

It’s stupid, actually. It honestly is stupid how perfect we are for each other. Of course we have our issues. Other issues will arise. But, I believe that his belief in marriage, my willpower, and our love of positivity and light and joy and fun will keep us chugging along forty-five years down the road - when I look like a curly, white-haired starfish in a cardigan, and he has silver hair, a big belly and a Santa-like demeanor. We are going to put in the work. We are going to continue laying the foundation for our marriage, and I’ll swim around in these early years, floating on big inflatables until my fingers get all pruny.

So, here we are. Entering our third year of marriage. We’re wrapping up an intensely stressful season of our lives and on the verge of a new and exciting one. We’re peeing in front of each other now…since we’ve lived for six months with a doorless bathroom. We’re closer than ever and we’re still holding each other tighter when things gets hard.

Happy anniversary, Trey. I love you. I love you. I love you.

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Papa Day

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Today was the first annual Papa Day, a holiday that I created for everyone in my family to devote the day to the memory of my grandfather. What better day to have it than on my grandfather’s birthday, October 10th. 10/10? And that’s such a fitting date for him to be born, because he truly was a 10 out of 10.

The ideal Papa Day: wake up bright and early to have a cup of coffee and have a slow start to the morning. Then, make an elaborate breakfast spread that isn’t complete without Papa’s biscuits. At some point in the day, spend time outside. Any work you do, work harder and give it your all. Spend time with family, and for dinner, have field food (black eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread etc).

This year, Trey and I woke up and with the help of my mom over FaceTime, made my very first attempt at my Papa’s biscuits. Somehow, pretty much only two people in the world know how to make these (and there’s no recipe since he would never measure anything and just go by the feel of it). It turns out that I am just like everyone else and my biscuits were pretty disastrous. Though they were supposed to be fluffy, light, and pillowy…my biscuits were dry, angry, flat and crackly. But, Trey and I listened to Christmas music and had fun nonetheless. Then, we just spent time together. We watched a movie, ventured outside for a bit, and since we were both off work today, we came home and rested some more.

Having an annual Papa Day isn’t going to help any of us miss him any less. I miss his hugs, the smell of his pipe tobacco, and the sound of the tobacco pouch crinkling in his shirt pocket when I hugged him. I miss the sound of his voice and his rich laughter. I miss watching him watch someone as they spoke - really listening to what they were saying. I miss the comfort of just knowing that he was around. I miss him calling me his “Sadie”, I was never “Sarah” to him. I miss the way he combed his hair. I miss every.single.thing. I miss it all. But…very recently I noticed that my mom has his eyes. The shape. The color. I also noticed that my older brother hugs just like him, and I like to watch him while he watches someone speak - because he really listens, too.

I feel that having this day set aside every year is going to be healing for my family. I feel that it will give all of us the opportunity to take a minute to stop and just relish the memory of him. We’ll be able to acknowledge and appreciate all of the ways that we are like him, and we can move forward into the rest of the year, feeling just a little bit lighter.

So, Papa Day was a success. I know that somewhere in AL, my family members are having field food right now. I’m going to go cuddle my husband, have another cup of coffee, and look for a house to buy. Hug tighter, listen harder, and nestle yourself way down deep into the moments that you have with the people around you. XO.

Love, Sadie

HBD, T!

If you roll your eyes at PDA and lovey dovey prose, this one isn't for you. Keep scrolling, or tune in next time because this one is going to get sappy. Trey and I have been together for over five years. We've been married for almost three, and we both work jobs that don't give us a lot of time with each other, so we take what we can get. A lot of our conversations tend to dance around the fact that one of us needs to think of a fantastic idea so that we can start a business together and then spend our days working side by side. It turns out that so many modern businesses were started because a husband-wife duo just wanted to spend more time together. So, we'll get there one of these days but for now...we get by on the hours of 7pm - sleep, 8am - 12pm, and the occasional shared off day. 

I want to explain a little about why I want to spend so much time with this person. But, first let me preface this by saying that marriage isn't always the bright, happy days filled with inside jokes and ice cream cones under a pink and blue sunset. There's some real darkness. There's nighttime anxiety. There's joblessness. There's fear for the future. There's meltdowns and bad moods. There's the occasional tantrum when you can't find the non-drowsy allergy medicine anywhere and you are covered in snot and your eyes are swollen shut and your spouse is sitting on the couch (not helping you look) wanting to show you the precious pictures of a friend's baby's gender reveal and you are just destroying everything you touch like a bitchy tornado, making all the noise in the world, slamming cabinets and dumping out drawers and then you give up and are on the verge of tears when he gets up and locates some Benadryl that knocks you out within ten minutes. There are sinks full of dishes, and litter boxes that you neglect for one day too many. There is exhaustion, both physical and mental. There's an internal reminder saying that marriage is vowing to share it all with someone forever. The good, the bad, and the really scary. 

