Let Your Cake Bake

I remember the first time I made chocolate cake. I was a teenager, and was so excited because I just came home from school and asked my mom if I could have cake as a snack and she actually said yes! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I ran into the kitchen and threw all the ingredients together quickly so that she didn’t have a chance to come to her senses and change her mind. In a state of impatience, I flipped on the oven light and watched my cake bake. As time seemingly dragged on, my cake looked ready to eat- even though the timer still had 10 minutes remaining. Despite the remaining time on the timer, I just knew that my cake was done- I could feel it in my bones- and I pulled it out of the oven. Knowing that cake needed to cool for a brief minute before it would be edible, I pulled out a plate and a knife then sliced into the pan. I was shocked and devastated when the entire middle of the cake was a hot soupy mess. I ran to my mother telling her that the oven was broken, her pan was broken, and the cake mix didn’t work- basically blaming anything and everything I could think of instead of my impatience. She calmly instructed me to put the cake back in the still hot oven, and trust the timer and instructions on the box. “Sometimes things need to bake longer than we think, even if it looks ready, because inside it’s still just batter.”

Trusting the Process

As parents and staff, we sometimes have this vision of how our girls will “look” after a certain amount of time in a residential treatment center. And it’s true, they will begin to look better on the outside, behaviorally, before they will have completed all of their work on the inside- the true healing. This is why it is so important to trust the residential process. In my story above, had I taken the time to learn from my mother- a skilled and experienced baker- I wouldn’t have had to learn the hard way about the way a cake bakes. Our girls have an entire team of skilled and experienced therapists and residential staff that are daily working to teach them the skills and support them through the experiences they need to heal completely, inside and out. Not only will they “look good” on the outside, but their core beliefs and feelings of self-worth will mirror their behaviors. It is a difficult thing to leave a child in the hands of seeming strangers AND it is so important that you trust that we will love, care for, and coach your daughter in the necessary ways so that she can align her beliefs and her behaviors. Just like my mother wouldn’t let me eat a half-baked cake, we are not going to send your daughter home only half-healed. Trust the process, trust the team, and your daughter will return home to you happy, healthy, and whole.