Baking Break By Judy Hitchcock

I was tired. Tired of the incessant rushing of my day. The pressures and deadlines to be met. That clock that was constantly chasing me. Minute by minute. All the while trying to maintain a level of perfection that was never quite attainable.

It was Friday and I had planned on baking some loaves of bread with my daughter after work. Our family recipe. Seemed like a good idea at the time, on Wednesday, when she suggested it. I had convinced myself then, I could sacrifice my own feelings of tiredness, after all, I had Saturday off. Not to mention, She was only in town for the evening and would be leaving early the next morning. But again, that was Wednesday, and I was pooched now.

And now…. I could just kick myself. I mean baking bread took time. All of that kneading, the right consistency and waiting for the the yeast to rise, ugh, another time, I’m too tired. She’ll understand.

I got in the door, fed and watered the dogs. Watered my plants and finished the residual dishes left from breakfast. I grabbed a bowl of peanuts and cut some cheese, my favourite go-to, in between meals.

I heard the crunching of the gravel in the driveway. She was here. My stomach sank, anticipating her disappointment of a promise I was about to break. Now I was second guessing myself. WILL she understand? Or disguise her disappointment with a faint smile and those giant blue eyes.

I greeted her with a hug and a kiss. Small talk followed and I ever so graciously began to express my long day. And there was that smile. Did I know my daughter? Yes. Was I still too tired. Yes. Was I going to bake bread. Yes.

So we put her favourite playlist on in the background, collected all of our ingredients, laid the tattered and faded recipe out on the table. And then, we began the arduous process of baking bread.

Half way through, my tiredness began to melt away. I was, we were, delighting in each others company. All was well with the world. Or so I thought

And then she looked up at me and quietly said, “Mama, I have to tell you something”. My heart sank. I felt a heaviness start to swallow me. Call it mothers intuition, I just knew. Whether it was the tone of her voice, or the sudden break in eye contact. She began kneading again. I braced myself, and as best as I could, kept my exterior poised. Time has taught me, nothing comforts them more than calmness in troubled waters.

I won’t share the context. But I will tell you this much…. Baking bread saved us both that day. It kept her hands and eyes busy, while tackling a difficult talk. Giving Her the comfort to be more vulnerable than I think she’s ever been, by the simple distraction of a family recipe.

Just like the bread, we kneaded through this together. Through the hard parts and the tears. We kept kneading. Worked through it. Found a mutual consistency, to swim in these unchartered muddied waters…. and then we rose. Together. We rose.

I found myself grateful for something I had been dreading. Thankful for the time it would take, because I didn’t know it earlier, but time is something we would need. Some things you can’t hurry. Some things turn out just as perfectly as they are meant to, in the absence of haste.

I couldn’t help but wonder, how many opportunities had been missed, or set aside, because of the mundane, hum-drum of life’s expectations. Feeling spent. My perspective had been awakened that day. In her quiet, unintentional way, she reminded me of the joy of selflessness.

Only a little over an hour ago I was consumed by my own feelings, needs and wants. Ignorant to the fact that her needing me, just may outweigh, my selfishness.

Unaware that something bigger would reveal itself in those precious moments, something that would bind us closer. Through adversity and love.

There was peace in the valley again.

She felt safe. She felt heard. And she felt loved.

And that’s a gift we both shared that day.

……All the while, baking bread

~J. Reid 2020

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