Simple Times, Simple Pleasures

I kept meaning to write to you for the last several months, but what could I possibly add to the dumpster fire that is 2020?  You have heard it all before, I have read it all too, and to be blunt, I am utterly fatigued by the prevailing drama, loss, hurt and fear.  For a lot of us it’s easy to say we’ve had to endure far more traumatic years than 2020.  I bet you have a handful of years under your belt too.  If you have been directly affected and it’s your #worstyearever, my heart truly aches for you. 

I shudder to think 2020 might be on our kids’ lists, namely being the most traumatic year of their childhood as it relates to the effects of the pandemic.  On one hand, and probably much like you, I felt fortunate about the slowing of time.  On the other hand, this new school year and it’s semblance of normalcy has been a balm.  Sisters, can I get an AMEN?!  My daughter can once again learn in a traditional environment with her rock star teachers and staff.  It makes me weepy to realize they are literally putting their lives on the line so our kids can have a life again.  We are, and have always been, forever indebted to teachers.  Quite simply they’ve allowed, no, emboldened, our kids to be kids again.  A friend commented about how resilient children have been through all of this, and I couldn’t agree more. 

When we were in the thick of it and my girl was struggling with the challenges the pandemic brought, I tried my best to put myself in her shoes.  I wanted to feel what it felt to be 10 years old again.  That sweet spot in adolescence before the choosing of friends, pressure to perform at school and stinky boys plow into your stratosphere.  For a lot of us, it’s a sacred time in one’s life: all that matters are your friends.  You spend quality time together, trade secrets and stories; trying to grasp life’s trickier subjects.  Miraculously, you’re afforded the opportunity to be an unadulterated version of yourself without judgement. 

Honestly, it is divine inspiration to think about being 10 years old again.

I know I’m dating myself, but I was 10 in 1987, living smack dab in the middle of the Midwest.  I was in 5th grade, and despite (or gratefully?) each day being like any other, the world was my oyster.  Like most kids, I was a latchkey and the house was my domain every afternoon.  I got to choose what I was doing with my time which typically consisted of watching a very limited 4 TV channels or going to a friend’s house.  Our parents had no idea what we were doing or who we were with and it.was.awesome.  We caught crawdads, made friendship bracelets, played video games and ate garbage washed down with tooth-rotting soda. 

Above all, we were oblivious to the world and innocent to it’s heartache.

I beg of you, please don’t write me saying “but Liz, the ‘80s were riddled with issues”.  Of course every year has it’s problems.  But 2020 just hits differently, you know?  I don’t remember the real world in 1987, only the world in which my friends and I existed.  If you want some pure nostalgia, check out this clip.  Better yet, take a weekend (or three) with your family to binge watch all the ‘80s has to offer: music, movies, food, pop culture.  Then try to tell me you don’t feel more lighthearted.  This world is so heavy y’all, so what harm can a trip down memory lane be?  By the way, I wanted to live in Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse when I grew up.  The closest I ever came as an adult was spending a day at Meow Wolf.  It is a legit time warp in the best way imaginable.

Speaking of Pee Wee, let’s lighten the mood with color and creativity.  Did you know that beading is therapeutic for both kids and adults?  It’s used to help strengthen motor skills, ease stress and help with cognition.  This Fall, I have a collection of colored glass pony beads you can string onto a reusable cord again and again.  You can add all the colors, some of the colors, change the variations and shades.  All in the name of happiness and joy.  Send one to a childhood friend you haven’t spoken to with a love note.  Send one to a daughter, granddaughter or niece in an isolated dorm room.  Have your girl and her friend wear them in a statement of solidarity.  For goodness’ sake, choose one for yourself because you want to feel 10 years old again!

Remember having a charm necklace?  It was one of the most coveted fashion articles of my childhood.  I would wear it with pride, occasionally exchanging a vinyl record charm for an abacus, and quite naturally, envy the girl who had the roller skate charm.  Perhaps your child and her BFF can exchange colorful necklaces with their favorite charms. Wear one yourself in the name of fun!

This year, I feel it is my moral obligation to do what I can to combat the abysmal social climate.  As a small business owner, it didn’t seem right to stay entirely ‘on brand’ this Fall.  I want to add a touch of whimsy to the life of our kids and perhaps, even us adults.  Amidst the isolation, I want to be able to share love.  In the confusion, I strive to give us a feeling of connectedness to friends and faith.  Inundated by pain, I hope we are able to nourish our bodies and minds by getting outside.  We are blessed to live in Colorado; to step outside and safely hike in our glorious foothills, camp in the nooks and crannies of the Rockies and take advantage of countless outdoor activities.

As I was creating the vision for this collection and had several different pieces scattered in my studio, my daughter and a friend came in. 

Her friend’s face lit up in pure delight as she mewed “These make me so HAPPY”!

“It makes me happy they make you happy, babe,” I exclaimed.   

Isn’t that the point of this life we’re leading?  To bring others joy via wherever our giftedness lies?  Oh Lord, I don’t have my head in the sand (even though I wish I did this year).  Let’s do our best to simply connect, strengthen bonds and bring happiness.  Hopefully by doing so, we not only salvage but shift 2020’s narrative for ourselves and our kids.

Writer’s note: This blog post is purely from my point of view, and while I had challenges growing up, I didn’t have trauma.  Please understand I empathize with those of you who had a crappy childhood, or worse, a traumatic childhood.  This piece is not intended to incite pain, but promise.

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