Today, I helped my mom bake some goods to raise money for a little boy with leukemia in the elementary school where she works. His family is moving to be closer to the children’s hospital so they can focus on his treatment. To support them in their efforts, the school is hosting a bake sale.
I made a gluten free almond crusted tart with fresh berries and lemon curd, and double chocolate cookies from a recipe from the New York Times. I hope they rake in some revenue for this little guy–by all accounts a really sweet, intelligent, special kid.
I remember who I was in elementary school: shy, introverted, with a head deep, deep in the clouds. I built faerie forts out of twigs and flowers until I was in fifth grade–that is, until I abruptly discovered that building faerie forts was considered enormously uncool. I was losing playground cred and losing it fast. I adapted by reading fantasy novels in private, shaving my already hairless legs, and wearing a training bra I in no way needed. Ah, the trials of puberty.
I can’t imagine fighting for my life as a kid. My largest concerns centered around how I was getting home from school, what mom put in my lunch, and how to do tricks on the rings during recess. I certainly wasn’t thinking about mortality. I was thinking about magic. I was harboring crushes. I was climbing trees and playing imaginary games.
By and large, things haven’t changed for me all that much. I am still a fantastic dreamer who enjoys the odd consummate fantasy. I still struggle to fit in with my peers. I’m still wearing bras I don’t really need. I am still hoping I never grow up.
After I baked as much love and hope as I could into the pastries, I went to a few stores with my lover. We were on a mission for mini tartlet pans, cognac for a French apple cake I love to make, and whatever delights World Market had in store. As we wandered the streets holding hands, the sky was lit up in an array of oranges and pinks. It was one of the last nice Pacific Northwest days before the winter settles in–75 degrees and sunny, with only a few wispy clouds in the sky.
A feeling of gratitude washed over me as we walked through the parking lot to his rig. For whatever reason, I have been blessed with generally good physical health and enjoy functioning limbs and organs. I can take for granted that tonight’s beautiful sunset will not be my last.
Tomorrow, I drive my boyfriend to the airport. He’s off to a conference in California, chasing sunshine. For the next four days, it’s just the dog and me.
The dog and I will be thinking we’re lucky to go for walks, eat treats, and share snuggles. The dog and I will remember to smell every smell, enjoy the feel of the grass, and chow like there’s no tomorrow. The dog and I will play, like I hope this little boy gets to do. I guess there’s only today.