Last night I stood by my window and watched the most beautiful sunset fill the sky with so many different shades of pink that I couldn’t even count them all. It seemed so appropriate to me because my granddaughter Nora turned one this week. It was as if the sky was offering up its riotous display of color just to celebrate her, and there is, after all, so very much to celebrate. What a year she and I have had together! When I first found out I was going to be a grandmother, the thought of it filled my heart with joy. The early years that I spent with my children brought me such sweetness and wonder, even in the most difficult moments. Although I knew that I loved them from the minute I looked into their eyes, I fell in love with each of them in pretty much the same way we fall in love with anyone: slowly, by learning them, and by becoming so attached to all the little things that made them who they were. I couldn’t wait to experience that feeling all over again! And oh how I fell hopelessly in love with this child.
I love her spirit and her feistiness, and the way she takes on the world without fear. In fact, it’s the world that should be just a little bit afraid. I love how funny she is and how she can make me burst out laughing so easily. I love how she listens to me, without judgement, when I tell her all my secrets and my stories, with those big eyes never leaving my face for one minute. I love the little language that she has and how hard she tries to express herself. After all, we’ve talked considerably about communication and how important it is to a relationship. I love her fascination with things that do not remotely resemble the pile of toys that are supposed to be holding her interest. These include items like Juno’s leash and poop bags, Juno herself, her dad’s shoe shine kit, the little silver espresso coffee pot, the green whisk and red spatula, and the extra rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom. I love giving her a bath and how we wave goodbye to the tiny whirlpool that goes down the drain everyday. I love how all her creams and lotions came to life and became such important friends. We told stories about them like Mustela and Aveeno go out for cappuccino, and thank goodness for Eucerin with his little red hat. For so long he was the only one who kept her calm during a diaper change. I love how she knows all my favorite songs and gets very quiet when one comes on, or how she lets me play Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” on repeat because she knows why I love it so. Most of all, I love our lunchtimes together, and how she holds my hand, or sometimes my whole arm, and pats them both to make sure I’m still there, and that I really belong to her. As if there could ever be any question about that.
Today’s cocktail had to also be a celebration of this little person who has captured my heart so profoundly. I decided to go with my own variation of a Watermelon Margarita that had just a bit of a kick to it. I started out by muddling some jalapeño and basil in simple syrup. I added tequila and Aperol because they have such a natural affinity for one another. Watermelon juice and lime juice were next, along with spicy smoked chili bitters and a basil leaf garnish. The end result is cocktail with tons of big flavor that is major fun, but also has just a bit of a feisty kick to it. It totally captured Nora’s personality. I love you, birthday girl. I told you a year ago that I knew you’d rock my world. I had NO idea how true a statement that would be! Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!
Riot of Pinks
Salt the rim of a chilled cocktail glass. Muddle the jalapeño and the basil in the simple syrup in a shaker tin. Add the remaining ingredients along with ice and shake until very cold. Double strain into the prepared glass and garnish with basil sprig. Enjoy!