When Everything is Going Wrong

That’s a big title. It’s a scary way to start a post. To reassure you, everything can go wrong and all of the everything can still be small things. Everything doesn’t have to mean a catastrophe. it’s often all those little things just coming together to make for a bad day.

Big Sister’s birthday was this week. She was sick on her birthday and the day after her birthday. She missed celebrating with her friends at school. (Thank goodness her party was on the weekend, just before she got sick.)

We made the best of it. I did what I could to be present for her given that I was sick, too. I think we both ended up sleeping almost all day.

Anyway, we mostly got over the colds and we starting to get back to normal. The kids have bible club and Big Sister wants to take cookies to her group. Which means I have to bake cookies…and I’m still not feeling 100%.

Now, cold virus aside, I know I’m better in the morning. My ankle is all rested up and I can stand to be on my feet for a bit. As the day wears on, I get tired and the pain returns. By the end of the day, I’m mostly forcing myself to keep going. If it weren’t for my kids, I’d give in and go to bed at like 6pm everyday. But evenings are family time. The kids are in school all day and evenings are the only time we get to spend together (assuming they aren’t going out to one of their activities).

So, I started off really well in the morning, with great intentions to get those cookies baked and ready to go for when Big Sister comes home from school.

Best.laid.plans.

I forgot to take the butter out of the freezer, so I had to defrost the block in the microwave, but that was taking too long and I was working with quickly dwindling time, so I tried heating the butter. That worked a bit, but not enough so I hacked off the amount that I needed, put it in a bowl and put it back in the microwave, but I forgot to pay attention (very important when heating butter that you don’t want to actually melt). Guess what? It mostly melted.

So the butter’s in the bowl in the freezer getting hard again. (Must remember to pay attention so that the butter doesn’t freeze again, because frozen brings me back full circle.)

Then I boiled the kettle for tea because, well, I have a cold and tea is good for me.

But I got distracted with warming up some roasted leeks for a quickie lunch and by the time I poured the water for my tea, it was cold, which is very disappointing to a sick person.

Onto the cookies. The not quite frozen butter can now be creamed with the sugars to create the beginnings of a cookie dough.

Just looking at it I know it’s not going to turn out as delicious as the recipe claims. I know better than to bake when I’m in a bad mood.

Ah, there it is. The admission.

A bad mood. But I didn’t think I was. My day was going along swimmingly. Where did this bad mood come from? Maybe the incredibly dreary sky that is glaring at me through every window? Maybe I’m trying to distract myself with busy-ness to get out of the bad mood that I didn’t know that I was in? I’ve done a lot today. I was feeling accomplished. Guess I was fooling myself.

But then the mindfulness.

You can’t bake or cook or craft or create or do or enjoy anything when you can’t get out of your head and into the moment.

And getting out of your head means being mindful of you, mindful of the moment, mindful of your surroundings and feelings and self.

So there I was, in the middle of my kitchen, chewing on a piece of roasted leek with my eyes closed and my focus on the soft, crunchy sound the leek made each time my teeth came together on it, breathing deeply (as deeply as one can with a stuffed up nose and a mouth full of food). My focus drifted to all the other things I had to get done: the unbaked cookies, the dinner prep, the tidying up, the crochet project for my daughter. I brought my mind back to the moment, to the soft but crunchy leek, to the feel of standing without crutches, to the silence in the house, to the sound of the rain on windows. Two more deep breaths and I open my eyes.

I am calmer. Ready. More centered. I think I can bake those cookies now without ruining them.

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