My parents took their kids and their kids’ kids to Jamaica over Christmas. Don’t worry, I’m not about to spin you an SAT math question about how old the 3rd cousin of my brother’s mother-in-law is. This is not that kind of post.

This is a post about love.

Mom and Dad got us all together in Jamaica because they love us, and they want us all to love each other. They should be quite pleased, then, because we do. And we had a wonderful time.

This isn’t a post about that kind of love.

Thirteen years ago I saw a laser-eyed, dark-haired stranger across a room, a face I immediately realized I had always known. Last month, I watched him chat with my father, tease my mother, bicker with my son, counsel his daughter, and talk baby-talk with our niece.

In the thirteen years I’ve known this man, there has been better and there has been worse. A whole lot of each.


But mostly there has been love.

So as I celebrated a love-filled Thanksgiving with a family for whom I am wholeheartedly grateful, I couldn’t help but realize that once upon a time, many years ago, I hated family vacations. All that togetherness traumatized me, made me claustrophobic. I longed for aloneness. I craved to be apart. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my family, I just didn’t want to love them all at once in the same time and place.

The one thing that has changed, the one crucial thing, is that I found peace, happiness, and, yes — here’s that word again — love, with my husband. A peace that allows me to contentedly occupy the same zip code as my entire family

Which is totally cool.

And the way that we commemorate that love around our house is with the purchase of completely meaningless hoohas and tschotckes. We’ve followed this practice since our wedding, where we picked up a bejeweled wire gecko on St John. It has carried on though a wooden grizzly from Montana, a tin armadillo from Brenham, a black on white oil painting from New Orleans, and a purple pig from Schulenberg.

That is why, on the island of Jamaica, the one memento Eric and I came away with is this giraffe carving. We are completely aware that there is no living, breathing giraffe on the island of Jamaica. Not even in a zoo.

Of course, we had many other objects of whimsy from which to choose, very tropical objects. Jamaican objects. Non-African objects.

We chose the lip-locked giraffes. Because nothing spells love like g-i-r-a-f-f-e.

Have a good week, y’all,





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