There is a wonderful thing that happens when you become a parent. It begins as the tiniest thought in those first few moments after you realize you’re about to have a baby, especially if it’s your first. “I’m going to bring a brand new little life into this world,” is what goes through your head. Am I right? Oh, the joy you feel! The wonder. The awe. As time goes on, a little bit of worry finds its way in. Will everything be ok? How will my life change? Will I have enough love, and time, and energy for everyone and everything? These are all normal thoughts, and we’ve all had them as we’ve gone through this experience. But when they hand that baby over to you, and you’re able to see him or her for the first time, so much of the worry goes away. Your heart expands, and you have more room in it than you ever thought was possible.
As a new grandparent, I felt many of these same things. I have the great fortune of living only a few doors away from my son and his amazing wife. I knew that I would be blessed with the opportunity of spending a great deal of time with my new grandchild. When the subject came up as to whether I could babysit her three days a week, I readily agreed. I knew I’d find a way to fit it into my schedule. I knew I’d figure it out. But as the time grew closer for my daughter-in-law to return to work, I admit that I began to worry. Just a little bit. It had been years since I spent my days with a baby. What would that be like for me? Would it be as easy as riding a bike? Would I fall right back into step with it? And then there was the million dollar question: How much room would I have in my heart to fill a major part of my life with a child again? I’m sure you’ve already guessed the answer. I reported for duty on that first day, at my appointed time and, of course, my heart expanded, and I knew that it would all be more than ok. It would be wonderful. It would be joyful. It would be awesome.
This experience has made me reflect on the fact that this is what true love should really be like. This baby came into my life in June, and suddenly anything seemed possible. I’ve had many long conversations with her, we’ve shared many meals together, we’ve seen each other through a few tough times, and we’ve both cried here and there, her definitely more than me. She has found her way into my heart and she lives there now, and she makes me more of a person than I was before. I have more compassion, I have more empathy, and I have more love. I feel more joy, I feel more wonder, and I feel more awe. I laugh more easily, and I cry more easily too, but that’s ok. She makes me more, and that’s exactly what love should do. It should never make us less, it should never restrict us, and it should never limit the scope of our world. True love allows us to live with the thought of limitless possibilities; its alternative shrinks our world down to the head of a pin, where we live in fear of falling off the edge. With true love there is no edge, and no reason to ever fear falling.
For today’s cocktail, I went with a simple riff on a Cosmopolitan, a drink loved by many people, and one with limitless possibilities for expansion. I chose gin as my base spirit, and went with Bluecoat in particular because of its juicy, citrusy personality. I paired it with Mandarine Napoléon, a far more complex and herbaceous orange liqueur, with just a hint of anise flavor to it. I used an unsweetened cranberry juice, which allowed my to add in a thyme simple syrup, and I kept the lime, of course. The end result was a drink that felt like it went in endless directions, just like true love. Cheers, everyone. Happy Friday. My first two weeks with Nora have challenged my time management skills and so I apologize for my slight absence from writing. I’m figuring it out and I should be good from here.
Room in My Heart
2 oz Bluecoat gin
½ oz Mandarin Napoléan liqueur
¾ oz unsweetened cranberry juice
¼ to ½ oz thyme simple syrup*
¼ lime juice
Add all the ingredients to a shaker tin over ice and shake vigorously until very cold. Double strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a skewered cranberry and a thyme sprig. Enjoy!
*Make a 1:1 batch of simple syrup and drop in some thyme sprigs. Steep until cool, then strain into a mason jar and keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.