Friday, September 2, 2011

How We Do It - Part II in an ongoing series


I'm a baker, not a candlestick maker. I bake cakes and cupcakes and sell them to people or give them away. I do it for the money and I do it for the pleasure of the sweet -- the feel of the batter, the flow of the icing, the pleasure of the perfect meringue, the gloss of the chocolate, the tender crumb. I have to be able to bake in the midst of it all, though, measure the flour and remember the sugar, count the eggs and remember the baking soda or was it powder? Is that Sophie who just made that bang or was it the boys? I put the tins in the oven and put Sophie's shoes on and while the timer ticks, I take her around the block, tire her out so that she can sit in her wheelchair, gladly, while I mix the frosting and pull the pans out of the oven and leave them there to cool and her to rest.

This is how we do it.




And when Sophie is up and wandering in her room, aimlessly, bumping into the closet door, seeking sensation and flirting with danger, the mixer is on in the kitchen and I feel tense, straining to hear over the whir, I call on the boys, the ever-patient boys, the boys whose lives I try to protect, try to shield, ever balancing the reality of the situation she is disabled and she is your sister and they have their own lives to live and will not be responsible, too responsible, they answer yes, mom and I ask them to watch her, watch her while I put this in the oven, watch her please make sure she doesn't fall off the couch, let her watch you, let her be with you, pay attention to her, please watch her just for a minute, just a sec.


That is how we do it.


Lavender, Vanilla and Coconut Cupcakes
(not pictured - Intense Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes)


How We Do It - Part I HERE.

21 comments:

  1. And what you do, all of it, is amazing--the kids, the baking, the writing, the being. Someday you'll look back on this time and wonder how you were so amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep,that is how we do it,even on days when we don't want to.

    Sending love and coveting those cupcakes, because I know first hand, just how yummy they are.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And the difference between asking Smash (15) to "just watch your sister for a minute," or "push the chair" and how that flavor is changed between whether i mean for the three year old or for Snail. Like his brotherly responsibilities should be zeroed somehow in the face of disability, but are expected for his "normal" sister. It's all so hard, and complex and difficult and inducing of the guilt.

    I love that you write about it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Elizabeth, sweet Elizabeth sometimes reading about your life makes me sad. There is nothing like having a child with special needs (I hate those words) and having to get up everyday and live. Just living should not be this hard. I hope blogging helps you just a little bit with this journey.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You make beautiful cakes and cupcakes, Elizabeth, and are a beautiful mother.

    ReplyDelete
  6. and you do it all extremely well indeed

    ReplyDelete
  7. As they get older it will become more difficult for them to focus on that situation and other solutions must be sought, at least that is what I have experienced, my other kids being 18 and 16.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Most importantly, you do it all with love. And everyone knows that - Sophie and the boys. I honestly believe that as much as you want to protect them and honor the fact that they have their own lives, including them in the needs of the family shows them that you trust them and reminds them that they are part of this special unit.

    And, they get to smell the heavenly scent of your work in the kitchen. I'd do a lot for that!

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Richard Wilbur said the strength of the genie comes from its living in a bottle."

    I know we all wish your bottle were a bit more spacious, but I am in awe of the beauty you manage to create - the writing, the baking, the mothering.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There is a certain magic and sacredness to juggling a myriad number of acts of love simultaneously. There is also hope and expectation and fear when we pray that siblings will be there for each other in the long run...warm blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely, a tiny insight into a day of sacrifice, love, grace and trying to get through it all hour by hour.

    ReplyDelete
  12. kario said it for me.

    You are a family, and you do it YOUR own way, which is the best way, and the only way. It is unique, creative, and it blends the gifts of each member of your family together...kind of like making music. xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love these this is how we do it posts more than anything here even more than the gorgeous photos because I need to know we all need to know how it goes what goes on what is involved dig down to the roots of it how you manage all of it and still remain true to yourself. You are remarkable. Truly.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Remaining aware of the individual needs of everyone in your family.. most importantly your own in your need to work,create, and take some time to play.... is what I personally find most impressive in your mothering. You were asked to give more than the norm when you donned the role of "mother" and "how we do it" describes to me how it should be done. It looks like your house is a nice place to live and grow up - and I hope you appreciate the amazing nature of this feat. I have an adult friend whose own mother did not fare as well.. Your energy and effort to get up everyday and greet the day will sustain Henry and Oliver as they look back on their childhoods and is what allows Sophie to thrive. What a gift you are to them and to us for writing so beautifully about it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Colleen -- You have left so many thoughtful comments on my blog, and this one is particularly kind. I so appreciate your words and the note about your friend's growing up. Really -- thank you for the time and support.

    All -- Your constant support is a blessing to me -- over and over and over. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'll keep reading if you keep writing, my gain.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, I've been in Kitchenville missing your wonderful blog. This is a stellar post, Elizabeth. You have book title or a subtitle, I think. Beautiful post. Keep them coming.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You know that proverb? The one that says, "her children will rise up and call her blessed?" They will, Elizabeth.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...