What Sammy Yuen and Rachael Ray have in Common

Earlier this month, I got some GRAVEMAIDENS news that made my hair stand on end. 

Sammy Yuen, the incredibly talented graphic artist, is going to be designing the cover of my book. I mean, check out these ridiculous covers he's done. He has designed NYT bestsellers, crazy popular YA fiction, crazy popular YA fiction that just happened to be NYT bestsellers, and so many more that my head is reeling even thinking about it. 


So, of course on the same day I received this amazing news that had me shouting from the rooftops, I needed a swift kick in the pants to be reminded that life does not stop when things go well (nor does it stop when things go poorly, unless, of course, the thing that goes poorly is your own death). 

My nine-year-old son wanted to make dinner to help me celebrate the incredible news that Sammy was my designer. After internally rolling my eyes because although it was a nice gesture, making a somewhat complicated recipe with a kid not well-known for fastidiousness wasn't *exactly* my idea of a celebration, I swallowed my tendency to be peevish, went to the store, and procured the ingredients. He'd chosen Florentine Mac n Cheese with Chicken Sausage Meatballs, a Rachael Ray dish. Seemed easy enough. Mac n cheese. Meatballs. Piece of cake. I mean, not a literal piece of cake. But you catch my drift.  

After getting out all the ingredients, we chopped and measured, then got to the good part: the mixing. And here was my fatal mistake.

I gave my child a glass mixing bowl. He was stirring the ground chicken with fennel, ricotta, parmesan, and breadcrumbs, when he turned toward me with a big old grin and a story about something or another and pulled the glass bowl off the counter. 

It fell in slow-motion, my mouth forming the word "Noooooooo" as my Pyrex crashed to my wooden floor and....shattered. 

Glass. Bits of ground chicken. Parmesan. Eggs. The entire mess was splattered across the floor, and in my surprise, I shifted my foot and set it down on a piece of glass. I yelped, and he immediately began to cry. I told him to get away from the mess so he didn't cut himself too, gesturing wildly to the living room where his brothers stood stock still in horror that 1). Their mother was bleeding 2). Our dinner was now a glop of chicken smooshed with glass, and nobody was interested in that. My irritation flared at our predicament, but I told the demonlady inside my head to calm the heck down. We had a SITUATION HERE, and panicking was going to do nobody any good. 

I stepped tenderly around the glass, then removed the shard from my foot and bandaged it since it was dripping blood all over the kitchen floor. (Two days later, I pulled the rest of the glass out after wondering why my foot still felt twingey and weird.) Then I cleaned up the mess. An hour later, the kitchen was clean, the chicken goop was tossed in the trash, the floor was sanitized, and....we were starving.

So, despite my aching foot and general sense of "Hey, maybe we should just go get tacos," we made the meatballs again, because if there was anything I wanted to teach him, it was that when things go wrong, you don't just give up. So, with a plastic bowl (I was an idiot once and was not going to be twice), we made another batch, spilled the fennel, roasted the meatballs, and dirtied more pots and pans than I even own.  

That night, while we ate our meal (It was really good!), we celebrated not only the amazing news that Sammy freaking Yuen was going to make GRAVEMAIDENS the most astounding cover ever, but also the sweet heart of a nine-year-old boy who just wanted to give his momma a night she would always remember. 

I'm pretty sure I will.