Looked at his pleading face for the crumble he loves so much, which I’d promised him to make since before the summer; and it didn’t matter how knackered I was, from the broken night’s sleep with fire alarm going off twice at 1.30am, early start, amazing intense private audience with Alan, drive back from Wales, collecting school shoe order from M&S, dashing to pick him up from long-awaited playdate with BFF, picking Seraphine and our lovely new Spanish au pair Vera up from another playdate at playground, going to mobile phone shop to update contracts and handsets, supermarket stockup, greengrocer stockup, cooking dinner, unpacking, sitting down for our first family meal at home since the summer (sans C who is at yet another sleepover, all of which was coordinated remotely from Wales inbetween lectures and meditation)…nope.
I looked at that face and all that notwithstanding, I chose to deliver on my promise.
Blake helped to peel the apples, perfectly. Seraphine happily played with the crumble like sand (I let her imagine that was “helping”). She conked out from tiredness halfway through the making. This one though – love how I can leave him to gauge the doneness now. Took it out a bit early and got chastised: “it’s not ready, Mama.” Right. It was true. “It’s gotta be crunchy.”
Left it entirely up to him – it was his crumble after all, really 😌 C doesn’t like it, while S says she does but doesn’t really… – while I treasured every moment of carrying a S whom I was catching up on 10 days of missing cuddling and now almost asleep in my arms, up the stairs – while I still can, knowing full well I can’t for much longer – and held her in the dark till her soft head flopped back, her limbs went gradually limp, and she succumbed to slumber. I held her close for an unknown time. Have you ever truly felt with your own body how much a sleeping another body is still so quietly vibrant, warm, humming with life? And what a gift that is? Try it. It’s beautiful.
I came downstairs summoned by my pastry chef: “IT’S READY MAMA!!” It was perfect. Then he surprises me. “I was meditating while waiting for it. It was very relaxing.” ??!?!?! Children. They never fail to give you something new.
My reward I didn’t even need to really see with my eyes, I heard it in his sigh of pleasure as he dug in. And then he said, “If there was anything I would choose to do to make this crumble better…I would choose nothing. Because it is so perfect.”
And then he continued, “I really cannot believe how it can be possible to make something so yummy, at home.”
I don’t share this domestic vignette because I want to stake some silly claim on the relative merit of my home baking.
I share it because so much, so much of the transcendent joy that this human life business has to offer anybody comes in the form of such simple little transparent unexpected guileless offerings of gladness from one heart to another. 💘