BELGIUM: Pizza Night Therapy
On Wednesday the 3rd of September, our oven broke down in the middle of a pizza. We only have pizza about once a year, so the kids were looking forward to it like crazy. Italians, be warned, what comes next must be hard to digest. I warmed up the pizza in the microwave and then baked it in a regular frying pan. The idea was to get it warm and have at least the bottom a bit crunchy. The bottom turned out almost black and the entire thing looked inedible. The kids loved their very special pizza topped with extra cheese and ketchup to cover up the burnt taste.
On Thursday the 4th of September, our cooking range died on me in the middle of green beans and rice. I half expected it, since it was attached to the oven. I wanted to give up, but then my daughter came along. She secretly turned the oven on, thinking it a toy after it broke. For some reason, that reactivated the hot plate on top of it! Thanks to my mischievous five year old, we had a decent meal after all.
She told everyone she saved dinner that day, strutting around proud like a peacock.
On Friday the 5th of September, we asked my teen sister to babysit and went to my employer’s corporate party, all the while discussing how to rearrange our kitchen. We felt like we could handle our bad luck for a blissful twelve hours.
On Saturday the 6th of September, our car broke down in the middle of the road to my parent’s home. It stopped, just like that. We had to find another car and take my sister home, which made my husband late for work. His work being to clean up the party we went to the night before. Mere coincidence made me help dismantle my own employer’s party, to get things done in time. The kids had a great time, being allowed to help out dad and being at mommy’s party at the same time. They didn’t mind that they were the only ones singing and dancing in an empty tent.
On Sunday the 7th of September, I decided to bake some fine Belgian waffles. I had made a new school year’s resolution of baking cookies for the kids to take to school every week. Because the green me wants to lessen our piles of plastic waste, because the control freak in me wants to follow up on their sugar consumption, and because our daughter is just very picky when it comes to cookies (I’m not complaining). I wouldn’t let the broken oven break my resolution after just one week, so waffles it was. Broken crumbled pieces of waffles anyway. Not a single one came out in less than 23 pieces. The kids thought it extremely cool to have a little box full of waffle crumbs to take to school all week. They figured the tinier the pieces were, the more waffle could fill their snack box.
On Monday the 8th of September, I found almost all of our chickens gone. One was still there, without her head. I found her inside our completely closed den. No holes, no open door. The predator went in and out anyway. I told the kids a very cute little fox was probably very happy with his mommy’s endeavours. I also promised them I would get us a pig instead of those vulnerable little chickens. A very big one. We’ll call her Foxy.
On Tuesday the 9th of September, we bought ourselves a new car. The kind of family car I’d been wishing for, even before the previous one. Our son approved because the new car is close to his favorite colour, black. Our daughter approved even more because it had sliding doors in the back. No more accidents with neighbouring cars for her.
On Wednesday the 10th of September, I found a new kitchen when I came home from work. My husband had worked like crazy to surprise me. The oven and plates were not connected yet, but I was too overwhelmed to mind. We were getting used to cucumbers and cold salmon wraps for dinner anyway. It was a good exercise for the predicted power blackouts during winter as well.
On Thursday the 11th of September, I felt our luck was turning. We had been able to found benefits in all of our misfortunes. New car, new kitchen, new pet. Fate gave us Ethiopian New Year on that day. It’s liberating to state in the middle of 2014, that you’re heading for the year 2007.
It feels as if you can start all over.
That morning, our Ethiopian daughter went to school in her traditional white dress to show off. Our son wore his Ethiopian scarf for mere coolness. In the middle of my last science policy meeting of that day, I was already musing about our cozy evening to come, picking yellow flowers and having popcorn, as tradition prescribes in our daughter’s birth country.
That very moment, my husband called. I was to head for the hospital.
My little princess’s pristine white dress was covered in blood. She had had a nasty fall and an even nastier hole right between her eyes. They had waited for me to arrive before doing the stitching, because she desperately needed her mommy. I will never be able to wash away the image of that incredibly deep hole in her forehead. Nor of the terror in her eyes when the syringe for the local anaesthetics came by.
When it was all over, we promised her pizza. One from the local Italian, because the oven still didn’t work. Also because we were too exhausted to think of anything creative at 8 pm.
In the car back home, my daughter told me she couldn’t believe how lucky she was.
I thought I’d misunderstood.
I was having a very hard time staying composed. After this unbelievable week, my stress buffer was in shambles.
And my daughter, covered in deep stitches and steristrips, told me she felt so lucky?
“Of course,” she said. “We’ll have pizza night two weeks in a row!”
Do your kids also help you get past the most dreadful passages in your life? Can we learn from their ability to find innocent fun on every occasion, no matter how bad?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K from The Penguin and The Panther.
Photo credit: Live Italian. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.