There are a lot of things that are more challenging than they seem.
Like baking cookies.
For the first time in my life last Wednesday, I made cookies from scratch. Like, actually from scratch. I bought eggs. And flour. And sugar. And baking soda. And baking powder (apparently there’s a difference). And vanilla extract. And icing. And sprinkles. And butter (I even had to stop a random stranger in the grocery store to ask if butter and Crisco sticks are the same. They aren’t. I did enjoy her facial expression when I asked her if she had ever baked cookies before, though.) I also bought mixing bowls, measuring cups and a whisking set. It was an expensive grocery trip.
I had found a recipe for sugar cookies online, but I was slightly concerned about attempting this feat without an expert supervising me. The prep time in the instructions said 15 minutes. It took me 45. I don’t really want to talk about my dislike for you, flour—just know that my kitchen and my clothes are not thankful for your excessive need to go everywhere. I have a new respect for pioneer women who churned butter with nothing but their brute strengths. And can I just point out that cookie dough gets stuck in a whisk really easily but then doesn’t get out of it as easily?
This was a lot different than making break-and-bake cookies.
I made a gigantic mess in my kitchen, and I set off zero smoke alarms. I ate way too much raw cookie dough and only slightly burned my finger once. I spilled vanilla extract on my hand and licked it off, and that was a HORRIBLE idea. But somehow, someway, little balls of fully mixed cookie dough made their way onto those cookie sheets and into the oven.
And they turned out to be real cookies—edible ones.
I was in a bit of pain during the baking session. The day before, I had gone to the hospital right after work because of a ruptured ovarian cyst and had gotten home rather late that night. I was pretty drugged up on pain killers at work on Wednesday and was able to function (though I’m pretty sure I said some strange things), but I didn’t want to try to bake cookies for the first time with hydrocodone keeping me going. Tylenol is kind of wimpy and didn’t help much, so the baking thing was probably a little less enjoyable than it would have been under more normal conditions.
I’m not the next world-class baker woman (I could Google to find out some actual names of examples, but I’m not concerned enough), but it was fun to make something for not just me. Other people got to enjoy them, and I think they might have actually enjoyed them. I know I didn’t solve some world issue or cure any diseases. In fact, I did something that more people than I could ever count have already done a great number of times. But it was a challenge for me. There was a process that I didn’t necessarily like that had to be completed before the icing and sprinkles could make their appearances.
And I guess that’s a lot like life.
Sometimes what we have to endure along the way to better things is not as enjoyable or as easy as we would like it to be. There might be messes. There might be pain. You might get burned. You might use the question “WHY?” way more than you thought possible. You might want to set flour on fire before realizing that’s probably not a wise decision.
But then when a good thing comes out of it all, you realize that whatever came before was completely worth it—especially when you get to enjoy that moment with people you care about.