The Pizza Paradigm

I like to make things complicated and I love to go over the top.  If it were up to me everything would be healthy, fancy and made by hand or from scratch.  I would also like to write a book and run a 5k… and be an epic parent… and an gracious and loving wife… and a volunteer at church… and a great friend…and a gourmet cook …and…. anyone else exhausted just reading this?  Then allow me to tell you the lesson I learned last night over a valentines pizza.

Last night my husband had to work late, like 10PM late.  Nevertheless I was determined to find some space to connect, so we decided to share a very late Valentines Dinner together.  I got a Pork tenderloin which I was going to season with Herbs de Provence and then glaze in peach preserves and serve next to garlic roasted asparagus and pink champagne.  Fancy and Romancey, eh?

All day I found myself entirely drained by simply keeping up with the day’s tasks.  I had organized the preschool party and made 24 individual heart shaped mini pizzas for the kids.  Made pink pancakes in the shape of hearts!  Also, it didn’t help that my daughter painted the couch with vaseline when I wasn’t looking, no, that didn’t help at all.

By 8 PM they were both asleep and I surveyed my house, the vaseline couch, the pink pancake batter splats and the gold fish crackers smashed into the carpet.  It would be hard for me to relax and find my romantic place in chaos, plus there was the dinner to start on and candles to scatter and light.  I found myself with a decision, should I find my reserve tank, pull out all the stops and exhaust myself for the sake of Valentines Day?  Or could there possibly be another way?

I usually shoot over the top, and I’m learning that it drains me.  When it’s finally time for the party, the moment or the big reveal I have nothing left to give and no energy what I worked so hard to perfect.  The pork tenderloin would have put me over the edge last night so when I opened the fridge to put the milk away my solution presented itself.  There on a pan were three leftover, unbaked little heart pizzas.  So I preheated the oven, whipped up a simple salad and dust busted the goldfish out of the carpet.  Then I poured a glass of wine and picked up my book to wait for Kel to get home.  When he walked in 45 minutes later I had something in my heart to give him.  Making the pizza / tenderloin swap gave me margin and allowed time for me to recharge.

We ate our little pizzas, drank pink champagne and had two cupcakes a piece.  And I didn’t count calories or freak out about the piles of laundry visible just over Kel’s shoulder.  I just soaked in the moment, because it was rare and beautiful.  It reminded us of our sparky beginnings, the difficult middle and the sweet right now.  The evening was bathed in simplicity and contentment, perfect in its imperfection.

Preschool leftovers and ikea tea-lights scattered among plastic farm animals turned out to be the most simple, beautiful Valentines Day ever.  The pizza swap taught me a valuable lesson about living.  So often we think that our kids, friends and family need something over the top to feel loved.  Or maybe we feel like we need to show off through posting pictures of perfect decorations or expensive gifts.  We get wrapped up in the details and forget the people at the heart of it all.

In the end the people we love really just want a small gesture and our full presence and whole hearts.  If we don’t take it easy on the prep work and details, we will miss out on the beauty of the celebration, the huge smiles and the little moments that make up the full life we really want.

So I found a paradigm shift in little pizzas, and Kel bought me a new pair of Toms shoes too.  All in all, Best. Valentines. Ever.