“After all, tomorrow is another day” ~ Scarlett O'Hara | Gone with the Wind
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When it comes to parenting, I've been waiting years now for it to get a little easier to find my groove and make it look as effortless as other people do.
We live a world where perspectives are many, and opinions are many-er. In the past, they were offered freely, and to be honest, I found it impossible not to bristle.
Certainly, all were meant with the best of intentions, but at the time, they only made me feel yet again like I was doing it all wrong. What I really wanted to say was, with anything in life, it's impossible not to be wrong at times that I was trying my best.
That it's easy to stand on the sidelines looking in on a situation and declare it to be one way, only to
completely miss the mark.
There are teenage years, and then there are teenage years.
It was during her freshman year of high school that she became lost, distant, out of reach. Instinctively, I knew something was amiss, although seemed helpless to stop it.
“Hello, Ma'am? Yes, calling to let you know she wasn't at school today. Actually, she's only been here once the entire week.”
I sat with school administrators and worked out arrangements
“Hello, Ma'am? About your daughter; you see she's been in a minor accident. Everyone's ok, but we'll need you to come and handle the paperwork. Now would be good.”
Tried to talk with her
“Hello, Ma'am? I'm sorry to call in the middle of the night, but you see, we have your daughter and her friend here. We picked her up in a really rough part of town, with some pretty shady people. Apparently, she drove a couple of hours to get here, without a license.”
Took her to counselors
“Hello, Ma'am? About your missing person's report, when did she run away? Can you bring a recent picture down to the station?”
Tried emergency shelters for teens
“Hello, Ma'am? Iowa City P.D. here; we spoke a few months back, and it's about your daughter. We picked her up again. Yes, of course, we'll see you when you get here. Should we meet at McDonald's like we did the last time? You'll be here around 4 am?”
Sent her to live in Austin for a couple of months with my brother and his wife
“Hello, Ma'am? Yes, your daughter's turned up. She told us she's pregnant; you know that, right?”
Asked state agencies for ideas, suggestions, and begged for help
“Hello, Ma'am? We're doing our best to locate her. She hopped a Greyhound bus last night and went to Minneapolis. After that, we're not quite sure. We do see that her debit card was used in Washington D.C. We'll keep you posted.”
Prayed with everything I had and broke out with hives from stress
“Hello, Ma'am? I'm with the Montana P.D. I'm here with your daughter, and she tells us she'd like to stay. She's seventeen, so I suppose technically you could arrange to have her brought back home. Here, I”ll hand her the phone.”
And with that, she was gone. I did the only thing I could, packed her things, and waited
She came back into my life this spring. A grown-up woman now, married with a toddler son.
“Now,” I told myself, “Now you have a second chance. Whatever you do, don't mess it up this time.”
And mostly I haven't, until this past week when I certainly did. It was hugely unfortunate
At the time it was happening to me, I swore I'd never do it to someone else. But there I was, declaring a situation to be one way, only to realize I'd completely missed the mark. I'd bent the situation toward myself, through an outdated filter of who we both used to be. I'd stood on my tiptoes to peer at it from afar and wound up sounding angry and arrogant
When the dust had settled, my only hope was for the wrongness to fly quietly under the radar, “Nothing to see here.”
In the end, it didn't; and I'm far better for it
Today marks her twenty-first birthday.
Over the past few weeks, I've tried to decide on a cake that would be fitting of the beautiful and grown-up woman she's become
This fudge rich chocolate cherry-studded chocolate cake is topped with a chocolate red wine glaze. It's crazy good and quick to make. As a woman at a baby shower once said of the Extremely Moist Chocolate Beet Cake, it tastes expensive (although it's not)
We're obsessed with it
On to the essentials. The wine doesn't, I repeat, doesn't fully bake out. The cake will taste like wine has been added, although not in the way that it would leave you on the tipsy side. Nonetheless, it probably isn't one I'd choose for, say, my grandson's birthday party.
~ Adapted from Lunds and Byerly's | Spring 2015
Chocolate Cherry Red Wine Torte
- ¾ cup oat flour
- ½ cup sorghum flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder (dutch-processed is best)
- ⅓ cup potato starch
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ⅛ tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 cup Cabernet wine (or any other red wine)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- ¾ cup frozen pitted cherries, thawed, but not squeezed dry
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 5 Tbsp Cabernet wine (or any other red wine)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Grease and line an 8" baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flours, cocoa powder, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and sea salt
- Add the sugars and whisk until combined
- Add the oil, wine, vanilla and almond extract and combine. (The batter will be thick)
- Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips
- Add to the prepared pan and smooth the top
- Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a touch of melted chocolate chips (The cake will feel pretty firm to the touch)
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan
- Once it's cooled, remove it from the pan by inverting it upside down onto a serving plate. Gently peel off the parchment paper
- In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the chocolate chips, wine, and coconut oil
- As the chocolate starts to soften, gently stir with a spatula until the wine and coconut oil are incorporated into the melted chocolate and the glaze is smooth
- Continue stirring until the glaze thickens a little
- Spoon the glaze over the chocolate, and using a spoon or spatula, spread it in an even layer. Gently spread the glaze so it drips down the sides of the cake but doesn't pool.
- Refrigerate overnight, or even several hours, to make the cake's texture fudgier.
- Before serving, if desired, dust with a little powdered sugar, and top with cherries