21 December 2008

The Annual Severance Christmas Party

Last night was the Annual Severance Christmas Party. Hayley's family (our next door neighbors) hosts a party every year around Christmas and each year the party serves not only as a place to have a few cocktails (or sodas for the kids) with a family I have known my entire life, but a reminder of the importance of tradition. I was standing in their kitchen, looking around at the faces of people I don't remember not knowing and the faces of people I have only just met, thinking, "this is life. This is the reason for existing." Relationships are the reasons for us to be alive. Without friends and family and love and loss, we don't learn, can't figure out who we are and where our place in the world is.

The party also served as a venue for examining the differences between myself, Hayley and our newly engaged friend, Jennifer. For our entire childhood, the three of us were inseparable. Now, we are all v. different. Jennifer is the eternal homebody. She still lives at home with her parents and is a teacher at the school where her father taught for thirty years. Comfortable in jeans and t-shirts, Jennifer is a low-maintenance girl. Hayley is the glamorous one. She likes nice things, always overdresses and is v. Marilyn Monroe-esque (blonde and va-va-voom curvy, she knows exactly how to dress her beautiful body). Me, I'm the hippie of the gang; vegetarian, with a semi-rocker chick/punk girl meets shy girl style. It's v. evident that we have all grown to be extremely different in our political beliefs and life choices - yet we still gather together every Christmas (and other times, as well, duh), and look back on our year and marvel at the fact that we continue to be parts of each others lives. They are two reasons for me to exist - two relationships I value and that shape me.

Tyler, Hayley's brother, made a snowman for their front yard to welcome guests:

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