Summertime four years ago, I was patching up a broken heart. It had been ugly, messy, and unexpected, as first-love breakups often are. I walked around my neighborhood in mourning, treating life as though someone I’d loved had died. Overdramatic? Perhaps, but I was 25 and didn’t know what else to do.
For the weeks following, I tried my best to pull up my big girl pants and put on a happy face. People who knew me weren’t buying it, and my parents, in a thoughtful but not so cleverly guised attempt to bribe me out of my misery, bought me an incredibly generous (read: extravagant) present for my birthday that August:
A new, glossy white KitchenAid stand mixer.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s okay. I agree - what the heck does a newly minted 26 year old need with a $400 kitchen appliance?
Really, I don’t know. I mean, sure I baked a lot, and of course had wanted one (who wouldn’t!), but still. I was no Martha Stewart, and my cramped Washington, D.C. kitchen was the size of most people’s hall closets. But my parents are big-hearted people and were hopeful an amazing present tied to one of my hobbies would help me emerge from the dark cloud of nothingness I had been trudging under for the last few months.
And……it didn’t do the trick. Surprised? In fact, I never even pulled the mixer out of the box. It sat, in a corner of my small kitchen, untouched for months. A very expensive dust collector.
Eventually I pulled myself out from under that dark cloud all on my own, and shoved everything that reminded me of the breakup and accompanying sadness into the trash, or simply left it behind when I moved cross-country for work one year later. I was over the woulda/coulda/shoulda’s and life went back to normal.
…..except that dang mixer.
It came with me as my life added on new chapters, new friends, new love. After all, it conveniently had its own box since I never really unpacked it. And we moved first from D.C. to southern California, and then eventually to a new house closer to LA. Always getting unpacked, always finding a corner of my kitchen counter to call home, but never - not once - getting plugged in. Hell, I’m not even confident I ever even dusted it. It reminded me of that darkness, and that hurt, given to me during a period of my life that was so thick with sadness you could almost reach out and touch it.
But it was a gift, and one that cost my parents quite a lot, so I couldn’t just throw it away. In the back of my mind I felt lucky to own the darn thing, considering I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to purchase something that expensive for myself. So, it sat… and sat…. til Christmas.
…Of this year.
A couple of weeks before the holiday, my mom was here visiting and politely reminded me that the mixer was sitting in my kitchen, wedged behind the coffeemaker and toaster, and asked if I’d used it yet. From the layers of caked on dust, she already knew I hadn’t. To be honest, I’d sort of forgotten the thing even worked. It had become more of a kitchen decoration than something with a practical function. I hadn’t given it a second thought in years (literally). And then it finally hit me - not only was that silly mixer an appliance I could’ve been enjoying for its intended life purpose (duh), but it also no longer reeked of all those negative feelings and memories. So much time and, well, life had occurred since then, that I was far past the point of that one moment in time holding any significance over me. I’d long ago neatly shelved that breakup and the lessons learned, and eventually the mixer also lost the larger than life persona it had taken on in my mind back then. It became exactly what it was supposed to be - nothing more than a really awesome gift.
A whole four years and four months later, but still! That baby finally got plugged in.
(Well, first it got washed - I wasn’t kidding about the dust… whoops.)
It helped me make some homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas Day, to be shared with family past and future. And I think that means that I’m just now, finally, a mature adult.