No use crying over spilt self-raising flour
Today we baked together. A hummingbird cake, full of sweetness and spice and faraway promises, for a friend who is leaving us soon. A friend whose name you know and can nearly say, and whose daughter you love, like a borrowed little sister.
At this moment in your life, you want to do everything yourself, especially if there is risk or mess involved. So baking is perfect for you. Standing on a precarious chair at the table with bowls and bags of sugar and flour, you were in your element and before long the flour was all over the floor.
Not just any flour but self-raising flour, which is like gold dust in Beirut. Or perhaps star dust. Anyway, this morning it was just dust.
We both stood there looking at it. You were waiting for my reaction. So was I.
Should I say that’s it, take our aprons off and wash our hands, vowing to wait until are you are older before baking again?
Should I say forget the cake and let you carry on in your own sweet way, decorating the house with all the ingredients?
Or something else?
It was one decision too many for a tired mama and I was suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion. For a second I wanted to cry. But I didn’t.
Instead, in a flash of inspiration, I moved the ‘real’ baking to the other end of the table and scooped up the spilt flour into a bowl, just for you, to play with to your heart’s content. And mine.
Later, while you napped, the cake cooked perfectly and I poured your flour into a jar, for another baking day.
Later still, we picked pink flowers from the terrace together to decorate the cake and the tears I had saved from earlier, I shed instead over my friend-who-is-almost-leaving, a much more worthy cause than flour (even if it’s self-raising and made of gold and stars).