My mom is not well.
Although she lives on her own, increasingly she needs help, which is stressful for us both. Often when I leave her apartment, as I pass by my favorite specialty food store on the way home, I itch to stop for something sweet. But then I see the mechanism, I see myself wanting to soothe myself with food. And so I pat myself on the back for noticing, for interrupting the urge, and continue home.
I shared this recently in my caregivers support group—something I recommend wholeheartedly, by the way, wholeheartedly—expecting them to also congratulate me for resisting temptation.
But instead they said—in no uncertain terms—noooooo! Have the ice cream or cake or chocolate. Have it! This caregiving thing is hard, this illness thing is awful. Do what you can to feel good, to treat yourself, whenever you can.
And you know what? They were right.
The triumph isn’t in resisting. It’s in seeing the temptation and then making a choice. Sometimes that choice might be to skip it. Others it might be to indulge.
I mean, how many things really make you happy, after all? Shouldn’t you grab every one of them, and often? Not absentmindedly and with automaticity, but conscientiously and willfully, so as to revel in and thoroughly appreciate them.
Stone fruits make me happy—summer stone fruits that are bright and flavorful and brimming with all a stone fruit can be.
And so, this being summer and me being occasionally stressed about my mom, I’ve been making this buttery, sweet, bright, thoroughly delicious plum cake and enjoying every bite.
Eat cake. Revel in what makes you happy.