How My Great-Grandmother’s Incredible Pie-Making Tip Helps Me Accept My Daughter’s Disability


Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 5.42.43 PM Today, a friend of mine voiced her displeasure on Facebook about her less-than-perfect Christmas tree. While I read her comment, I chuckled to myself. I could relate; I know all too well about being a perfectionist, especially when it comes to the Christmas tree – the lights, the ornaments, the ever-so-careful placement of my angel on top.

My desire for perfection doesn’t just stop with the tree. There are many areas of my life that I try to make perfect — that I naively believe I have control over — my house, my job, my family. The list goes on and on.

And as I continued to read her comment, I was reminded of a memory from many years ago — an ordinary, everyday moment, but one that still manages to impact me today.

I’m transported back to my great-grandmother’s house; Wheel of Fortune drones on in the background. My quick visit had somehow turned into a conversation about pie baking — something I’d done for the first time a few days prior.

I told my great-grandma about how, although my pies tasted wonderful, I just couldn’t manage to make a perfect crust. My great-grandma smirked at me and said, “If it’s perfect, people won’t believe you really made it. They will think you bought it from the store.”

“Besides,” she said, “the way the pie looks isn’t what matters, it’s about the time and memories that were put into making it.”

Her message was simple and true.

My great-grandma has been gone for many years now, but every time I start wishing for perfection, I recall her words. They didn’t seem meaningful in that moment, but they hold so much weight for me now.

I would be a liar if I claimed there was never a time when I tried to wish away my daughter’s disability and the struggles and the sadness that accompany it. And as much as I hate to admit it, there have been times when I’ve hoped for and dreamed of the “perfect” child.

And then there are nights like tonight, when I reflect, and in doing so, realize that without her disability, my family would not have all of the memories we do – the good and the bad.

In the end, it really is all about the memories — like the time my 4-year-old dumped an entire pack of sprinkles on what would have been one perfect Easter cookie. Or the Christmas card pictures that didn’t turn out but resulted in all sorts of beautiful belly laughs. And the disability.

The memories are what we recall with happiness and love years later – no matter how simple or imperfect they may be. No one ever sits back and reminisces about the pie crust. 

For all of December, The Mighty is celebrating the moments we gave or received a gift that touched our lives in a special way. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post describing this moment for you. Include a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].
Hint! Some gifts don’t come in packages.

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