I made a pie all by myself for the first time, last night.
Key words: all by myself. Over the years I've made dozens and dozens of pies, but they were always a collaborative effort; my husband always made the crust because he was excellent at it. He had a way of turning out pie crusts that were picture perfect and so flaky the first bite would melt in your mouth. I'd always do the easier part of peeling the apples or paring the peaches, mixing in the sugar and cinnamon and whatever. We both come from big families, and our pies were legendary within our family circle and because of that, we were always assigned to bring dessert to all family gatherings, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Every holiday would find us slaving in the kitchen the night before, always filling the house with the most wonderful aromas.
Funny thing but the last ten years or so of the marriage, things deteriorated to where the only thing we ever did together (as a couple) was making those pies. Oftentimes our kids would sit up at the kitchen counter, taking in the unusual sight of us working together as a team. Watching them watching us, I'd always feel such guilt and pangs of regret. For not giving them more of those kind of moments, the ones that bring such security when kids see their parents are in sync. Even then, they knew - we all knew.
Its been a transitional year for all of us. I've taken on a lot of new (to me) responsibilities since Tim moved out over a year ago; the more mundane things like mowing the lawn, fixing things around the house or painting aren't as big a deal as I once thought. Its been the subtle things that are much harder to keep attuned to, things I have to make sure I don't become too busy to miss; like the way one of my sons began to check and double check the locks on all the doors every night before we'd go to bed. He's finally stopped doing that now.
Last night I bridged a little bit more of the gap when I rolled out that dough and took on the pie crust by myself. It wasn't for a birthday or a holiday, there was no special occasion except that I had all these perfectly ripe peaches and the free time to do it. My daughter sat up at the counter and chatted with me while I measured out the flour, she never alluded to it but I knew she was watching, and remembering. I started feeling those pangs again, but I just kept on rolling, and talking with her.
Damn if it didn't turn out halfway decent. No one even noticed it wasn't quite picture perfect when it was still warm and topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. All they noticed was the specialness of having homemade peach pie on an otherwise normal day.