Today, I went outside of my normal routine for the first time in …. I don’t know … months? A year? I went inside someplace other than a grocery store (and not on vacation). It was an eye doctor appointment. My former eye doctor had retired and the new clinic had opened in his old space. I decided to give it a shot. And it was fine. I felt, more or less, safe. I have to say, though, that it was exhausting with very little return. My prescription had changed very little and so, while, I will be getting new glasses, it doesn’t feel like it was worth it to go through all of that — the getting there and the forms and the, you know, TALKING TO PEOPLE.
Ok. It wasn’t all that bad. But I have been exhausted all day. It’s as if doing anything at all, having any sort of human interaction these days is on par with running an emotional marathon. I considered grabbing a coffee or something whilst I was out, but, in the end, I honestly just wanted to get back to the familiar territory of home.
Being out in the world, it felt like many internal gauges were off. I wasn’t sure what was “normal”, for me or for the other people I had to interact with. “Am I acting normal?” I kept thinking to myself.
I was trying on new frames and the man helping me told me I could take down my mask for a few moments to see how they looked. I obliged but also mumbled something about how I also wanted to check whether they’d fog up with a mask on. And I felt really vain and awful for pulling down my mask to see how I looked. Later on, at home, when my kids looked at my selfies, they asked, “why aren’t you smiling?” (Well, the two older ones did. Mr3yo just said, “Did you get new glasses?”) In the pictures, I’m not smiling, I’m just looking stressed out. Because I was feeling stressed out. I didn’t really want to take my mask down. I did it because, I don’t know, the guy told me I should see how I look and it was fine to take it down for a moment.
I’m exhausted just thinking about how difficult the whole thing felt.
In Luke 5:4, Jesus says to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and lower your nets for a catch.” They comply and pull in so many fish that their nets tear.
I’ve been thinking about this idea of putting out into deep water for a few days now. Where is the deep water I’m supposed to be casting my nets into?
This weekend, like many weekends, Ms8yo wanted to bake something. She pulled out one of her favorite books (Sweet by Helen G’oh and Yotam Ottelenghi) and paged through, looking for a recipe to try out. She chose the Raspberry and Lemon Cupcakes. At first, she was a little wary that they weren’t seasonal and asked me what berries or fruit would be in season right now. I told her that raspberries would be fine, more or less, right now, and she set about coming up with what ingredients her dad would need to pick up at the store and which ones we already had.
She’s getting better about reading through the entire recipe and checking all the ingredients. She’s learned her lesson from missing a few things in the pass. Nothing that couldn’t be replaced or easily found, but nonetheless, it’s made her more diligent about reading through things first.
This particular recipe called for lemon curd, which she managed to make herself on the stove with only a little help from us. I was thrilled because I love lemon curd and would definitely ask her to are it again. Even if not for these specific cupcakes, I’d love some on crumpets or other baked goods. She asked for help a few times reaching things. I zested the lemons; her sister helped her frost the little cakes when they were done. I dug out the cupcake papers I was fairly certain I’d picked up not long ago at the grocery store. (Although, when she couldn’t find them herself at first, she was perfectly willing to butter and flour the pan, which is always a feasible option.) She opted to weigh out (rather than measuring by volume) some of the ingredients and thus we talked about the different settings of the kitchen scale: lb/ oz and kg/ g.
The cupcakes were lovely: tangy and sweet with a lovely sponge (although Mr3yo stuck almost completely to just the mascarpone/ lemon curd frosting). We had two nights of dessert out of the dozen. “Baker” is one of the things that Ms8yo would like to possibly become in the future (although we try to tell her that she already is one). She’s currently reading From the Desk of Zoe Washington and says that one of the reason she loves it is that the main character also wants to become a baker.
As a parent, I worry. A lot. And currently, one of my concerns is just the fear that, with the pandemic and my kids basically having very limited options right now for movement and activities and socializing, that somehow they will miss out on something. What? I don’t know. A “normal” childhood? Knowing how to interact with people? The learning and knowledge that they can gain from going out into the world and being comfortable there?
Here’s the thing. When Jesus instructed his followers to cast out into the deep, I don’t think that it was the “outwardness” of the casting so much as the depth. If we are to catch fish, I don’t think they are going to be, mostly, “out there”. The fish, the sustenance of life and of learning, can be found in the depths, not in the shallows. And, for now anyway, the depths are in our very home, and inside ourselves, and in our families or immediate communities. For me, the shallows were the outing to the eye doctor (high cost, low return) whilst the depths are at home, where my kids do things like decide to bake cupcakes one weekend and end up pulling each family, in turn, into their activity, giving and receiving little lessons along the way, and ending with a lovely, sweet and tangy treat.