I have been stressing over all the Christmas baking on my to-do list. Even with just the basics, it’s a daunting list. My days are already full with kids’ studies and routine household maintenance—I can barely summon the energy to add the time suck that is baking projects.
Then a couple nights ago, my husband took the kids to the church supper and I stayed home. (He skips church to burn things down, so I figured it was okay to skip church to bake things up.) With everyone gone and the extra time saved by not having to do supper prep and clean-up, the stage was set for a cookie baking evening. I poured myself a glass of wine, fixed a plate of cheese and crackers, and proceeded to roll, cut, bake, and ice my way into a sweet stupor. I listened first to John Cleese on Fresh Air, then the rest of a TED Radio Hour on courage (favorite quotes: "Freedom doesn't exist if you don't use it," and "I can collaborate with my opponents to become better at what I do"), and then plunged into Serial. It was just the fix I needed.
The next day, however, in a misguided attempt to maintain momentum, I tried to replicate the evening of yore. I pulled up the next episode of Serial and started pounding out the recipes: fudge, peppermint bark, candied orange rinds, crack, etc. But every time I dared to actually start listening, a kid would appear. The audacity! One sweet girl actually wanted to talk to me and help cook—bless her heart—but I. just. couldn’t. I needed to be alone whydidnooneunderstandthat! To make matters worse, the fudge got too dry, the white chocolate chips didn’t melt properly (NEVER USE GHIRARDELLI WHITE CHIPS FOR MELTING BECAUSE THEY WON’T), and I felt ill from all the tasting. I was getting borderline ragey.
So I went for a walk. That helped. And then I ate a bushel of spinach for supper.
But two days later and I still feel bad for all my badness. It’s one thing to want the kids to leave me alone when they’re little and messy, but it’s quite another to want them out of my hair when they are actually able to help. Plus, they want to be with me. How cool is that? How dare I turn them away?
In all fairness to myself, I got my period the next day. That afternoon I wasn’t exactly at my hormonal best. But even so, I can do better. I can mind my manners and smile and be kind dammit.
Thank goodness there’s such a thing as Making Restitution.
PS. Photos brought to you by the Irrelevancy Board and the Department of Just Because.
This same time, years previous: how to have a dunging-out date, the quotidian (12.19.11), peppernuts, chocolate-dipped candied orange rinds, and walnut balls.