I LOVE finding clever ways to repurpose leftovers – it satisfies my down-deep urge to be resourceful, save money, and reduce food waste. Here’s how I cook one of my favorite go-to staples – pulled pork – and some of the ways I repurpose it.
When I’m in a wheel-spinning state, I find a reminder popping into my head: “Do the next thing.” As in, don’t jump 20 steps down the line, or start catastrophizing about what will happen if you don’t finish everything in time. Just do the next thing, and when that’s done, move on to the next next thing. Every time I reframe a frenetic moment in time with that tactic, I find almost immediate relief as I realize that no matter how many disparate projects and goals may be occupying my mind, I can almost always identify an obvious and often simple “next thing.”
Will and I are trying to navigate a transition that has happened billions upon billions of times, but for us, it’s happening for the very first time. William doesn’t know how to be a 17-year-old boy any more than I know how to parent this specific 17-year-old boy. We are a brand-new, unique mom-and-burgeoning-adult-child duo, trying to figure it out as we go, and hopefully giving each other as much grace as can be expected along the way.
This Christmas, the stakes were both higher (after a year like 2020, we all really needed this holiday to be pleasant and peaceful) but also lower (after a year like 2020, “pleasant and peaceful” were all we really needed.)
I hope tonight, after you’ve picked up the hundredth tiny bit of wrapping paper, or finally got that toy working after wrestling with the battery pack for an hour, or stepped on an errant piece of Lego, that you can look back over your day and identify a few moments of comfort and coziness.
There may have been grumpiness (yours, or your kids’). There may even have been tears (your kids’, or yours.) But likely there were also some brief flashes of comfort and joy. Let’s lean in on that.
I just got done filling stockings. They’re currently slumped against my bedroom wall, as full as they’re going to get. Likewise, the stack of gifts below the tree downstairs isn’t getting any bigger. The breakfast menu I’ve planned isn’t getting any more ambitious, either. The stores are closed, the night is over, my work here is done.
I didn’t hit all the marks, but that’s what next year, or the year after, or…never is for.
For now, all I can do is give myself thanks and gratitude for the effort I put in.
Even in a typical year, there can be a sense of letdown when the guests all leave or the last gift is opened. And in 2020, I worry that the letdown may be much more acute, as many of the traditions that would have given the hours and days after Christmas morning shape and joy and meaning simply aren’t happening this year – to say nothing about all the things that ALSO won’t be happening in January and February.
But here’s the good news: the holiday doesn’t end at midnight on December 25. Many of us have an extended break ahead, whether it’s time off from work or kids home from school. And even if you don’t get the benefits of a longer break, you’ll probably notice that the world around you is still moving in a kind of slow-motion, inviting us all to indulge in some more relaxation and cheer before we get back to our usual routines.
I’d love for you to plan your post-holiday self-care with me, so we don’t find those after-Christmas days slipping away. What would you love most to spend next week doing?