Reflecting on an intimate evening with new and comforting faces isn’t always easy. It’s a lot – to put your heart out there – to wear it whole heartedly on your sleeve. To make yourself vulnerable, sharing personal stories to help connect one person to another. But I’ve quickly realized that it is one of the main reasons why I started doing this. And if it wasn’t that, I’m pretty sure motherhood would have done a mighty fine job.
When I think back to my first dinner – 4 months postpartum, trying to cook and breastfeed, and be okay with leaving her for 5 hours. Pumping and having a glass of wine. It was a lot – too much even. There was so much newness and raw emotion at that first gathering. So much of just being “in it” that it was hard to imagine what most of us looked like without a baby on our shoulder. But it lifts. It slowly gets more comfortable and you slowly find your way.
This past weekend was my first real multiple day trip away from Agatha. And you know what? It felt really okay. Most likely because she was in the (very) capable hands of her father. I realized that I needed it to feel okay as much as I felt like I was missing my people and some daily action. The space allowed me to be whole heartedly present where I was.
Right here. This is where we are.
Being able to collaborate with such a dear friend, fellow mama, designer and photographer Trish Papadakos was such a treat. It was such an amazing experience to have someone who is so close to me and my family, help create the magic of a mama dinner. She brought such a sophisticated and simple approach to the entire event and helped to plan the most delicious menu. I am eternally grateful for her place beside me that night. Thanks to her I am able to share these beautiful snapshots of our table and evening.
I’ll never forget when Trish unloaded these parcels on the table – the entire room filled with a mix of this smokey cedar and lavender scent from the Province Apothecary incense we were generously gifted. What a treasure to be able to take home with us. It’s honestly one of my favourite things to do to unwind and get cozy – such an amazing physical reminder to slow down in the best possible way.
As we were cleaning up the table at the end of the night, I said to Trish that I regretted not eating more. The food was so incredible but I have a feeling it’s just like your wedding night – you spend so much time planning for the evening that when it finally comes down to it, you’re so in the moment that you barely take a moment to soak it all in ( or devour the goodness in front of you). Lucky for me, there were some leftovers that I got to nibble on the next day before heading back to Minneapolis. My favourite part? The dark chocolate torte that was generously sent to us by a fellow mama – Sarah of Bobette and Belle.
A huge thing that always comes up in these intimate gatherings is the idea of feeling like you are not enough. Or like there is not enough something to go around. Energy? Momentum? Maybe it’s just not feeling full enough. Or maybe like there is not enough time. All I will say is this – there are certain things we can choose to pick up. Physically, mentally and emotionally. From people, from spaces and from ourselves. For the most part we can choose what we want to have or do and what we need to have or do. There are endless places to get to. Endless people we need to be in touch with. Endless lists to catch up with.
Stop. Take a moment. Breathe. Listen to your heart beat. Feel your chest. Are you breathing?
Here is a list I recently compiled. A list of vitamins that don’t get talked about enough – for baby making or just plain replenishing ourselves. I hope they resonate with you. And more than that, here’s to hoping you can make it to one of our future gatherings, I’d love to see you there.
Vitamin N: Napping, Sleeping, Going to bed before 10pm. If you’re feeling like it, do it. We’re all guilty of substituting caffeine for it but when our bodies are telling us we’re tired, it’s for a good reason.
Vitamin F: Whole Foods. Nothing processed. Less than 5 ingredients or at least words we can pronounce. Buy what’s grown close to you or at least what’s in season. Eat with natures rhythm.
Vitamin W: Water. There are so many symptoms of even just the most mild form of dehydration. Grab a big glass bottle and fill it up each morning and try your best to finish it by the end of the day.
Vitamin C: Calmness. Deep breathing. No stimulation. Candles. Connection. Show your body that it doesn’t need to be in fight or flight mode all the time.
Vitamin T: Trees. Oceans. Lakes. All the goodness Mother Nature provides us with. Go take a forestbath and tell me you don’t feel at least partially healed!! Being outside is magic for your soul.
Vitamin L: Love. Show your body love. Show your partner love. Show your tiny person love. Show yourself the ultimate love in whatever form that comes in. Self care. Respect. Nourishment. Remind yourself that you can choose between what your body needs and what your body wants. Fill up on the good stuff and let the rest go.
*All photographs were taken by Trish Papadakos*