I tend to bake when I’m feeling less-than. It almost always happens at night when everything’s quiet(er). I choose a song on my iPod. I press “Play”. Then I start mixing whatever is necessary to make what I want. I never used to do this. I used to think about it, dream about it, envision myself in a kitchen concocting. But I settled for the vision of myself in my mind. Maybe because I couldn’t be bothered.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, my fingers grew restless. So, I read. I read “Julie and Julia.” I read “The Book Thief.” I read whatever I could to take me out of my head. As I laid on that black futon, I kept thinking about banana bread. I always let my bananas get too ripe. They were just sitting on my counter. I put the book down and googled a recipe. That was the beginning of my baking at night.
Tonight, as I made banana bread followed by sticky buns, it became abundantly clear why I bake at night. I am in control. If it tastes bad, it’s because of something I did, something I didn’t measure, something I forgot to add. When my mom got sick, her fate was out of my hands. No matter how much I loved her or cared for her, it just wasn’t enough. That’s life. The important things tend to evade the constraints of our will.
Sometimes I need to be reminded that even when things get a little crazy and I feel a little helpless, I’m still in control of something.