In our little family the birthday person gets to choose whatever they want for their birthday dinner. Lucky S-BD got to pick two dinners this year because we planned to celebrate on her actual birthday and then again, with more folks, at a later date.
For her bigger dinner she wanted lasagna, but for her actual-day dinner she (incomprehensibly) chose pancakes. Yes, pancakes.
My nerves were fuckin' frayed a little off that day due to a faulty smoke/fire alarm (since replaced) that kept screeching, despite the fact that there was no smoke or fire to be seen.
There was a LOT of sniffing for smoke and checking for flames going on - and there was also other, ongoing stuff (some people call this other stuff "Life") messing with my nerves - so I was, as I mentioned above, a bit less than in-the-flow.
So, with my nerves a little off I began to make pancakes. Not your everyday pancakes, either.
These were exceptional - I've made them a number of times before, but only on really special occasions because they take forever (warmed cream cheese, egg whites and yolks separated, whites whipped to a just-so-ness, exact measuring and precise times for adding this and that - so different from my usual never-the-same-thing-twice type of cooking).
And I failed. Dismally. I made black-eyed pancakes. The whole batch.
I kept trying - and thinking things like: "Once the heat evens out in the pan they'll turn out just right.", "This next batch will sing!", and other upwardly hopeful thoughts.
But they were all - down to the last pancake - blackened. Sigh.
I wanted to make that b.d. celebration special. I wanted to fling those pancakes effortlessly - perfectly - flowishly. But, obviously, that didn't happen.
I'd like to tell you that I consciously chose to turn away from crankiness and frustrated anger at my failure. But that didn't happen either.
What happened was: I came to the party.
Slightly-British Daughter - who was wearing a bright pink sash with Birthday Girl written on it in silver glitter - got laughing. She claimed it wasn't a big deal that her birthday pancakes were black (she even courageously tasted one and declared it damn good).
Manchild got laughing. And then (even with all the work involved in making that messy mass of black-eyed pancakes) I got laughing.
I think laughter (maybe especially laughter!) creates an openness. A little bit of wiggle room for our perspective to change position.
I wound up laughing and all of a sudden I was at a party - a birthday celebration - frayed nerves disappeared and my pancake-fail didn't matter much.
Would you like me to cater your next event (grin)?