Weekends are for heritage


The ribbon lips drawn up in excitement, the little mini roller pin grasped and floured, the timbre of joy in the voice as she waits for her ball of dough to roll out...


The finesse of chubby little fingers and concentration in her eyes...


Finally, sneaking a nibble and getting caught.  The sweet grain of flour and butter and lard and salt and sugar all blended up according to Julia Child's French pastry recipe melting on the tongue.


She gives the pin to her big sister, and that sister hands it on to the biggest, and a very rustic pie crust is the result.  Fumbled edges and over-floured, it still crumbles like butter cookie dough as I teach the eldest how to shape it to the plate.

(I love how these hands are still dimpled 7 years later.  I dread the
day I look down, and the dimples are gone.)
(I look down at my own rough housewife hands, and wonder at past decades.
Who manicured these nails after the pie crust embedded there deep?)

We sprinkle the little bits with cinnamon and sugar and put them in with the first crust to bake.  The warm aroma of the baking butter and spice floats on the heavy, humid late summer afternoon air as I listen to the kids playing some hilarious game out on the porch, a mix of going-to-the-eye-doctor and Almanzo-courting-Laura Ingalls.  Only in a house of girls would you ever hear that mix!


The crusts come out all golden and flaky and I...as usual...bemoan the little errors and my own "rustic" edging style that never is as perfect as my mother's, or my aunts...


The girls' crust is ready to go in, weighted with parchment and beans and the crust rolled over in silly little girl fashion.  We mix blueberries and sugar and make a fruit pie while we wait for it to bake.  A storm rolls over the horizon, and Aaron takes the kids out on the porch in the monsoon rain and the yellow light and takes pictures.  He bends over me as I bake, and we look at photos.  There's flour on the camera.  Kids disobey, and there is a ruckus, and the headache pounds, and I bend exhausted over the last of the baking and the dinner preparation and wonder that this is what we are called to.  The constant bend and repeat, make, eat, repeat of womanhood.  That worship and sacrifice are bound up in the litany of everyday chores that are never completed by day's end and must be repeated tomorrow, anyway.


The kids watch me make the lattice for the top with mathematical precision, and I remember the words of my sister-in-law, that "this part is the hardest".  Her sentence sounds ironic, because it's the easiest for me, the precision part, the part I can control and plan out and do according to formula.  I am good at lattice tops.  I am not good at edging or rolling out...too many ways for things to go wrong.  No plan can possibly make that go right.


And so it is with life.  The precision parts - school, study, jobs, even routines and plans for the day - those I handle with aplomb.  But the messy bits of life, the pie edging parts, where the plan goes awry and things get askew, that's the difficult part.  I lose it when the kids are unkempt when it is time to leave for town, or I don't get the alloted amount of housework done in a day and I am faced with a mountain of laundry or three loads of dishes or stinky food remnants in the bottom of the sink at the very end of the day, when things should be winding down and sleep should be coming.


In my life at least, this is the saved by childbearing truth.  Because this life surrounded by kids, it is a noisy, flour on the countertop and berries smeared on the floor sort of life.  It isn't precise, mathematical, predictable, or controllable.  And so, in losing those parts of self that demand precision, predictability, controllability, there is a little less of me left to fight for the space in my soul.  And the part emptied out by the daily grind is the space left for Savior to fill.  As His half grows slowly bigger, I feel the shift there, deep inside.  I feel softened and quieted.


At the end of the day, as we eat the pie dripping with berry goodness and melting ice cream, the mussed up edge is so much less important than I thought.  Somehow we have a happy evening, with mountains of clothes...folded now...consuming the couch and dishes still crowding the sink.

As we slowly savor the pie in the last moments of the day before the kids are tucked into bed, my husband says it and I blink and think about all this in a few seconds time and wonder at the way life really is: "This crust is the best part."