Nancy and I enter the dining room carrying the roast, potatoes, and green beans, whose white sauce has still not lost its fluff. She does not announce to the table that the meat is overcooked and that she is an idiot for overcooking it. I admire that. I make a mental note to please try to follow her example.

The roast is, of course, delicious. Everyone says how delicious it is.

Nancy looks at me. I look at her. We burst out laughing. It's a big, raucous laugh, completely out of keeping with how well-mannered we've been the rest of the night. It's a laugh that will resonate in my ears for years to come, reminding me of a very important thing: I am not the only one failing to live up to my ludicrous expectations of myself; we all are. So maybe we all should relax. And instead of feeling bad that the roast tastes so good, I decide to simply enjoy it.

Lisa Wolfe now lives in New York with her husband and two sons. She is working on a novel.


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