I remember being incredibly nervous the first time I met my one-day In-laws. Would they like me? Would they approve? What could we possibly have in common? I guess that these fears are natural and everyone seeks the approval of the most important people in your partner’s life at that moment in time. But when I get nervous, I get quiet, and this made it extremely difficult for me to share who I was. Let’s just say it wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t great.
The second time was when we went to stay at their house. Just after Christmas, Boxing Day here in the UK, and although I felt more than welcome, I was still slightly paralyzed by the fear of saying something stupid and so I stayed quiet. My future mother in law was so upset that she cried. And I realized how silly I was being. This woman wanted to get to know me and I wasn’t giving her that chance.
The next time we went to visit, I reached out to her in the best way I knew how, by baking for her. I brought my favorite Blueberry Muffins and I discovered that she, too had a love for cooking and baking. The thing we had in common was right in front of me the whole time. We bonded over food magazines and cooking tips and I felt at ease knowing that I could be myself around her. When she asked me for the recipe I was ecstatic, even more so when she told me that she had baked them herself. The streusel topping was our favorite part! Well, and the big, juicy blueberries. Oh, and the tender, moist crumb. I looked forward to all the times we would get to cook together or for each other. But, sometimes life isn’t just what you think it will be.
Less than a year and a half after I met Hilary, she passed away.
It’s hard not to feel cheated by the loss of someone so early on in your life, but I am lucky that I knew her for the short time that I did. Whenever I bake these muffins, I smile and remember an amazing woman, with whom I bonded over baking.