Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baker's secret

Before graduation, at PPP's all girls' school, every senior must address the student body (middle and upper school students) in chapel. Chapel is a daily occurrence- outside speakers, the chaplain, teachers, alumnae - chapel speaker is a recognized role. It happens every year, every senior - so this is one of the things we began talking about this summer -
along with the block on the wall,Derby Day (mud-day) . . .
senior pictures and....
the senior speech. PPP wanted to get hers DONE, so early November was her chosen time. We have talked about ideas ever since she picked the date, which was roughly the first minute of school. She settled on her idea less than a week before the actual day. Toss out the 756 ideas we generated and stories to go along with them. It had reached the point that when something even REMOTELY interesting happened, we examined it as a possible senior speech topic.

PPP: The other day the Sophisticate tried to steal my pillowcase. You know the one with the green dots.
Me: Can we make this into a senior speech?
PPP: She picked up my pillowcase and put it up to her cheek and felt it. And THEN, she tried to take it, because it's so soft.
Me: So, this is a story we can use in the senior speech?
PPP: I said "You can't take that! That's MY pillowcase." The Sophisticate said, "Well, it's soft, and I need another pillowcase." And I said, "Whoa-girl! You don't get everything good. That's my pillowcase."
Me: So, you can talk about how you have to stand up for yourself and...
PPP: Mom, my senior speech cannot be about pillowcases.
Me: Oh, yeah. So, what are you going to talk about? Just asking.
PPP: Not pillowcases.

OK, then. Here were some possibilities:
  • Grey'sAnatomy "Seriously, Mom? Seriously?"
  • The storm that killed our house
  • Sex and the City and the time we watched all 6 seasons in 10 days "I don't think I can say the word 'sex' in chapel.
  • The storm that destroyed our house
  • The question "where are you going to college" -You KNOW I don't want to talk about college. I don't want to think about college.
  • The storm that devastated our house - I'm NOT talking about the storm. No. Don't say it again.

So, I eventually gave up, and decided that she would be inspired or she would be embarrassed. A week out, though? No topic? Seriously? "Grey's Anatomy" was looking promising. Perhaps the "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team" a weekend obsession of ours. So imagine my surprise - and relief, but don't tell her - when on Halloween eve she appeared at the foot of my bed (where I lure children to talk with abandon) with her eureka moment.
PPP: "I'll talk about baking!" Duh. Baking is your other life.

ME: OK, great idea. IF it holds.PPP: I'm going to talk about baking! What else would I talk about? I'm going to talk about baking.
ME: OK, got any other.... She was gone, back to baking BigB's Halloween brownies to take to work.

Moments later, before my mind had much of a chance to run through a few hundred ideas related to baking. . .

PPP (back at the foot of the bed): "I'll talk about all my disasters. All those disasters, that brown globby looking apple pie that Little Bear always makes fun of! Why didn't I think of this? I'm a BAKER. I'm SO going to talk about baking.

Gone again. . . . . . . . . .Back again.PPP: And that cake, the first one, the one I made with the box mix? The one that fell apart and we had to stick back together with the icing, and it was still ugly? That I STILL hear about? Yeah.
Gone....back again.PPP: It's like coming, all the ideas, suddenly, idea after idea, all my disasters and all the ways I had to make the best of them. Sort of like everything else. You just make the best of what you have and keep going. Yes! (Demi-fist pump, holding the wooden spoon that splattered Halloween brownie batter all over the place.)

And so it was. She talked about something that was near and dear to her heart, and a part of her very make-up. That night she approached her tried and true "Death to the Diet" brownies to find that she didn't quite have enough of a few things, and had to make some substitutions. For a girl who likes even measurements, exact times, and very explicit instructions, substitutions are not easy. But, she has come to terms with it, and is now able to substitute (sometimes) rather than make yet another trip to the store. I happen to be a baker who thrives on substitutions and times things by the smell. She is developing her smell-ability. I have faith.
Not everything has been a disaster. Just saying.


Kat said...

Oh what a wonderful girl! I love this post. :)

Carin said...

Great post. Oh, the mud in that one picture. You kids look like they have so much fun in their daily lives. Did she already give her speach or is it coming up soon?

kikibibi said...

Oooo, any way she'd post the speech here? Probably not, but I'd love to hear it!

Growing up the youngest of four girls, I never did much baking or cooking, never much need for it (although I'm quite accomplished now). So when I called my oldest sister many moons ago to tell her I was getting married, her first words were "But you don't know how to cook!"

Anonymous said...

OH! I am so Pms'ing and dealing with a child with a belly ache while I drink wine because now I am crying at this post. Your daughter sounds so awesome and it just makes me think of when my #2 won't be "a little kid with a belly ache who wants her Mommy to hold her hand because she feels sick" anymore. She'll be like your PPP and going away to college. Great...I'm tearing up again and #2 is wondering why I'm hugging her again...