The secret of successful Hungarian palacsinta (crepes) is passed down from generation to generation and across continents. My grandmother taught my mother, and my mother taught me: “Mix the soda water into the batter to make the palacsinta thin and light. Carefully scoop into the palacsinta pan and at that very moment, flip it! But don’t fret that the first few don’t seem perfect; they’ll still taste great. You’ll get the hang of it; usually by the fourth palacsinta.”
My 92-year-old grandmother lives in Budapest and my 67-year-old mother is in New York City. I am almost 47 years old. I have lived in Budapest, in the United States, and in Israel. Most recently, I spent the last three years in the East Bay and will be returning to my home in Israel in less than a month. I am tormented by our imminent big move. I worry about the many what-ifs and the potential loops that life can throw at us. Surprisingly, my 7-year-old daughter is one of my greatest sources of inspiration and optimism.
Lia is my fourth palacsinta. She is our only girl, and her brothers are between five and 10 years older than her. She is sharp, witty, quite sassy, and full of chutzpah. Her taste in music is more Katy Perry and Taylor Swift than second grade circle time songs, and her knowledge of certain subjects can, at times, shock some of her first-born girlfriends and their parents (like, ahem, weed. We do live in California, after all).
However, Lia’s most notable trait is her amazing ability to live in the moment. Unlike myself, she is no worrier. She lives in the present and she lives it with pleasure.
For the past month, each day, she’s been hoping that her beloved teacher, Ms. King, selects her as Star Student (a daily reward for good effort and behavior). Each day at pick-up, she sighed, smiled, and declared, “I ‘m still not Star Student. Tomorrow, I’ll try harder. “
No worrying, no grave disappointment, no self pity–just raw determination.
Today at pick-up, I found her laughing and waving a sugar coated, purple Star Student candy reward. She skipped all the way home, sat down on her favorite chair, opened her candy, and before gobbling it up, announced, “I will remember this moment forever–my last time eating my Star Student candy. I will never be in second grade again.”
No worrying what third grade will be like, no sadness at the current year ending—just a simple acknowledgement that time moves on, and things change.
While I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, I am grateful for experiencing that moment when I watched my fourth palacsinta savor her round, purple Star Student candy because she “will never be in second grade again.”