Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baking Life

Friday, as my kitchen was exploding with flour, sugar, butter, and whatnot, while I made brownies and cookies by the hundreds (maybe a slight exaggeration, maybe - you could remove the (s), but it was over 100, just saying.), for my daughters ballet recital and potluck,  - and just when you wonder, "Will she ever be done with this run-on sentence?!"  I had an epiphany.  As mothers, we bake life.

I have had one of those weeks where you wonder moment by moment if you are going to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the next.  Sam's inspection schedule creates an upheaval to say the least.  Add to that: 5 children with strep and an upper-respiratory virus (at the same time), a baby getting 4 molars with an ear infection and enterocolitis, a fever to mock all others on top of the strep/upper respiratory thing, as well as his Hirschprung's complications, ballet dress rehearsal, recital, and potluck food commitments, not forgetting about the absent husband of course, and it seems that the best option would be to promptly find a corner, grab a box of tissue, and sit down and have a good cry.  And never, ever get out of said corner.

We must also give proper credit to the beast named self-doubt, as well as his friend 'must do everything and live up to all outside obligations and expectations, we must!'  Those are some friendly beasts.  Don't ask why I refer to them with a male pronoun.  Just don't.

Strangely, I didn't find said corner, or feel a need to.  I did learn something about baking life.

So Friday comes.  I am knee deep in snot, anti-biotics, whinny, non-compliant children who each want all of me every second, no sleep to speak of, and the cookies and brownies.  I was also elbow deep in hot water and soap suds for all of you that experienced my cookies and brownies!  Things were actually going pretty well for the moment, Malachi was sleeping, the 3 oldest were not contagious anymore and felt well enough to attend their bi-weekly 3 hour science class, and Addie was happy to be mommy's helper from the living room so as to not infect the delicious desserts with bacteria and virus germs, yummy.  And then it happened.

My flour bucket was empty.  Trip to the freezer, refill the bucket, return flour to the freezer.  My baking soda was empty, another trip and back to the freezer.  My sugar container was empty, trip to the basement, fill up the sugar, back to the basement.  My oats container was empty, another trip to the basement, fill up the oats, back to the basement.  Cinnamon, empty, basement.  Salt, empty, search cabinet, find, fill, return.  What?!  Malachi is awake, and not happy.  Time to go pick up the children, what?, it's been 3 hours already.  "Mommy, when are you going to read me this book.  I have been waiting a long time."  Sorry, Addie, I will read it later."  Ugh!  That's is my least favorite mommy mantra.

My time, and more importantly my efforts, were completely wasted in a bunch of needless running around.  Had I ensured my buckets were loaded and ready to go, those treats would have been made in a flash rather than a frustrating process of several hours broken up all through an entire day, rather couple of days as it turned out.  I was able to get it all done.  But boy, it sure wasn't efficient, and I left a lot of the best things undone and pushed aside, due to my lack of proper preparation.

When my buckets are full, I can handle anything.  And by handle I don't mean simply get through it.  I mean bake some of the meanest brownies this side of wherever the meanest brownies are, and have a fabulous time doing it.  And, the best things are never pushed aside.

Life is all about the unsweetened cocoa sometimes.  It doesn't matter a pinch when I have buckets full of sugar.  When I start with buckets fully loaded, ingredients at my fingertips, and peace and joy in my heart, those are some tasty days.  The days when I am constantly in a scramble to find ingredients and fill my buckets, those days; not so tasty.   

It's not difficult to keep my buckets full of the best things.  I simply must choose to do so.  I don't need time away.  I need to fill my time with the things that keep me centered and grounded in what feeds my soul.  I don't need outside endeavors to fill a need for validation, recognition, and a sense of peace.  I need peace.  Peace comes from choosing the best ingredients and keeping my buckets full of them.  Recognition and validation are conditioned responses that never last, and in fact only serve to create a desire for more.  The addictive nature of external rewards and assurance leads to an incredibly unsatisfying and quite harried way of life.  More, bigger, better, see me, see me!  Nothing is ever enough.

I am surrounded by enough each and every minute I choose to be a part of my enough and not be concerned with another's enough, or another's version of what my enough should be.  Be it through the media, envy of a friend or acquaintance, social norms, advice of concerned people that mean well, or any thing else that brings those unfriendly beasts of keeping up and self doubt into my life.  Those things can't touch me when my buckets are full of what I need.  That's enough for me.

What's in your bucket?  More importantly what fills your bucket best?  If it doesn't fill your bucket, is it worth your time?  Are the best things removed from your bucket to make room for good things?  Feed your soul, fill your bucket, and then go forth and bake yummy moments of life!

1 comment:

Becky said...

You are amazing and inspiring! I love your comments and words of wisdom!!