We met Willow’s parents in birth class, when both girls were in the belly, so the girls extend the length of their lives by 3 months, and they say, “we have known each other for that long.”
They have celebrated almost every birthday together. Sadie and Willow have joint birthday parties where they fight over the guest lists, or they plan grand voyages, and then they settle for a day in New York. This year, the request was dinner out together with the 2 families, then a sleepover, and then Sadie asked for cinnamon buns instead of a cake.
A simple request, really.
Oh, Mommy, won’t you make cinnamon buns?
I was a little off this weekend. Blurry in the eyes, short on patience, and I kept telling myself to get it together. I perused the cookbooks and softened the butter. I had to work on Sadie’s birthday, so it was essential that the recipe benefit from sitting in the fridge all night before I could bake it in the morning before work. But my unmerited crankiness and impatience got in the way. And my unmerited crankiness and impatience made me even crankier and more impatient with myself. And that’s how I found myself in the kitchen far too late on Saturday night, squinting at a recipe and cursing at my yeast (always always a bad idea! living thing!) while Joey tried to stay awake in front of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in order to keep me company.
This, in truth, is my least favorite kind of cooking. The kind where I think I should be one way, but I can’t quite be my best self. The kind when I am trying to make something fabulous for my kids, but I have gotten in my own way. The kind where I realize that the recipe actually calls for 12 more hours of rise time (no!!!!! how could I have missed that!) than I have allowed for. And new-agey as it might be, you know and I know that bread above all other things takes in the emotions of the person creating it. It just does. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t change my attitude.
It was strikingly similar to the same day 8 years earlier.
I’d like to think that I do what I need to with grace and patience and calm, but really, that is more of an ideal that I strive for. And as I sat 8 years ago, so so pregnant, I was convinced that I would never give birth, that my body wouldn’t behave–in short, I was overcome with crankiness and impatience. I had been in and out of labor for weeks, and it seemed to me that my life would just continue like that forever. But more than all that, I was annoyed with myself for being so cranky and impatient–I felt like I should be able to calmly embrace the reality–that I would have a baby soon, that my body would come through, and that I should enjoy these last days before my life changed forever. But I couldn’t. I was trying to be a patient earth goddess, but in truth, I was pissed and ready for birth.
You know how the story ends. The baby came, I became a mother, and life changed forever. But this weekend as I tried to change my attitude, I couldn’t help but see the continuity of it all. I was mad that I hadn’t asked for the day off from work, that I had botched the cinnamon buns, and that I was just feeling so off. But the world worked it’s ways around me, and it took care of Sadie. Willow kept her laughing for nearly 24 hours, Rosie showered her with gifts and privileges, and Joey kept the day running smoothly. Sadie’s auntie (fairy godmother) Eilen came up from Boston and took the girls out for a whirlwind pizza and toy store day. Joey came in to see me at work, and I sat with him for a few minutes, and I realized that 8 years ago that very moment, I had finally called him at work to tell him that my water had broken and it was really going to happen this time. We were quiet, and we just sat there at the table for a minute. And by the time I got home and started rubbing herbs on the chickens for Sadie’s roast chicken birthday dinner, my mood had shifted. Sadie came home and showed me all her birthday bootie, talking a mile a minute about every single thing in the day. We sat around the dinner table and we were exactly the group of people who were in the room when she was born–me, Joey, my mother, stepfather, Maia, and Eilen (and Rosie of course!) And when we finally tucked Sadie in, right at the moment that she was born 8 years ago, the calm that I had been waiting for all weekend really came to me. Because again, again I realized (why does it always take so long!) that I do what I can, but the world takes care of these girls, and the girls take care of themselves! Sadie is strong, and smart, and so capable. And she has such a support system of people who love her–they carried her through the day. Eesh, mothering. I am just not everything, and once we get them into the world, the world will take over. Thank whoever is looking out for that. I don’t know that it takes a village. I think it takes a universe.
And the cinnamon buns? Well, I don’t know what took over, but they were fabulous. I botched the recipe so many times throughout, I have no idea how I made them. I’m going to go through and see if I can reconstruct what I did, so that will be part 2.
Happy birthday to my sweet girl. And thank you to the world that holds her.
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