So two months off of sugar, gluten, and dairy and what are we doing on our first snow day in Maine? First the girls and I dug out from the huge dumps of snow we received today then we came inside, played Clue, and then decided to pull out the sugar, flour, powder sugar, and butter from our vast supply that had gone untouched since Christmas. Anna said, “lets have a say goodbye to sugar celebration.” First she asked if we could make chocolate chip muffins, from there it turned into can we make a chocolate chip cake. I wasn’t sure if there was such a thing so we did what we always do, we Googled it.
And there it was, just like everything else we searched for it on the internet. This would be my first time baking with sugar and such when I couldn’t taste or try any of it. Anna asked me if we shouldn’t be baking. I shook my head no and said, “this is how it is for me, you guys can still treat yourselves.” Inside I was really thinking, oh my god what I wouldn’t give to be able to lick the batter from the sides of the bowl. The girls got busy measuring, coating the baking pans, and cracking eggs. I stood back and mostly watched finding or grabbing ingredients when they couldn’t be found or reached.
The kitchen busied itself with the sound of the KitchenAid and the heating up of the oven. Our woodstove crackled and pushed out heat into our cool New England farmhouse. It had snowed more than six inches since we had come inside and played a game of Clue. Our yard and fields had transformed once again into a winter wonderland, insulating us from the slippery roads and wintery conditions. Time had finally paused allowing us all to inhale deeply and exhale the pressures and weariness of every day life. No one was worried about homework, quizzes, tests, regionals for track, or states for cheerleading. We were all just being home on a snow day doing things that seemed to be distant memories from long ago.
The batter was finally ready to be poured into the stackable pans we had found months ago in a thrift store. The girls wanted to try to make a mock wedding cake. Why not, if this was going to be a sugar funeral, why not go all out. Before I knew that I had done it, I had run my finger along the edge of the mixing bowl and slipped it quietly into my mouth. The sensation charged my senses and filled my taste buds with electricity. I stopped short and almost felt guilt at the realization I had fallen off the wagon and without even thinking said hello to my old friend. Anna looked up at me with concern. She raised her eyebrows as my mother would have, fourteen didn’t seem so young in that moment. I smiled quickly and with my eyes told her, “no harm done.” I silently told myself, “no more, that’s enough.”
As I write this post, the cakes are cooling on the counter waiting to be frosted with a vanilla mini chocolate chip icing. The smell has overtaken our downstairs and pulled me back to a time when I baked almost daily for my family and thought as long as everything was homemade than I was being a good mom, doing right by myself and my family. Life for me has changed drastically since then and now being sugar, dairy, gluten free my priorities and perspective have changed from being about what I put in my pantry, my mouth, and in my kids’ lives. Having a healthy “normal” childhood is so much more about making decisions that will affect their general well being today, tomorrow, and as they grow into adults. It’s not as much about creating the fantastical moments filled with sugar, gifts, and unexpected adventures, which don’t get me wrong makes any childhood magical. Parenting for me is becoming more about focusing on what gives them a stronger foundation physically, emotionally, and socially. This is all new to me and while I’ve always made sure they brushed their teeth, played outside, and did their homework, and heard me say “I love you” a hundred times a day, it seems like I’ve been given a deeper sense of knowing what they need from me. So if it’s a goodbye celebration to sugar, than its also a hello to a simpler, better way of being us.