So now, let me tell you why I want to spend so much time with this person, even after we have  some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. 

This guy thinks that I'm the funniest person on the planet. I haven't straight up asked him, but I'm pretty sure he would say that I'm funnier than Steve Martin (his GOD), and the logic that he would put behind that would be something along the lines of me being cute or that Steve Martin is a different kind of funny (clearly, he is wrong). But, I can live my life, and do my normal things, and just be ME, and he thinks it's hilarious. What is up with that?? He does this thing when he thinks something is really funny where he kind of leans back in his chair, laughs hard, squints his eyes and puts his hand on his chest or grabs his beard. That's how I know I got him good. And, now that I voiced that, he will probably never do it again. Oops. But, he is the funny one. 

His love language is all of the love languages. I don't really know which love language I respond to the best, but he uses all of them. I remember when we were dating, a coworker of his was having a terrible day, so he went to Starbucks, got her a pastry and a coffee, then walked to Kate Spade (because she loved Kate Spade) and asked them for an empty box to put the pastry in. He placed the coffee and the box on her desk to brighten her day. When we were dating, I mentioned that I love getting letters and the very next day, I had a letter in my mailbox...and many more after that. If someone needs help, he is there. No questions asked. He runs out into the rain to hold umbrellas for people. He is just a goodhearted person all of the time. 

He dances and sings. Five years of knowing him and I've only caught him really dancing on video four times...and usually I'm only able to get a couple of seconds of it before he notices and stops. His dancing is hilarious and usually accompanied by some hard lip-syncing. As for the singing,  I've caught that on video just a couple of times, and I'm not allowed to share those videos with anyone. Most of the singing videos feature him belting out a tune, then repeatedly rewinding the song to the part that just really "shut it down". Also, he is really into rap? He knows a lot about it and seriously appreciates it as art? He researches the lyrics sometimes to get a better understanding of the song, and yeah... he is just something else. Since day one of knowing him, I've loved how he will give all music a shot. He isn't going to be a snob about it, and he's open to liking anything and everything because he says he's "just here to have a good time."

He's family-centered. After living away from my family for the last 8 years, I've learned that I have to be close to them. As appealing as it sounds to live abroad...I could never. I have to be near my family, and he has to be near his. He gets a special boost from spending the day with his dad, and he loves taking care of his mom and sister, and he lights up when he gets to play with his brother's little girls. He loves our families, and I do, too. He also loves our future family. Sometimes, you hear about those men and women that are born to be parents, and I think that he's one of those. He loves children, and he is going to be the very best father one day. 

There's also the fact that he chooses to be optimistic, he is an incredible cook, he is supportive of women, he's self aware and always looking at how to better himself in some way, he loves to travel and loves to dream, he loves Christmas and spreads cheer like no other, he appreciates southern culture and doesn't take anything for granted, and then the cherry on top is that there are so many similarities between what makes us tick that we just end up getting along really, really well. 

So, every single day of my life, I want to spend time with this person. I don't care if I saw him fifteen minutes ago...I want to see him again. I love everything that he is, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to spend my life beside him. 

Newlywed Traditions

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I married someone whose body runs on jingle bells, sugar cookies, and old-fashioned Christmas decor. Starting with our very first Christmas season together, we wanted to accomplish all the things. We saw The Nutcracker that year, made gingerbread houses at a Christmas party that his sister threw. We cut out paper snowflakes and decorated everything with Christmas lights. I showed him all the best Christmas lights that I know of in Alabama. We watched Christmas movies every single day. I put Christmas lights all around his bedroom…attached to his ceiling. Which was a bad idea, looking back. But, from that first year, Christmas has gotten bigger and bigger.

We started a tradition last year where we pick out one Christmas ornament, and one Christmas children’s book. Last year, he picked out a plushy, dumpy, black and white, amorphous felty blob that somehow perfectly resembles our cat, James. I picked The Nutcracker. I loved this illustrated version of one of my all-time-favorite Christmastime experiences. This year, it’s my turn to pick the ornament, and Trey picks the book.

We spent last Christmas in Florida, where we forced it to feel like Christmas while we spent every day beneath palm trees, and celebrated anytime the temperature dropped below 70. When we moved back, we said that this Christmas, we were going to do it all. And so we are. We are focusing more on experiences rather than presents, and we are squeezing everything we can out of this magical season.