You sure do learn a lot about a person’s personality and temperament when you assemble a gingerbread house. And even more when you make 14 of them. I’m thinking about patenting this activity as a tool for diagnosing the different kinds of mental illness–obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, and bipolar disorder–because all of them reared their ugly heads yesterday in my panic to produce the stupid things for my son David’s Christmas party, which I (in a very weak moment) volunteered to organize.
As my husband Eric, the Zen Buddhist and architect he is, precisely sawed graham cracker pieces to fit perfectly together, I frantically slapped on some vanilla icing to David’s scraps.
“The bloody things keep cracking!” I yelled in frustration. “We’re not going to have enough!”
Eric tuned me out. He was grounded in the moment, thoroughly enjoying the art of creating something out of nothing, and anticipating the joy his houses would bring to a roomful of preschoolers who got to decorate them with gummies and M&Ms.
Standing beside this wise man of mine, I learned more than how to design a cookie house. I learned how to concentrate on one thing at a time and to enjoy the present moment–even with my disordered brain.