keep trying (sols)
Hannah baked six cakes last weekend. One on Saturday and five on Sunday. They weren’t just any cakes. They were 4-H cakes. If you are familiar with 4-H, then you know there is a 4-H way to do things and the real-life way to do things. 4-H is about perfection.
Thankfully Hannah is non-competitive. In fact, I’m not sure a less competitive person exists in the world. (This must be because Stephanie got all of Hannah’s competitiveness in addition to an extra amount that is all her own.) I’m coming to believe the non-competitiveness is an asset of Hannah’s when it comes to 4-H projects. She just wanted to have fun.
The fun took a bit of a hit after cake number two exploded in the oven. It started the running joke, that by cake number six wasn’t so funny. About a month ago I said to Hannah, “Maybe you should make a cake for 4-H.”
Her response: “Mom , it’ll be stale by the fair!”
So the running joke: Maybe this is why people practice their 4-H foods projects ahead of time. Here’s a picture, just so you can sympathize with Hannah (and Andy, since he cleaned the oven — and me, since Andy said the clean oven doubled as my anniversary gift!).
As agonizing as it was to watch her return to the kitchen, yet again, we didn’t take over. We gave her the space to try and try and try again. This took a bit of self-control on our part. After all, it was getting to be close to too-far-past-bedtime and her spirit was becoming tattered. I crossed my fingers instead of entering the kitchen.
She ended up with a lopsided cake. “I’m not sure I want to be in 4-H anymore,” she said, her eyes watery.
“I can’t imagine anything tasting better than this,” Andy assured her. We hugged her and said we’d clean up the kitchen.
The next morning we woke up early and loaded up her lopsided cake and homemade sundress (which Hannah sewed every single stitch herself). “Remember, 4-H judges are particular,” I told her.
“That’s okay,” she said. “I know they’ll think my fabric is fantastic and the cake is delish!”
I love that her spirit is resilient.
Even better was the smile on her face when she earned blue ribbons for both projects. “And they wanted to keep my cake.”
“Did you get a blue star?” I asked.
“Yeah. Is that something different?”
“It means they’re going to taste it again to see if it should go to the state fair.”
She smiled bigger. “The judge said it was okay that my cake was lopsided because it was the oven’s fault. Next time I just have to rotate the pans every 10 minutes.”
For me, the best part was seeing the strength of her independence, while at the same time celebrating with her when she came to me to share her excitement. She depended on me for support. Learning the boundaries of independence and the importance of depending on family has been an ongoing quest since we adopted Hannah five years ago.
“Thanks for letting me make my own cake, Mom. I was kinda mad that I had to do it again, but now I’m glad I did.”
“We knew you could do it,” I said, blinking back tears. Then I hugged her and she hugged me back.
Who knew healing could happen in a show arena?
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