A few weeks ago I saw an ad on Facebook for a pie contest hosted by The Root Cafe. For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The last time I entered a contest voluntarily was when I was in seventh grade and ran for student council vice president. Needless to say I lost not only the contest but my taste for competition as well. Maybe its because I have eaten at The Root several times and have always found the staff to be very pleasant but I felt this contest would be about as genial as they come. And so, surprising myself to no end, I entered!
I wanted to make my strawberry pie, a favorite of Caleb’s, but since I couldn’t find fresh strawberries, I decided to go with my grandmother’s coconut pie. I had never made this pie before so I did a test run a couple of days before the contest. I thought it turned out pretty well for my first attempt. And my grandmother seemed pleased as well. I made some notes for improvement and made a fresh one the morning of the contest. I actually feel like the first pie turned out better than the second simply because I fussed with the second too much. I should have just relaxed a bit.
My parents came downtown with me to offer encouragement. Caleb and the kids joined me after their naps. All in all I think about 34 pies were entered. One by one we cut a slice of our pie for the judges and explained a little about our recipe. Some of the judges were local food critics and bakers from around town. They handed out 5 ribbons for second place and 5 blue ribbons including 2 prizes for best looking pies. After all the pies were tasted, I ended up walking away empty-handed. But let me tell you folks, entering this contest in the first place was a big deal for me.
I absolutely could not have done this a year ago or even a few months ago. My confidence, self-esteem, and ego were so fragile there was no way I could have possibly put myself into a situation were I could come away disappointed. Towards the end of 2015 I experienced a bit of postpartum depression and saw a therapist for a few months. She helped tremendously and I’ve been on an upswing since the start of the year. If I had entered this contest back then and lost I would have put on a brave face until I could be alone and then I would have bawled my eyes out wondering why luck was never on my side, why I’m not good at anything, or why I’m never deserving of any sort of accolades. I’m proud to say that none of that happened. I’ll admit I did feel a twinge of disappointment as the names were called and I was not among them. But, a funny thing happened on the drive home. We stopped off so I could run into a Valero station and buy a soda. Clutching my drink, as I walked back to the car, I could see B in the backseat, a big smile on his face, excitably shouting my name. I had been gone all of two minutes and he was already excited to see me. I realized that I may not have the best pie in town but I’m still a winner to my kids. And by the time we got back home, any sadness or disappointment I felt was left on the gas station’s parking lot.