a girl in a million
The Bee made dinner tonight.
On Friday, right after we walked into my apartment, she made a snide comment about my apartment not being clean, and I kinda snapped. Those who are my Facebook friends will know that I had no water for a couple of days at my apartment this week—the frustration of dealing with that, coupled with the fact that I had spent several days in the past week nagging the kids to clean up landisdad’s house while we were all there together—made me say to her, “when do I ever have time to clean my place? I’m at your dad’s house or I’m at work. I come home and I go to sleep, and I wake up and I go to work.”
She apologized, and told me that she wanted to make dinner one night this weekend, so I wouldn’t have to. She spent a bunch of time looking at recipes on epicurious, and decided on a menu, including a dessert. She attempted to dragoon her little brother into helping—but he wasn’t interested, and I wouldn’t let her press him into service.
We went out for a while today, and when we came back, I helped her bake her gingerbread cake. (She said, “I told you I was going to cook dinner by myself, but I didn’t say anything about dessert.”) Then she took a break for a little while, and watched Spongebob with the Potato. And then she cooked.
The Bee has really gotten in to cooking over the last year. Landisdad and I set up a ritual, when I first moved out, that we would always have Sunday dinner together (barring work commitments), and she almost always helps to make it. She’s taking a cooking class right now, and she complains a fair amount that the teacher isn’t teaching them enough useful things, in the way a middle schooler can be outraged. (“She taught us how to measure flour! Seriously!”)
So tonight, she made a 4-cheese pasta with broccoli. And it was good. She also made (with the Potato’s help) a kind-of juice spritzer—with hand-squeezed oranges and lemons, tonic & water. I took pictures of all of it to send to her dad—we do that sometimes on the weekend—just send each other pictures of the kids, and what they’re doing when they’re apart from whichever of us isn’t with them.
After we had eaten, she went in to make the frosting for the cake, which was a semi-complicated affair with heavy cream, powdered sugar & lemon curd. Have you ever made anything with lemon curd? It’s like mixing whipped cream with jelly. Weird, but good.
She was frosting the cake, and I carried some plates in to the dining room. And then I heard it. The thud, and the “Oohhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooooo!”
I went back into the kitchen, and saw it. The cake, on a chair, part of it on the floor. Frosting everywhere. The Bee, sobbing.
I picked it up and put it back on the plate. I put my arms around her and said, “it’s okay.” She sobbed, and said, “now dad’s gonna see the picture and it’s all messed up!” I told her that we didn’t have to take a picture, if she didn’t want me to. I hugged her, and told her that I was proud of her, and that I loved her, and that it could be rescued.
And then it happened. She stood up, and dried her tears, and said, “ok.” And she finished frosting the cake. She carried it into the dining room, and told me to take a picture. She cut it up, and gave it to us, and we ate it. It was delicious.
It wasn’t just the cake that was sweet. It was the maturity.
I started this blog almost seven years ago, when the Bee was in kindergarten. Throughout most of her elementary school career, she did not handle frustration very well. She got angry at herself, she got angry at other people, she got trapped in rage and couldn’t get out of it.
Tonight, none of that happened. And it was a beautiful, beautiful thing.
After dinner was over, I cleaned up the kitchen & washed the dishes. I have never been happier, cleaning up grease & whipped cream, in my life.