Along with my afternoon tea, today failure tastes like homemade banana bread abundant in walnuts. It tastes welcoming and satisfying. I’m pretty sure I’ve come full circle just as a lesson in appreciation.
The café, which involved many months in planning, and, of course, time and money spent, is closed. There’s a fact rattling around in my brain that says 80% of businesses close within the first year. And now I know why.
I tried at something. I failed at something. (I also killed our new cat with the car.) It’s been an epic month for imperfections. While there is still some residual guilt and woulda-shoulda-couldas, I’m okay. I feel sparkier. I feel lighter. And this feminist is back to being a housewife. I’m okay with that too. And actually, I appreciate the simpleness of dusting a shelf, sitting in the sun while the girls play, tomato sauce experimentations, buying new plants and baking banana bread with walnuts cause that’s the way we like it.
Hopefully appreciation can be maintained. Because that’s always the tough part, isn’t it? One thing I’ve thought a lot about lately is why I spent all those summers as a waitress. The restaurant business is binary: men (usually) in the kitchen, women (usually) serving. Careers are in the kitchen; quick money is in the dining rooms. Serving is not an easy job but it’s hardly an extendable skill. Why do we see so many women as servers? It must be because our female nature bends to please others (she said sarcastically). Cooking has mostly been deemed a woman’s job in the home. But when cooking is concentrated outside the home, it is men who are the chefs. It is men who have developed careers in the kitchen while women have a few extra dollars in their pockets but not much more to show for it.
Food, thankfully, is everywhere. Cooking is creative and soulful. Instead of making extra cash, I really wish I spent those summers improving my knife skills, absorbing flavor combinations, developing my palette, and learning something rather than memorizing the daily specials.
But that’s not appreciating how things are as they are. Is it? Let me appreciate things the way they are: I have time for myself. I have time for my husband. I have time for my kids. And I still have time to work on those knife skills.