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This I Believe: Insane Sanity

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS
Madelyn Powell - Hillsboro High School

Since the beginning of my life, my mother has been a bit of an odd duck. She isn't crazy, but I wouldn't say she is your normal 50-year-old. She is a high school teacher and is always finding ways to brighten students' days whether by giving them a piece of candy, a kind compliment, or literally sprinkling them with sparkles.

Not only does she work hard to inspire and motivate students at school, but she strives to maintain a positive attitude at home as well.

One day in grade school — I don't remember specifically when because there have been many of these situations since — I came home after a rough day at school. My mom had decided to attempt making a cake from scratch. Our family is always a bit apprehensive when my mom strays from her usual lasagna or biscuits and gravy recipes. As I predicted when she used store-bought cherry icing, it was pretty disgusting. However, her genius idea that followed made up for the failed attempt.

We live out of town, in front of some woods, so she decided we should take the cake to the edge of the trees, scoop it out of the pan, and "fling" it. The relief I felt as the squishy cake left my hand and catapulted toward a tree branch was unbelievable. It was rewarding to take part in a somewhat pointless activity after the pressure of perfection at school. Since that day, there have been countless other flinging expeditions, not always with cake, sometimes with bad apples or other less-than-delectable concoctions created by my chef of a mom.

Although this experience is an entertaining memory, it also taught me an important lesson to remember. In the midst of life, sometimes you have to do something insane in order to stay sane. I know, it sounds crazy, but I think that is the point. Because this life is so busy and structured, sometimes being spontaneous is the only way to catch a necessary break. It is exciting to give your regular routine a rest and try something new, whether it is flinging random foods into the woods or something that I have not even imagined yet. Because my mom was bold enough to try something silly, I will now always believe in keeping an open mind and jumping at simple, spur-of-the-moment opportunities.

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