Yesterday started as one of those days when I just want to run away from home. Sparing you the gory details, I was tired from wrestling certain demons in an effort to get to a smile and a peaceful attitude. My tranquility muscles were overextended and I was mad, tense, and scattered. I spent most of the day trying to keep the tears at bay and focus through the angry haze. I had zero energy to expend on trying to save myself from the miserables so I figured it would just be an entirely woebegone day. Then I found my happy in the most unexpected way.
As a Christmas present for my nearly 14 year old brother, I gave him Twist It Up by Jack Witherspoon with the promise that we would make one of the dishes in it every month. He wanted to make the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting as a surprise for my dad at his birthday party today. I dutifully picked him up yesterday and brought him to my house for some baking time, expecting that I would have to pretend to be happy for his sake as we made the cake and frosting from scratch. And then something happened. Instead of pretending to be happy, I actually started smiling a genuine smile and laughing as we worked together on the recipe. Instead of pretending to enjoy myself, I found that I was actually enjoying myself so much that I sent a text to my mom to see if he could stay over a bit longer.
What was it about our time together that brought my smile back? I don’t have an answer for that. It might have been the sense of accomplishment I felt as we tackled an unfamiliar project and didn’t utterly fail at it. It might have been the boost to my spirit every time my brother thanked me for spending time with him or told me how much fun he was having. It might have been the freedom to let go of the big worries for a bit while watching a silly movie and eating cheeseburgers with him. I thought our cooking and baking times were my gift to him, but it seems they are a gift to me, too. None of the frustration-inducing situations have changed in the past 24 hours and I still feel very irritable and tense, but there is a bit of my spirit that is at peace today thanks to the unexpected joy of carrot cake and time spent with a teenager.