The thing I like most about tennis is the whack of the ball when it hits square on the sweet spot of my racquet. This only happens when I am actually looking at the ball, instead of admiring where my shot should go.
The same goes with golf. When you are at the tee, you have a perfect back swing and you hit that ball EXACTLY where you should, it makes that noise – that combination of whoosh and thwack — and you watch in awe as the ball sails down the fairway to a perfect lie.
And even in baking a cake or a batch of cookies. When the cake comes out of the oven perfectly risen and slides out of the pan with ease. You know you got it right. And in baking cookies, when they come out of the oven and the edges are the exact shade of golden brown they should be. Just ready to be cooled for a minute then eaten with a glass of milk.
Though seemingly trivial, these physical signs will let you know that what you’ve done is exactly right.
If only parenting could be so easy, right?
I think that if I ask parents I know, we could compare our own parenting successes to baking and there would be a lot of burnt cookies and cakes that didn’t rise.
I have burned my share of cookies and had my share of lopsided cakes.
We obviously wouldn’t throw them away. We’d eat the burnt cookies and flat cakes and ask “What did I do wrong? How can I make it better the next time?”
Now why I am comparing my children to burnt baked goods and sporting equipment is beyond me, other than the fact that I didn’t have an idea for a subject today, so when I baked a pumpkin cake that turned out okay I sort of had an epiphany. (Oh, and I played tennis today after a long hiatus.)
But if you think about this, it might make some sense. Baking and golf or tennis gives you a recipe to follow, but it might not always come out the way you planned because there are always variables – like a baking pan, the activeness of your baking soda or powder or yeast, how oven temperatures differ. Or in golf or tennis, the wind, the course condition, etc..
Perhaps the same goes with parenting. There are always going to be variables – the unique qualities of mom and dad, the wonderful traits that are the make up of your kids. The day, the situation, the mood.
I look at my kids and realize that sometimes they will be cookies with perfectly lightly browned edges. Perhaps that is the day that everything went right.
I revel in the fact that they are my cakes, cakes that I put my heart and soul into creating. And I also have to realize that they might be looking at me thinking I look like a burnt cookie.
So there you have it. Very philosophical in a baking and sporting kind of way. I hope you see the correlation.
If not, chalk it up to a poor attempt to overcome writer’s block.