That Time I Set My Kitchen On Fire – And How That Changed Me Forever

Myra Golden

I was making a special candy dessert with my daughter, just 4 years old at the time. I didn’t even want to make the recipe, but Lauren begged me to. Given my frustration in the kitchen with this unfamiliar and difficult recipe, it’s no surprise that my daughter quickly lost interest in cooking with mommy and went to play.

Impatient with a lengthy step in the cooking process, I decided to let the mixture simmer for a bit, thinking my frustration could also simmer down, and I went down the hall to my home office. I got to checking emails and a voicemail, nothing of importance, and I simply forgot about the sweet mixture simmering on the stovetop. Sometime later at my desk, I heard a sharp whistle. No, it was more like a beep. It happened in rapid succession. With a 4-year old and a 1-year old, I dismissed the sound as something coming from one of the kids’ toys. I hit send on the email I was typing and then opened AOL to read some news.

My daughter walked into my office, still wearing her lavender princess dress and bejeweled crown from dress-up earlier.  She didn’t look like a princess though. She looked Much Afraid. “What’s wrong Lauren?” Her big princess eyes didn’t blink. She didn’t speak. There’s that beeping noise again… Oh ho! That’s the smoke alarm, I realized. I ran into the hall and it was filled with smoke! Through the smoke, I dashed to my kitchen and it was on fire. My kitchen was on fire!

“That kitchen fire, 13 years ago, was my turning point.”

I should have been grateful to have a free afternoon to cook with my daughter. I should have been fully present and passionately engaged with my daughter and with the recipe. But what I did was, I saw the cooking time as an interruption to my workday. I felt frustrated and I took the fun away, which pushed my daughter away. I chose to go into my makeshift office, which wasn’t even buzzing with business or activity.

These days, nearly a decade and a half later, I’m making better choices. I’m intentionally choosing to be fully present and engaged with people and tasks. Like when my daughter, now 17, asked me earlier this month to take a fun painting class with her. I didn’t hesitate even one second!


I hope you make the choice to be fully present and passionately engaged with whatever you’re doing and with whoever you’re blessed to be doing it with. 🙂 

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