Friday, October 10, 2008

Gratitude

Or: How I learned to stop worrying about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket and love cake.

As I was sitting on my porch at the end of a long day, I began checking down my usual mental list of bakery to-dos: find a space, hire staff, figure out payroll, coordinate the rest of the fall weddings, make changes to the menu, work on spreadsheets, design the space, go to the bank, et cetera ad infinatum, when I was struck by a realization.

I've come so far, and I'm so incredibly grateful.

Two and a half years ago I was a new mom with no job. My husband was struggling to make ends meet while going to school and being a dad. We had a mounting pile of debt and no idea how to deal with it. I spent much of the last two years wondering how we were going to make ends meet, and dealing with a seemingly never-ending series of minor personal and financial crises, while laying the foundation for Short Street Cakes and being a full-time mom. I've spent a great deal of time since my son was born asking for things from the universe: stability, clarity, patience, a way forward, a sustainable way to stay here in Asheville and maintain a home and a family and not go crazy in the process. And tonight, I find myself in the same spot, asking for more things from the universe: a home for my bakery that's not my house, more stability, more clarity, more patience, a way to continue forward. And these things are noble goals. But right now, tonight, I'm going to stop asking, and instead I'm going to say "Thank You." Thank you to the Universe/God/Big Mama for providing me with that stability, and clarity, and patience for these last years, (and, you know, forever). Thank you to the friends and family who love me, and listen to me, and reach out to me, even when I'm swirling in chaos. Thank you to Duncan, my best friend. Thank you to Jasper, my wish upon a star. Thank you to Lexi, the best Best Girl ever. Thank you to Asheville, for being my home for these seven years and nurturing my growth, my family, and my craft. Thanks to all y'all beautiful people who keep buying my cakes!!!! Thanks to Mom and Dad, and Marcos, and summer camp, and ACRC, and to yoga, and Grace Leigh, and Elyse Manning, and the witches, and Emma Goldman and Alan Ginsberg. The reality, right now, is this: I'm making a living as a self-employed cake baker. I'm creating work that is meaningful to my customers, and so gratifying to me. I'm learning every day, the kind of learning that's exciting and makes you hungry for more. I'm home with my son a few days out of the week, and I get a break a few days a week when he goes to preschool. He's freaking HAPPY. Duncan has a new-ish job that makes him happy, too. The stability, and clarity, and patience (well, I'm still working on the patience) that I've wished for has been steadily growing in my life for these years. I'm doing this thing!!! And I am so incredibly grateful.

Like, Really. Really. Grateful.

I've been listening to NPR and Naomi Wolf YouTube videos all day, and, as predicted, global capitalism is crumbling and the world is in a food, climate, economic, spiritual, and all-purpose general everything crisis. As usual, the leadership of the United States is behaving badly. People are on edge, and the tipping point seems near. In the coming weirdness, and it seems pretty certain that the weirdness is coming, there will be more human suffering. I hope to be a part of helping to lessen the suffering in some way, whatever that may be. But I also feel that the coming weirdness is just a part of history's ebb and flow, and I want to stay grounded, here and now, in what is real. We're going to survive these changes, whatever they are. Who knows, we might be better for them in the long run, if we fight for what we believe in, stay grounded in who we are, and remember to help each other out.

I have alot of big ideas for my life in cake (the life, not just the blog), for Short Street Cakes and the future of our lives here in Asheville. I want a busy, happy cake shop. I want to run a small business that contributes generously and justly to the world. I want us to travel with Jasper and show him the vastness of the world. I want to go back to SUMMER CAMP. I want to swim and learn martial arts and quit smoking and have a garden again and coordinate activist campaigns and do all the things that I haven't done much of in years because, well, cake. And I will do those things, eventually- but I'm not going to worry about them tonight. Because- as excited as I am for what my life in cake can become- tonight, I'm just grateful for what it is.

5 comments:

amy said...

It's just not fair to make me all teary eyed before 9am. Thanks for that, mama. I needed to read it right now.

Heather Rayburn said...

Yeah, baby!!!! Let's do it!!! Go, cat, go!!!!!!!!

lexish said...

and this is why my life in cake took home all the blogasheville honors. ps, thanks for the shoutout. now I'M famous!

madteaparty said...

Such moving and important words!

Thank you.

Jennifer Saylor said...

OK, I just sent this to my best girlfriends. And added you to my blog reader.