Happy almost Christmas Eve to those of you who celebrate! SHL and I will be lighting the menorah for the last night of Chanukah tonight and then eating some potato latkes. But I wanted to let you all know that the bakeapple pie was a success! The crust, however, was not. (That is, if you measure success by appearance, which I think I’ll end up proving is actually not the definition of success). To look at the pie you would have thought that it resembled just berries with some shrunken crust laying on top. But I think I know what I did wrong: I was afraid to put in too much ice water, so perhaps I didn’t put in enough. When I took the discs wrapped in Saran out of the fridge and tried to roll them out, they were a little bit crumbly and the top wouldn’t fit across the whole pan!
A few hours later SHL came home from work. He opened up his cards and gifts, took some birthday calls, devoured the mac ‘n cheese, and then I shooed him out of the kitchen so that I could warm up the pie. I wish that it looked graceful and Martha Stewart-like, but in my heart, I know that kind of stuff isn’t really important to SHL. So I placed a candle in it and brought him in. He seemed intrigued, and not just because there was just a little pile of crust in the middle of all of these berries! He loves pie, but he didn’t know what kind it was. When I told him that it was bakeapple, his face went from confusion to delight. “But… how?” He asked, knowing full well that cloudberries aren’t something that are on every grocery shelf here in the States. I had him make a wish (something that I think is really important to do on your birthday) and quickly served him a big piece of birthday bakeapple pie, then watched him begin to tear. “It tastes just how I remember it,” he said softly, closing his eyes as he took another bite. I could see in that birthday moment that what was a bite of pie had quickly become childhood memories that resounded with love and comfort, transforming itself into marital joy for the gratitude of knowing him well enough to know that this would be special to him. It was one of the best moments of my life.
It truly felt like a testament to what not just food can do for us, but what putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes can do for us as well. When I think about the fact that SHL left his life in Canada to come here and be with me (albeit, he definitely wanted to), I feel that bringing in some aspects of “home” for him in little ways is just one way to show that I value him– and that I value his family, his culture, and where he came from. I love the memories that we’re making together as a married couple living here, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a past where important things happened with his friends and family back in Canada (bakeapple pie included). Living here, life has mostly been about my friends and family. I guess this was a way to say, “Hey, I know that you sometimes miss home. I know that you have fond memories back there. Let’s remember them.” Mostly, I just want to make him happy in whatever ways that I can, and it’s not even that selfless, because of how happy it makes me in return.
I suppose that this is exactly what I mean when I write about the “little moments,” that in fact, aren’t really that little at all. I cherish celebrating birthdays with my husband (and with all of you), and I proved to myself (and anybody else who needed to hear this) that just because something doesn’t look perfect on the outside, doesn’t mean that it can’t create a perfect moment on the inside that you’ll always remember.