There was one particular part that caught my eye.
Suzan shared how she had been attempting to make her grandmother’s lemon meringue pie. Let’s just say it didn’t go well and her take on the “execution” of the pie was rather amusing. But even as she dumped the egg whites that simply would not meringue -up down the sink and lamented her partial pie that seemed flatter and not much like her grandmother’s at all (although she outright rejoiced over the homemade crust!) her husband assured her it was fine. It could just be a tart and it would taste great. But Suzan continues to be distraught because she wanted a pie. She meant to make a pie, she followed the recipe for a pie, and instead got a tart.
She paralleled this perceived failure with the experience her and her husband were having at that time. They had been married later in life (41 for her, 43 for him),but had decided to try and have a child anyway. They both wanted it very much. They tried everything possible, and every month when her period started she would cry. Finally her husband, holding her one night, asked with a voice cracked with emotion “What are we doing wrong?”. Her response was “Nothing. We’re fine.” And it was in that moment that she realized they really were fine…there was nothing wrong with who they were.
To make plain her metaphor: She wasn’t content with the tart because she had been so focused on the fact it wasn’t a pie. But then again, there was certainly nothing wrong with the tart (outside of the fact it wasn’t a pie).
I sat back, closed the book, and immediately found the parallel with Suzan’s story in my own life.
My life is a tart. And I have been terribly unhappy with my tart-ness because what I was really trying to make all along was a pie. I grew up being taught to be a pie. The flaky crust (myself), the lustrous sweet (and sometimes sour) filling (my kids) and the meringue… fluffy, sweet and protective (a marriage to a good man) on the top.
And yet…here I am meringue-less.
And no matter how much I beat those egg whites, they refuse to become meringues.
And so I lament my tart-ness, pining for the pie I should have been, I planned to be, and that everyone else seems to create with far less effort. But perhaps I was never meant to be a pie…and maybe I’ve been missing out on the delights of being a tart because I’ve been grieving my apparent failure.And it was in that moment I realized that I hadn’t failed at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with tarts. What would this world be if there was only one choice of dessert? I may even grow to hate chocolate cake if that were the case. And so instead I will enjoy the tart that was supposed to be a pie, and I wouldn’t change a thing.