Sunday, March 27, 2011
I have this new analogy for parenting. Count on me to relate it to food. So picture this. You decide to make a cake. Yum. We all love cake, right? Instantly you get a mental image of your cake. Mine? Chocolate, definitely. With fresh raspberries and maybe a layer of ganache in the middle. Swirls of buttercream frosting coating everything. I'd even like to make the top look nice with some chocolate shavings or something. And you get kind of excited - you can picture just how delectable it is going to be! Then you start to make it. And reality hits. Your oven doesn't heat evenly and so the cakes come out lopsided. You can't find your ganache recipe so you kind of make it up and it ends up too runny and drips all over the place. Your raspberries are too ripe and end up on the mushy side. And as you're trying to at least put some pretty frosting holding it all together it all just starts dripping down the sides and no matter how you scoop it and scoop it up it all just sags down the sides until it ends up in a puddle on the platter. The final result? A bit of a mess:
I mean, it's still delicious, still chocolatey, still covered in creamy yumminess. It just doesn't quite look like the cake you pictured in your head. After a brief run through the stages of grief, (Anger at the cake, Bargaining with the cake, Depression about the cake....) you finally come to acceptance. Oh well, you think, whatever. Just get me a plate and a fork and cut me a piece of that funny looking, delicious chocolate cake!
This is how I feel about parenting. I just keep trying for that gorgeous cake and life is just a little messier than that. At least I'm in the kitchen, right? At least I haven't pitched my cake out the window and into the neighbor's yard. I'm still baking. It's delicious.
As a side note, I noticed myself doing something rather odd the other day - and after thinking through my cake analogy I can hardly blame myself. Bitty had accidently brought home a duplicate of a worksheet she had to complete. I had the compulsion to work on the extra one along side her. It was the best homework page I ever did. Just look!
Yes, I can hear you all going, "Cuckoo! Cuckoo!" Leave me alone. I can't tell you how satisfying it was to see a simple task with clear instructions placed before me. Something for which I knew exactly what was expected of me and then I carried out the task perfectly, with some creativity and a correct answer at the completion of the task. This is not something I encounter often in parenting. It was very therapeutic.