The experience of the past 3 weeks has brought new perspective into my life. No one prepares you for this time because, well, it’s impossible to prepare for. I cannot tell you how many stories I have read or heard of from those who have lost their parents and I have felt gut-wrenching pain of empathy but it doesn’t even compare to the actual experience. They tell you what to expect and how it alters your perspective of living but I tell you, once you walk through it, every cliche becomes a reality, leaving you to believe that cliches are cliches for a reason.
There are three lessons that speak the loudest in my heart during this time of watching my mother transition from this life to the next. It’s a humbling experience that has made me rethink life and inevitably has changed my perspective.
Lesson #1: Just be kind, dammit. You never know what kind of day someone is having.
There is a story here at the hospital that my mother worked at that I feel fortunate to now know because it speaks to the bright light this human being was on this earth. She used to work as a finance counselor and would be the person hounding down those who hadn’t yet pay their hospital bills. There was one older gentleman in particular who butted heads with my mother about his payment and who expressed his deep dissatisfaction with her to her face. But the woman that she was, sent this man a birthday card for YEARS, even after the bill was paid for. When he heard of the condition of my mother, his heart broke and he had a card for her. My mother’s kindness is what he will always remember about her because she had a way to making you like a person, even if you didn’t agree with her. So just be nice. Besides, you never know when that grumpy person you bumped into at the store just got back from watching his or her mother in the hospital.
Kindness always wins. Always.
Lesson #2: Live your damn life how you want.
I’ve noticed myself shy away from a lot of things in fear of what others would think but if there is one thing for certain that my mother did, she lived her life as she wanted and she didn’t care if you disapproved. If she was happy that was enough reason for her to do what she did. She, of course, wasn’t hurting puppies or anything like that, but the gist of it is that the only voice she listened to was her own. So do you want to hear how I did my first brave thing in light of this lesson? I know this will sound silly so don’t laugh at me but I actually posted a photo of myself on Instagram after having made table side guacamole in my mother’s hospice room. I know this seems like such a seemingly dumb thing to bring up but I’ve always shied away from it because I would think, “Nobody wants to see photos of me.” Or even talking about personal matters over here. I stopped doing that because I thought how tedious it must have been for everyone to listen to me. Now, as I learn from that strong, brave woman that is lying on that hospital bed, I shall forever take her pair of cojones on loan and stand proud while I timidly say, “This is my life. It’s not about anyone else’s approval but about what *I* want to do.” Isn’t that how you live authentically anyway? So here’s to more IG photos and more self reflections over here. Thanks, mom.
- 1 box Enjoy Life Foods brownie mix (follow the instructions on the box)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin liners.
- Follow the instructions for the brownies according to the box. I used nondairy milk instead of water but just be sure to understand that if you do this, you might need to increase the amount of liquid a little depending on the thickness.
- Pour into the muffin tin, filling 8 cavities ¾ of the way full and bake for 15-18 min or until the tops of the brownies spring back up when gently pushed down.
- Allow to cool.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the shortening and nondairy butter together. You can use all shortening or all butter, depending on your food allergies.
- Add the nondairy milk, food coloring, and powdered sugar, ½ c. at a time until nice and fluffy. Add the extract in. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop frosting onto each brownie cupcake.
Because these brownies are made in a muffin tin, they are almost more like cupcakes, especially once they get a nice rise while baking.
You are free to keep the frosting amount the same or half it. I'm not a fan of too much frosting so to each their own.
Lesson #3: Just enjoy your damn life, okay?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and carpe diem. How’s that for cliche? But for reals, let the dumb, little things go and make the most out of your life and love the heck out of those in your circle who deserve it. Eat the freakin’ mint chip brownies and don’t forget to enjoy every bite of it! But the trick is, said my mother, don’t eat more than one (maybe all you need is a bite or even half) and just eat enough to the point before you stop enjoying it. I always loved her philosophy on life and if you knew her, you’d know she enjoyed every last minute. Even the crumbs. Seriously. She would lick her finger and eat the crumbs.
And how perfectly fitting it is to say to enjoy your life with an Enjoy Life recipe using their brownie mix and chocolate chip. I wasn’t even sure how this would all fit in but I love how it comes full circle, just as life does. You already know how much I adore Enjoy Life (you can see it in these recipes here, here, and here) and how much they have opened up new ways of loving the kitchen again despite having food allergies. If you haven’t see their latest baking mixes, please check them out. They take the guesswork out of allergen free baking. And these mint chip brownies make a fun St. Patrick’s Day treat.
My mom would say to buy Enjoy Life, so do it for mom.
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