Sometimes I feel really in sync with my kids. It doesn’t happen every day, but sometimes it’s like they really, really know that I need something and they just come through for me in a big way.
Like today. Elliette slept all night last night, and then she took a long nap this afternoon while I worked in the kitchen. My husband took my son for a nap ride, so I had a couple of hours to myself, baby girl sound asleep and swinging next to me, to enjoy a little kitchen therapy. Not just cooking, exactly, but the careful practice of working through the things in my kitchen. Using my fresh ingredients, planning meals for the week. Making things we love out of things that would otherwise be thrown out. It’s an art, really – the art of homemaking. Being a homemaker. I’ve always been pretty good at it, but I’ve not always been able to put it into practice. Especially these past several years, as my career took off a little and I found myself borrowing from one important part of my life to pay off the other.
It’s the beginning of the growing season for us, and that usually starts off with 2 things: spinach and rhubarb. I get so excited to see them that I nearly forget each year that I’m not that crazy about either spinach or rhubarb. I’m just so damned happy to see them, and they serve as such a wonderful sign of things to come, that I don’t even care. In early spring, it’s not so much about having what you love, but loving what you have. So today I loved spinach and rhubarb. I stuffed as much spinach as humanly possible into a huge pan of ricotta shells (along with some parsley I bought from a local farmer) and I boiled the rhubarb into syrup for spritzers and ice cream. The remaining pulp will make great breakfasts slathered on toast, and watching my son eat it will be even better than eating it myself. For Finn’s lunch tomorrow, I boiled our older eggs instead of throwing them out. I’ve been meaning to do that for months with the eggs we don’t get to, but I never have time. For months, I haven’t had time to boil eggs. What the hell does that say about my life?
Anyway, my family was fed. There is homemade food in my house, and I’m feeling that “good tired” that comes from getting a lot done.
And you know what? I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t blog any of it. There’s no recipe post tonight (although rhubarb might appear here soon…) I’d like to tell you I did something Pinterest-worthy, but I didn’t. I took the pressure off, and just made a bunch of good, fresh food in my messy kitchen and didn’t show or tell anyone about it besides my family. I felt weird, like I could be making more of this moment, could capitalize on it in some way – that feeling that so many of us bloggers/social media devotees feel so often. But I made myself squash it and just be present. Present in those minutes and actions that I’ve needed so badly and not had the time for. Present in the washing of my baby spinach leaves, present in the washing of my sharpest knife, present in the nubs of rhubarb that kept hitting the floor and bouncing out of sight.
I needed that time because, as you may have read in my last post, I’m about to leave my job. Yup. I finally made the decision, put in my notice, told everyone. My job is history. This job that I’ve hung on to for dear life through every life change since I was about 22 years old. It’s always been the thing that was mine. The thing that was there, solid, steadfast. My foundation. Through college, through promotions, through one failed marriage, personal breakdowns, high points, low points, pregnancies and miscarriages, depression, elation, my first blurry months of motherhood, professional successes, and the days when I strutted, briefcase in one hand and breastpump in the other, thinking, “I got this.” That company is the only thing in my life that has been consistent for 17 years, and I’m about to leave it all behind.
So today, I cooked. I chopped. I stuffed. I boiled. I drank a beer and wiped my hands on my pants. I thought about what’s coming. And it occurred to me that I get more satisfaction out of one productive afternoon in my kitchen that I ever got from a creating a winning tagline or seeing my name in print. Because although those things are what I do, taking care of my family and being a mom is what I am.
A wise man I know recently told me that if you do what you love, people will sit up and take notice. God, I hope that’s true. Because I just banked my whole life on that very idea. (My own business will be starting soon, but more about that later…) This is a new season, and it’s going to be all about loving what I have. When I walk out of that building in a few weeks, feeling like I’m leaving half of who I am inside, I know it will go on without me, like I was never even there. It’s a humbling thought. But it doesn’t apply here. Here, I am needed. This is my season. Our season. A new season, and it’s going to be all about loving what I have.