My sister-in-law gave me an old, novel for my birthday. (The year 1911 to be exact and a copy from the first print!) Most ordinary girls would probably turn a nose (quite literally) at this musty gift, but it made my nerdy heart swell with joy.
I’m trying to take my time and savor each word, but it’s a little hard. Similar to a box of delectable chocolates or a salty bag of chips, you just can’t stop.
I’ve been sneaking a chapter in here or a chapter there. I’ve even given Mr. Coppertop encouragement to finish some of his projects out in the garage after the kids have gone to bed, so I can relish a few more undisturbed moments in the nineteenth century.
Last week, (feeling somewhat inspired to engage in domestic excellence) after reading of Mrs. Carey’s feminine, antiquated excellence, I decided to attempt a new recipe for dinner.
It was one that my sister, Jenell, had previously tried and since she is my go-to-guru of healthy recipes, I knew I could trust her opinion. (Besides, she had texted me the recipe along with a picture of her golden brown stromboli pulled straight from the oven.)
Granted, I was wondering how a white sweet potato was going to morph into a beautifully, breaded crust but once again, my determination was unwavering.
Mrs. Carey had nothing on me (Other than her perfectly-pressed, flowing skirt and the chignon with tendrils…).
It was the same day I spontaneously decided to use the pears in my fridge to make pear-butter, as well as teach my kids how to carve a pumpkin. I was on a roll of amazing mom/wife status that could only be culminated with perfect, hot stromboli on the table when Mr. Coppertop arrived home.
I didn’t start to see it all falling apart until I plopped the gooey ‘dough’ on the parchment paper. I had obviously missed something. But I wasn’t about to give up.
I looked at the clock and saw that I had fifteen minutes.
The kitchen table was covered in lonely printer paper, watercolor paints, and paintbrushes that a certain brood of children had neglected to put away. I didn’t even want to look at the floor because I knew that it had more of the same… plus a few stray pumpkin seeds.
I imagined Mrs. Carey looking away. I felt her polite disapproval.
I shoved this imaginary character out of my mind and quickly added some more ingredients that I thought might correct the problem. With sticky fingers, I formed a ball-looking thing with cheese, put it on a cookie sheet, said a prayer, and stuck it in the oven.
I may not have it all together, but I’m a determined duck. I managed to clean up the art supplies, corral the children, get the table set, and even redo my chignon (aka modern messy bun) before Mr. Coppertop walked in the door.
Feeling a little pink in the cheeks from the goose chase, and tickled to think I might rival Mrs. Carey after all, I pulled what I was convinced was the ‘miracle loaf’ from the oven.
Opening the oven door, I quickly realized that it was a miracle all right. Miraculously inedible.
I fumbled through an apology to my anxious family waiting around the kitchen table, while I threw together some nachos. Mr. Coppertop insisted it wasn’t necessary, so I apologized to Mrs. Carey. I knew she’d understand.
Chignons or messy buns. Mothers are mothers. No era, circumstance, or style has produced a perfect mom. That tension we all feel when we fall short is not generational, it’s human.
And if it means scrambling to make your hangry family nachos while you swallow a little humble pie, do it.