Yesterday evening my 13-year-old sister-in-law came over in a storm of tears. She wouldn't talk about what was wrong, and my only clue was that her brother (my husband) and her mother seemed to be upset with her when they brought her over. Strange thing was, Hubby didn't seem to understand why she was upset with him. My thoughts: well, dear, raising your voice at her will have that effect.
It was arranged that sis-in-law would spend the evening with me whilst Hubby took their mom out to the movies. (Free movie passes + scary movie= You go ahead, I'll stay home, thank you.) Poor Little Sis, she was just so emotional, and she didn't want to talk about it. It didn't help that my three-year-old was also crying, but more in that wailing, I-have-an-owie-AND-my-dad-is-leaving kind of way. I comforted my daughter and tried to comfort Little Sis. I gave everyone a couple minutes to cool off.
Then I became Inspired.
I announced that I had a sudden urge to make a humongous batch of brownies, and asked who was in. Little Sis and Niece the Elder (who was also staying with me for the evening) both raised their hands. My daughter probably would have if she knew about that sort of thing, but as it was she happily exclaimed "Brownies!"
I gave the girls the ingredients for a double batch while I went to the bathtub to wash the appropriate pan (see previous post re: heinous plumbing issues). Don't freak out. A 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, and a three-year-old are actually pretty good brownie batter makers, just so long as you give them pre-packaged brownie mix and a hand-crank mixer rather than an electric one. They did a good job.
Some outdoor time seemed to help with the cheering up. It also gave me a chance to wash some dishes. In a plastic barrel. In the front yard. With the water hose and a bottle of lemon-scented dish soap. I told you my plumbing issues were heinous.
When the brownies were finished and cooled, we had them with vanilla ice cream. Not an elaborate dish. But something about making it, and sharing it, and devouring it like a pack of wild animals with spoons, seemed to help brighten the day.
It does leave me with a deep and profound question: which part makes you feel better, the idea of making brownies, or the brownies themselves?