How Tar-Tryin’ really got started

I was only partially honest about the motivation behind starting this project/blog.  I knew I’d elaborate fully on the genesis of it all when I was ready to share it, and I guess that time is now.  It’s that time of year, people are reflecting – what craziness 2011 brought upon them, deciding on the parts of their lives they love, as well as the necessary tweaks they’ve resolved to tackle in the new year. 

All in all, 2011 was very good for me and my family.  It was our first full year back in Michigan, and we are so happy to be here.  Of course, there are low points to any year.  It can’t all be perfect, and that’s okay. 

At the end of September, the day before I started this blog, I went through a pretty terrible experience.  I was three months along in my pregnancy and I went in for a routine appointment only to find out I’d miscarried.  I was completely caught off guard, to say the least, as I thought that we’re were in the clear, just days away from the second trimester.  At that point, the chance of miscarriage drastically reduces.  It’s strange, going through such a thing, because you have no idea how to navigate such foreign waters.  What did I do wrong?  I’m young and healthy, and I’ve been so very conscious of this baby.  How do I handle this?  Do I write emails to everyone?  Do I call people?  Sending this news in a text message just doesn’t seem appropriate.  I’d already told our close friends and family, and since I was at the point that they say is “safe” to tell people the pregnancy news, I’d just made the Facebook announcement three days before I miscarried.  I was by myself at the doctor’s office because it was going to be just another appointment, and I was bawling to an ultrasound tech I’d never met before.  The first thing to come out of my mouth was, “But I just told everyone on Facebook!”  She replied, “And you’re so sweet.  I bet you have a lot of friends on there.”  This short conversation makes me laugh every time I think of it.

I was scared to have to grieve through this on my own – people just don’t talk about this often, and when you bring it up, people just don’t know what to say.  But I slowly shared what was happening with my friends and felt more love and was showered with more acts of kindness than I could have even dreamed of receiving.  My friends were sending flowers, dropping off meals and boxes of truffles, crying with me, and sending the sweetest texts and emails I’ve ever received.  Just so you know, the best way to support a friend going through such an experience is to simply listen, to acknowledge their grief, loss and sadness.  At first I didn’t want to hear people’s long stories of their miscarriages, that we’d have another baby, or that we were just lucky to have the son we have.  All I cared about was grieving for the baby I’d been carrying.  The baby we were making plans for, deciding on a name for, and getting so incredibly excited to meet even though I was just a third of the way through the pregnancy. 

You find out so many women have gone through miscarriage, and it makes it that much more confusing.  A part of me felt guilty for feeling SO seriously devastated.  That would be like a person with cancer thinking, “It’s stupid I’m so sad about having cancer because so many people have cancer.”  So once I got over that, it meant a lot hearing people’s stories.  Close people that I feel like I know so well let me know they’d gone through miscarriages I’d never known about.  Why is this such a quiet, awkward thing that women feel like they can’t share?  I understand it’s sad to talk about, but once I wanted to start talking about, it I felt better.

So, the day after I found out, I was sitting on my couch having real thoughts like, “I don’t want to ever get up from this spot,” and really meaning it.  Barely treading water in my emotions, I resolved I needed to get my mind off of this.  Being a stay at home mom, with no huge distractions/work/projects, I thought things could go two ways right now – I could either sit around and feel sorry for myself and start wearing sweatpants every day, or I could get up and find something to do to get my mind off of the sadness for a bit.  I grabbed the Tartine cookbook with the mindset that I was going to finally bake something from it.  I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s true, I was having many dreams of being at the Tartine Bakery, so grabbing this book made sense.  It also seemed like the one that would require the most attention and focus, which is what I needed that day.  As I sat down, thumbing through the pages, taking in all the beautiful pictures I said, “Yeah, I’m going to bake something from this cookbook today.  Actually, I think I’m going to bake every single thing in this cookbook.  What’ll that take me?  A year, maybe?  I should probably document it in a blog, right?”  Dan’s reply, “Yeah.  That’s great.  Do it.”

And that’s what I did – what I’m doing here.  I started the project that day, not really planning for anyone else to really read this, except for Dan, my sister and maybe my parents.  This blog has turned into something greater than I had ever planned.  What began as a therapeutic escape, quickly evolved into me falling in love with baking, and sharing the whole romance with whoever is kind enough to read about it.  I debated not even sharing this, but I want people to know that I am so thankful for this culinary endeavor – that something so wonderful has come out of such a sad moment in my life.  Maybe it’ll provide hope for someone who feels so very sad, and fears that the sadness might not ever go away. 

There’s been this quote that’s sort of followed me around since high school, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus  Basically, this blog – and the joy, excitement and even frustration, that it brings – is my invincible summer, and I am so happy to be sharing it with you.  

And also, here’s my little “If you or someone you know is dealing with…” moment that you see after TV shows.  I wanted to share the best guide to knowing how to talk to people about miscarriage that was recently on Jezebel.  I think every single person in the world should read this, because it is hands down the most right on the money advice to coping/helping friends cope with miscarriage.