A few years ago, I talked to my pre-service teachers about renewing yourself as a teacher, about how sometimes a teacher needs to "fill the bucket" so she can keep giving to her students. We discussed the many ways teachers can do this, but I also told them the story of one day I took for myself, just to recharge, when my family was all gone to work and school. I stayed home. Well, first, in my pjs, I went to the grocery store and bought a chocolate cake and checked out some movies. I went home and snuggled in with blankets and a pillow on the couch. As I watched my movies, I ate that cake--right out of the foil pan, without even putting it on a plate first. Later on, I did responsible things like grading papers and making lesson plans(and getting some exercise!), but I took a mini-vacation with my cake and movies first--and felt like a completely new person afterward. A few weeks later, one of my students gave me the book, Eat Cake (Jeanne Ray). In it, Ray says this: "Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down desert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn't, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn't a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don't eat a whole cake [well I almost did!]. You don't eat cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what's served on the happiest days of your life."
I like that sentiment. Today, I didn't have any cake, but I had something that makes me happy: a shortbread chocolate chip cookie. I was in American Fork for an early morning appointment today and stopped by Flour Girls and Dough Boys. They are the only place I know with these cookies, and I don't get by there that often. So, it's a party day. I had a cookie. For breakfast. And I'm not going to feel guilty.