Until about 1pm today, I hadn’t the slightest idea what I wanted to share with you in today’s blog. My week has been heavily saturated with ballet (gosh, I’ve never written about that before), hanging out with friends (also a subject I’ve just entirely neglected), and adulting (that word hasn’t ever left my mouth). Alas, I didn’t see many routes that avoided boring you with topics I’ve already unpacked…and repacked and unpacked again.
Because we’re traveling to Chautauqua, NY to perform tomorrow, we had a short day today with class starting in the afternoon. I arrived early to gather everything I needed for the trip and return some forms that were due to the company accountant. After getting everything situated, I headed upstairs to eat the lunch I’d packed and read for a few minutes before warming up. I knew the likelihood of the lounge being free was slim–the summer dance program is currently running, so the building is swarming with kids and teens all day. I could hear the crescendo of high-pitched conversations coming from the tables inside as I rounded the corner. However, I took my chances and went in that direction in case there was any couch space still available.
Oh, that couch was occupied. In fact, there were two young dancers sprawled out across the cushions, and each other. One clad in the free summer intensive t-shirt and the other in a leotard, warm up pants, and a perfect bun, the pair’s juvenile appearances seemed to contradict the lack of space between them with their giddy cuddling– in the middle of the day on the public couch right before I was getting ready to eat. Equally disappointed and horrified, I kept on towards the door, trying unsuccessfully to pry my eyes from the image before me. That’s the thing: what shocked me even more than the child lovebirds was the instantaneous transformation I experienced into a crotchety old woman at the sight of them. Without showing it externally, I walked through that lounge with a profound disgust, a sudden hatred of the smell of boyish B.O. scenting the room, a revulsion at the giggling mass of limbs taking my couch, and a hopelessness in the future of the next generation that was enough to call me Ebeneezer.
I exhaled with my exit from the scene, feeling thoroughly scarred from my encounter (a sensation I now accept as a teeeeny bit melodramatic) and very much ready for some food and peace. I sat across the room from a lone student and silently scorned the entire 8-12 year old population for being hateful enough to leave a girl friendless at lunch. Despicable. I opened my Tupperware feeling especially mature, lofty; I mean, I even used the plastic knife along with my fork like any civilized individual that also knows how to sit properly on a couch would. I opened my book of complex, morbid poetry and began reading–an activity that surely none of those Instagram-obsessed, iPhone owning infants would bother doing.
My steady stream of irrational self-affirmation was interrupted, though, by none other than the voice of a little girl.
“Gabriella, why are you eating all by yourself??”
I looked up from my page to see two adorable bun-heads, concernedly chatting with the girl I’d noticed when I came in. At their inquiry, she perked up and cheerfully explained how she’d come upstairs early and was comfortable on her own for a few minutes. They all cheerfully said their goodbyes, their laughs fading and bringing with them the fog of grouchy assumptions that had begun to take residence around my head. I couldn’t help but break my aloof character and smile.
While young people are sometimes seen as innovators, bold leaders, the real fuel for positive change in our world, our society’s view of them can frequently be dismal. We hear so often the idea that “kids these days” are spoiled, ungrateful, selfish, or lack work ethic. They’re glued to their phones, tied to cliques, boy/girl-obsessed, and don’t know how to have conversation that doesn’t involve a keyboard. I’m only 20, and I’ll admit I’ve have my fair share of cynical thoughts about kiddos I encounter. But today, I was reminded to never underestimate the inherent good in people, even those who’re taking selfies by the time they’re 6 and who never have to go through an ugly phase.
Was my response to a pair of kids who have a better love life than I do a tad bitter and tainted with personal issues? Probably.
Is the future of our world doomed by the fact that it’s left in the hands of today’s middle schoolers? I’m not convinced.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
Lime Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwiches (V)
These are a fun tropical twist on a summer dessert classic. And with a lime shortbread that stand alone, save this recipe for all year!
- 1 cup plus 2 TBSP vegan butter (I used earth balance buttery spread), room temp
- 2/3 cup sugar (vegan if desired)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 TBSP lime zest, gently packed (about zest of 2 limes)
- vegan vanilla or coconut ice cream (Trader Joe’s soy-based vanilla is great)
- plantain chips, crushed
- unsweetened coconut, chopped
- Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth.
- Add the lime zest, and mix on medium speed until incorporated.
- Gradually add the flour, mixing after each addition, until it’s all mixed in.
- Gather the dough into a ball, and turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment on top.
- Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes. Poke holes through cookies in a pattern if desired. Cookies will be delicate, so using a spatula can help.
- Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and chill in fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Bake cookies in preheated oven for about 19-22 minutes, or until edges and bottoms just begin to brown. Time may vary depending on thickness of cookies. Allow to cook completely.
- Assemble sandwiches: Scoop ice cream onto a cookie, press another cookie on top, and roll in crushed plantain chips and coconut. Keep in a sealed container in the freezer until ready to eat.