'Tis the Season to Slow

-lessons learned while making crepes and slowing down for the winter holidays

 “Oh f—k!  The crepes!” I yell, driving down the road, kids in tow in the backseat.  No sooner does the expletive fall from my lips than I realize this is no way to kick off the holidays. 

While en route dropping off my daughters to swim practice, after which I had to run back to the house to finish the 150 goodie bags I promised to make for the local rec center’s holiday party, I was giving the girls the choice of cheap Mexican food or McDonald’s as their dinner options, but feeding them only after I dropped off the goodie bags and then attended a community meeting.  I hadn’t a minute in the day to consider the next night’s Girl Scout holiday potluck, which we were hosting, where all the girls had to bring a dish from another country.  Days prior my daughter suggested crepes which, at the time, we all thought was a lovely idea.  When she gently reminded me of this “one-other-thing” on my always expanding, never shrinking to-do list, screaming a four letter word at the top of my lungs was, in my infinite wisdom during a busy holiday season, an understandable reaction.      

We begin our descent into plotting and planning on how the crepes will be made within the next 24 hours.  Considering her full day of school, my full day of work, and her two hours of orchestra practice after school, the chances of serving a plate of handmade crepes by 6:00 p.m. tomorrow was looking near impossible.  “Could we make them when we get home tonight?” she proposes.  Conduct a marathon crepe making session at 9:00 p.m. on a school night?  Not going to happen.  “What about tomorrow morning?” she offers, suggesting a 5:00 a.m. wake up call.  More illusions, visions of grandeur, and unfeasible plans fill our heads.  Finally, I stop. 

Most days we ride the Crazy Busy train, filling our lives with Too Many Things.  This train never stops. If you want off, you have to jump.  With a leap and prayer, we do just that.       

My cell phone rings the next afternoon.  “You’re picking me up early today, right?” she surreptitiously asks. I imagine her standing self-consciously in the school office using their phone. “Almost there,” I assure her.  We agreed she’d tell her orchestra teacher of a “prior appointment” so she could skip out early today.   Soon we meet up in the kitchen.  We don aprons, fill measuring cups, melt butter, and mix ingredients.  We prep two types of fillings, buttered apples with brown sugar and bananas with butter and honey.  She takes the lead. I take a backseat as her sometimes assistant, sometimes guide.  She makes both mistakes and successes along the way. 

These hours in the kitchen are blissful.  We share a slow motion scene of memory making a la crepes.  We are radically running away from the rest of our lives to celebrate as mother and daughter.  We chose this gift of time, these moments, however fleeting it may be.  For I know the Crazy Busy train will be coming around the bend soon and we’ll be jumping back on it in no time.  For now, we savor the slow.  And celebrate the crepes.

Resources and Recipes

We used a simple and easy crepe recipe from the kids’ cookbook Mom and Me Cookbook by Annabel Karmel, a wonderful and most treasured gift from Grandma Carol.      

We mix. 

We mix. 

Eggs, flour, melted butter, and a little salt and baking power.  The stuff memories are made of. 

Eggs, flour, melted butter, and a little salt and baking power.  The stuff memories are made of. 

Her hands, empowered and strong, gentle and swift in cracking the eggs. 

Her hands, empowered and strong, gentle and swift in cracking the eggs. 

Mistakes, they come our way, both in crepe making and pulling focus on the camera.

Mistakes, they come our way, both in crepe making and pulling focus on the camera.

And we have our successes too. 

And we have our successes too. 

Fillings of apples with brown sugar and bananas, butter and honey.   

Fillings of apples with brown sugar and bananas, butter and honey. 
 

C'est fini! 

C'est fini!