Baking Lessons

My son and I have similar personalities. He’s a lot like me while my daughter is a lot like my husband.

My husband and Annabel are extroverted and carefree, while Daniel and I are more introverted and cautious. We’re thoughtful. We don’t want to be the center of attention, but we want to be invited to the party. We’re conscientious and organized.  We’re also sensitive to things that throw us off, like traffic jams or bad weather.

Where this mother-son connection might get a bit tricky is when both of us are in a situation that makes us uneasy. One example is flying. The first time I went on an airplane was college. I wasn’t into it. I still get nervous every time I fly and I’m sure it’s because of my lack of experience but also because I have no control. That’s a crappy feeling for someone who’s already cautious.

So it made sense that Daniel might be intimidated to get on an airplane too. His first flight was with me when he was three-years-old.  The two of us were headed to DC for my nephew’s first birthday. I wanted Daniel to start flying when he was very young so he would think of it as “no big deal.” I also couldn’t let him see me sweat. I smiled through every bit of turbulence and told him anything bumpy was fun! Hooray! Like a roller coaster ride! And it worked! He’s a good flyer.

The same thing happens with the weather. Daniel hates bad weather, although he wants to be a weatherman. (There is probably some big psychological explanation for that, but that’s a post for another day.) When the storms are terrible, I hate it too. But ever since he was a little kid, I act as though it doesn’t bother me. I tell him everything is fine and to look at his weather app to track the storm. To take deep breaths.  He used to get very upset when he saw dark clouds and lightening, but now he’s learned to handle it.

The other day Daniel came home from school and wanted a snack. I guess there was nothing here to his liking, so he looked inside the kid’s cookbook he bought at the school book fair. He decided on biscuits. He looked around the pantry to make sure we had all the ingredients and away he went. He preheated the oven, mixed up everything in a bowl, put perfect circles of dough on a cookie sheet, and then baked them until golden brown. He did this with such confidence and ease, the complete opposite of his Mama.

I am not the cook in the family. My husband takes on those main duties. Sure, I can make simple eggs and pasta, but the thought of cooking an entire meal or baking homemade biscuits (!) stresses me out. It’s overwhelming. But watching my own son so relaxed about the whole process made me want to venture out of my cooking rut. I actually found myself dusting off a cookbook my mother-in-law gifted me two Christmas’s ago (it’s Jessica Seinfeld’s The Can’t Cook Book. How appropriate.) and started looking at some pork recipes to try.

Parents are supposed to teach children how to navigate the hard stuff, but it turns out my son taught me a lesson that day. And those were the best biscuits I have ever tasted.