Wednesday, August 30, 2023

In Thirteen Years, We’ll Laugh About This

 So often, my way back Wednesday posts are of the “the more things change the more they stay the same“ variety. This one, from 2010, is a little bit of that, along with a bit of 20/20 hindsight. If you read all the way to the end, you’ll find the bit of information that still rings true, but now makes me laugh instead of inspiring any sort of guilt whatsoever.

I don’t remember what the mishap was on the day of this bread adventure, but I do remember the feeling of frustration—or at least I think I do. These days, cooking frustrations are mine alone because my daughter doesn’t really need my help in the kitchen. In fact, when she lived at home, she became the primary baker. But, to this day, neither one of us really loves to cook.

Mother-daughter time is, in theory, great no matter the circumstances. In reality, the circumstances sometimes matter a great deal. And, it is only in hindsight that we can laugh about them.

Today I had the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. Having just written a blog about enjoying my daughter despite the busyness of life, I was looking forward to our first weekend in a month with nothing scheduled. Plenty of time for all sorts of enjoyment.

And then the special project landed. The sixth graders in her school were given a bread-making demonstration on Wednesday, and at the end of the demo, they received a recipe and the ingredients for two loaves of bread.

This bread came with strings, however. Not actual strings, of course, but strings in the form of an ingredient that wasn’t in the bag. Time.

The expectation was that these kids would now use the knowledge and ingredients they’d been given to make two loaves of bread. One to keep and one to share with the local food bank.

Oh, joy. By not making the bread with my daughter, I would not only be a failure as a parent, but I’d be letting down those less fortunate than our family. Those who did not have to rely on bread baked by sixth graders.

If I were a less culinarily-challenged parent – someone like my friend Kate who loves to cook – perhaps I would have viewed this assignment as an opportunity to enjoy my daughter. Or perhaps, like Kate’s daughter, my daughter would possess the skills to do this assignment independently. But, having lacked for someone to teach her how to make bread (or anything else that didn’t come in a mix, for that matter), my daughter would need my help, such as it was.

Fortunately, she was very excited at both the prospect of making the bread and the prospect of sharing the bread, so I adjusted my attitude accordingly and tried to look upon this as an opportunity to do something fun and worthwhile with someone I love dearly.

Five hours later, both of us needed an attitude adjustment. The kitchen and dining room were a mess, and our first free Saturday in a month had been gobbled up by a recipe that left flour on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink.

Admittedly, it shouldn’t have taken five hours, but a culinary mishap early on necessitated a trip to the grocery store, and the process itself added washing dishes, towels and floors to our list of things to do.

I’m happy to report that the bread was delicious, but I think the next time my daughter and I decide to make bread, we’ll use the kind that comes in a box. Or, enjoy each other’s company on the way to Target to buy a bread maker.

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