I’m not sure what sort of inspiration strikes a mother of a newborn that she thinks ordering a seven-pound box of Meyer lemons is a good idea. The only explanation I have been able to decipher is that when you’ve spent two-weeks sleeping when baby sleeps and meals have been prepared for you at every turn, you start feeling like everything is normal that way.
Alas, routine eventually returns, and this mom, it returned at about the same time as the lemons. Now, I have some issues with expectations and goals. I tend to set goals, and I expect myself to achieve them. Over the years, I’ve set a good record for meeting these expectations. Between that history, the lemons arriving, routing returning, and a good dose of the baby blues, I had a wonderful recipe for a meltdown.
While nothing about my life was “lemons” in the “When life brings you lemons…” sense, I was still disappointed that my energy and time were being sucked so quickly from me. I was so disappointed that I threw myself into that box of lemons despite exhaustion and all signs directing me to wait, take time, calm down. The result was disastrous – my most epic preserving fail. Bubbly Meyer Lemon Marmalade, from the local kitchen blog, turned into a furious, bubbling mess on my stovetop, caramelizing on the white glass and scorching my hopes for Meyer Lemon Therapy. MLT- the sure cure for winter doldrums, baby blues, cabin fever, etc.
My lemon therapy went from bright, floral, sunny and bubbly to completely irrational disappointment in myself. Even when you know those feelings are wrought from fluctuating post-partem hormones, getting past them isn’t necessarily any easier.
Fortunately, there are no photos to illustrate the despair found in wasted Meyer lemons and champagne spilling over your pot and cementing themselves to your glass stovetop. The clean-up time alone is all the memory that you need!
That night, with emphasis on getting to know and enjoy the new normal instead of doggedly pursuing the old, I started the process again with the little bit of remaining champagne.
Trying to force life to bend to your expectations and demands just doesn’t work. There’s nothing like the fleeting season of Meyer lemons and the even shorter period a baby fits into her newborn clothes to remind you of the importance of savoring the moment and taking life as it comes.
I also learned a couple of practical things from this experience:
- Don’t put the lid on your marmalade to speed the temperature rise – it will get way too hot faster than you think.
- Use a smaller pan than the one shown. I’ve had trouble getting jams and marmalades all the way up to 220 F. I think this is due to the surface area that a larger pan allows. The mixture cools to quickly causing you to have to cook the mixture down to less than you’d hoped to have at the end. While a smaller pan may have its foibles as well (I had a near spill due to the bubbly nature of this particular mixture), constant attention and quick stirring at the onset of adding sugar can help offset the risk of overflow.