Mock up of first tshirt
The other day I came across a story of an abused mom of 4, who built her home by watching you tube videos! If she could make a home with walls, plumbing and electrical than J and I could learn to frost a cupcake. After watching a half dozen or so you tube videos, J and I drove off and picked up some pastry bags and frosting tips envisioning the wedding cakes we’d be able to pull off now that we were experts on cake decorating.
Things in highly produced 4 minute 36 second videos on you tube look much easier than they are in real life. Our first challenge was the frosting itself. We are not frosting people. You know which plates are ours after a birthday party. We scrape the frosting off and eat the cake! That’s the good stuff. I’ve heard buttercream frosting is so easy over and over! But right there in the name is our first problem, BUTTER. No Dairy for us. After a half dozen attempts of concoctions of coconut oil, corn syrup, shortening and powdered coconut milk, we got something that would hold together. The process of coming up with the frosting had left us a little worse for the wear. All that sugar while we were tasting and testing had made us a nauseous and gave us a head ache.
Before we even began, we were crashing fast! After all that frosting, we had to sit down for a while. We watched some more videos during our break and got reinvigorated. How could we not be awesome at this!?! So up we got and faced our second challenge. How do you get the frosting in the bag without make a huge mess? Frosting is some icky sticky stuff. It was all over our hands, the front of us and I may have had some in my hair. The ladies in the you tube videos all had perfect hair and manicured hands with upbeat pop music playing. I was starting to hear the requiem in my head.
Once we got the frosting in the bag, I thought we were ready. Magazine cover worthy cupcakes were on the way. Boy humor and air were our next obstacle. In between the glob of frosting and the tip was a large pocket of air. When we tried to push the frosting out, out came a bodily function noise. I lost J! He collapsed in giggles. Me, being a boy mum for so long, also collapse into the giggles!
We preserved and produced a few cupcakes.
They look nothing like anything in the videos.
We got better by the eighteenth.
What took 4 minutes and 36 in most of the videos, took us about 4 and half hours. I probably gained 4 and a half pounds.
I don’t see wedding cakes in the immediate future, but we will get there. That mom could not have built her home in days. It had to be months or even years. With practice, hard work and giggle collapses we will have magazine cover worthy cakes. Martha Stewart look out. How could that not be in our future? It looks so easy on YouTube.
Our company began when my son was turning eighteen and transitioning to adulthood. He said he wanted to be a chef in restaurant. Initially, I giggled and told him, “No you like to eat at restaurants.” Then I realized, no of course, he’d want to cook. He started a gluten/casien free diet when he was a toddler. 18 years ago, no one knew what gluten free was, so I pulled him up on the kitchen island and we baked. Baking and cooking are process driven. You follow the steps and in the end, you get a yummy reward. It’s very satisfying work for him.
Being a chef would’ve been impossible. He wasn’t verbal enough to make it through an interview. If a restaurant would take a chance on him, he’d be relegated to the dishwasher. He has an incredible palate and like most people on the spectrum amazing detail and process skills. A dishwashing position would be a waste of his potential and most likely a disaster.
All parents want their children to grow to be happy fulfilled people. My husband and I had to make career choices that paid the bills and supported the family. When helping our children plan their futures, we stressed to want more than money. You want to do something interesting. You want to feel like you are doing is something useful. You want to feel like your work is needed, that need gives you a feeling that you are important. Your work adds to your self-worth.
To live the life you want to, to enjoy your work and feel validated is important for everyone but especially for someone with special needs. Work has to be enjoyable, otherwise it’s another tedious task in a world that doesn’t always make sense. So, with a lot of hope and hustle we decided to make his dream of being a chef a reality and give other people’ s children an opportunity for meaningful work as well . In this process, I’ve gained a few pounds and realized I hate frosting , but I’ve found meaningful work.