• Els

Infinite Gratitude

Last year was, without a doubt, one hell of a year. Between quarantine, school shutdowns, restaurant closings, job losses, protests, riots, etc., it was very easy at multiple points to give in to overwhelming hopelessness. 2020 was an intensely poignant reminder that we do not live in a perfect, just, and equal society with rights and opportunities for ALL.

I had no idea what to do with myself when March came around and everything shut down. I lost track of all the days and for a good 3 to 4 weeks lived on my couch in a onesie with a beer/cocktail/wine and a healthy quart container of goldfish crackers. I watched way too many shows, and read too few books. I would drive my family insane and furiously deep clean my house, only for them to finally question why I was doing so. No one was coming over.

When summer came and restaurants were still shut down, I moved my makeshift camp to the backyard and set up office at a picnic table. I colored, cried, angrily listened to the news, cried, ranted, cried, drank, grilled, cried, colored, repeat. My quarantine existence was not sustainable. It was incredibly depressing.

But, one day while sitting outside feeling sorry for myself and the world, I started to realize that I needed to pull myself out of this funk. It was doing me no favors. For the first time since the age of 16, through no fault of my own and definitely not by choice, I had free time. I wasn't working. I couldn't work. My family was all cooped up with me probably feeling the exact same tension and anxiety. What else was there to do but observe my family and surroundings?

Two of my loves

I turned my attention to my family and did some inner reflection and self therapy. I rediscovered how awesome and funny these people are! They have my back, they love me, and they are the only people who will put up with my insanity. My husband apparently adores me and is very patient with my ups and downs. He is intelligent and sarcastic and never ceases to challenge/amuse me. My son is obsessed with all things Minecraft and loves nothing more than to sit and quiz me about space and mathematical equations while I build him Lego masterpieces. My daughter, when she leaves her room to grace us with her presence is hilarious, kind, thoughtful, witty, very independent, and full of love. They're pretty great! The cats are ok too.

rhubarb from mother-in-law's garden
Sade making rhubarb pie!

When things took an even worse turn for the Twin Cities, life got pretty terrifying and the only safe space was home. I wouldn't leave the house. As a POC with a very diverse family, I had a very real reason to be wary. It was heartbreaking and disturbing to see so many people protesting against equality and basic human rights! Living with the uncertainty that's always been there for people like me is one thing. But to have it come to the forefront on a massive scale and to see and feel the hatred still seething in this country.....I had to stop watching and listening to the news...

But as it turns out, for all the very mean and unpleasant people in the world, there are others who make up for all the horror with selflessness, kindness, pure awesomeness, and simple respect for all humans and situations! I saw many people I know protesting against the injustice and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that a lot of these people are my friends. Words cannot describe how good it felt to see and hear the support from our community. And when Jojo and I decided to start Jojo&Co amidst the chaos, it was even more apparent that there is still some goodwill in and for all of us.

There are people that want to help. They want to support their communities and local businesses. They are genuine people with a real desire to move forward with positivity and unity. These people are our neighbors, our family members, our former coworkers, friends of friends, and strangers!

They are Bobby and his amazing team at foreword.co who took absolutely gorgeous photos of our desserts(srsly though, have you looked at them!?) They are the little brother who surprised us with his website design skills! They are the many people who got us through the holidays by ordering our pies and massive amounts of hot chocolate bombs! And they are the friends who have given us professional and unbiased advice as we navigate this new venture, like Eric at abundowealth.com who reminded me about gratitude during the worst parts of 2020 ;)

There are so many people. So many who are trying to make this world a decent place for everyone else. And we are so grateful.

Let's spread more love, more dessert and less hate.