Ever since Aubrey’s birthday, she had been attempting to make her own meals to get her cooking skills up. Honestly, she wasn’t a bad cook, but she only had one problem; she wanted to be an excellent cook immediately. Perfectionism took over her brain and she criticized herself for every little mistake she made. Skyla, who was also a perfectionist, understood what she was going through. She knew there was very little she could do for her daughter, but she tried gently encouraging her anyway. When she found moments to point out her flawed logic, she took those too.
“Everything going well?” Skyla asked. She knew it was a stupid question, but she felt like Aubrey might need some help.
“I dropped the pepper shaker in the eggs!”
“Oh.” Skyla wanted to laugh, but she knew her daughter was very serious. “Was the cap still on?”
“Yes, but I’m still mad! It’s a novice mistake!”
“But…you are a novice, sweetness. You only started cooking a few days ago.”
Aubrey looked at her as if she said something profound. She almost looked relieved, but then she recoiled. “Well… It was still a dumb mistake!”
“Come now, sweetness. You have to give yourself room to make mistakes otherwise you’ll be mad at yourself for the rest of your life!”
Aubrey was trying to accept her mother’s wise words, but it was hard. “I’ll try,” she replied with a sigh. She finished whisking her eggs, seasoned them, and poured the scrambled goop into the frying pan. She threw in some bacon and made some toast. Within 15 minutes, her breakfast was complete and it looked great. If only she thought it looked great.
Skyla was done eating her breakfast and made her way to the dishwasher. She noticed her daughter’s scowl and offered some encouragement. “That looks really yummy!”
“The bacon is too dark,” Aubrey yelled. “I want it to look just like daddy’s!”
“I think it looks perfect, but if you don’t like it, take a note of what you did this time and try something different when you do it again, ok? No need for a crisis.”
Aubrey groaned and sat at the table in a huff. Bacon must arouse Sim’s senses too because Jonathan got up and joined her shortly after she sat down. He got a plate of leftover French toast.
“Good morning, sweetheart. My food too good for you now?”
“Daddyyyy!” She knew he was joking, but she loved to please him so. She didn’t like it even when he joked about being upset with her. It made her feel inadequate.
“I’m kidding, my child, I’m kidding.” He sat next to her. “What’s the matter?”
“I just want to make a meal without making mistakes!”
He felt for her and wondered how she adopted these unreal expectations for herself. Had he somehow contributed to this unknowingly?
“But, sweetheart, everyone makes mistakes every now and then. Even me…and Tiana at the restaurant.”
She seemed genuinely surprised. “Really?”
“Of course, Aubrey. We’re not machines that churn out top quality meals every time we’re in the kitchen. I can make the same dish 10 times in a row, and I guarantee you they won’t all come out the same.”
She was intrigued. All her life she had her father’s excellent meals. She loved his food and thought it was divine. Perhaps by some miracle she thought she could inherit his skills.
“Aubrey, I started cooking when I was your age. My grandma taught me. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot ingredients, burned food, and dropped stuff in the pot, heh. But I kept trying and kept trying until I got better. You will get better, sweetheart. You just have to be patient. Nobody is born a 5-star chef.”
That was what she needed to hear, and she appreciated it. She finished her breakfast with a smile on her face. Jonathan was briefly transported back in time. He saw himself sitting in the kitchen next to his father’s ghost at the Pruett Estate. He heard himself say to Julian, “When we do finally have kids, I hope I can be as good a father as you.” He doubted he was doing a better job than his father, but sitting there watching his daughter’s anxieties melt away warmed his heart. He was doing quite all right.