It was last Summer (2015). It was dusk, and the kids were asleep. The heat of the day had broken, yet there was still a big, fiery sun lying low in the sky.
Scott was outside straightening up the yard, while I was doing the dishes or checking Facebook or something completely ordinary. He popped his head in and with a very loud whisper said, “Meg, come on out here.”
And I did.
When I got out, we discussed plans for our yard, while picking up children’s toys from the grass. He used a baseball bat to point at a tree that needed to be trimmed. Then with his other hand, he tossed a ball in the air and gave a good swing at it with the bat. I watched the ball as it flew to the other side of our yard, landing and rolling toward the back corner of the fence. I took a deep breath through my nose and sighed with contentment.
“Wanna play?” He looked at me and asked. After spending all day with our three little ones, I truly just wanted three little things: wine, sweatpants, and junky TV; the last thing I wanted to partake in was physical activity. I looked at him. His eyes were playful and filled with hope.
My reply surprised me,
Once I decided I was going to play, I was all in. We proceeded to set up the bases. We went over the rules, and I could feel his excitement. I hope he felt mine too. It was like we were twelve again, riding our bikes to the neighbor’s house and playing baseball until the sun set. We ran and laughed until our lungs hurt, and we very well could have played all night if it weren’t for the interruption.
“I see you over there,” Said a small, squeaky voice from our back door. We were busted. Our 6 year old daughter got out of bed for water and saw us playing baseball outside. She laughed, and I made a note to myself at the gratitude that I felt. My daughter got to see her parents having fun together. My daughter would know her mommy and her daddy loved each other.
And what was my gratitude is now my hope…that somehow this remains the same. Please, sweet girl, know: Mommy and Daddy loved each other: then, now, always.
The last meme I that I texted to Scott:
It was my signature move. The scene would go like this: I hug him whether he wants it or not. He grumbles a bit before letting out a nervous laugh; ultimately, succumbing to my adorable display of affection and hugging me back. I annoyed him in the best way possible… and the plan was to do it forever.
I was supposed to grow old with this man. We looked forward to being old people, reading our papers and getting our senior coffees at restaurants. He was naturally an old man already — one of those guys who was growing into his personality, and he particularly couldn’t wait to be a grandpa (which I always thought was odd but very sweet); he looked forward to being fun and playful and spoiling the heck out of our grand babies. My heart is broken, knowing that this dream is gone. Poof. Taken. Just like that.
It’s moments like these that I fight. I’m trying my best to not be an emotional mess, but when I look into the future too far, I feel great despair. Surviving grief has taught me to stay in the moment as much as I possibly can. Do not think about the silly, stupid, naive past. Do not think about the lost, never-to-be-seen, taken future. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though…
And suppose that’s ok too… I have no clue.
I wish I could take up a drinking habit. I fantasize about it often these days.
Not the kind of habit where I go out with friends, get hammered, and hit the drive thru on the way home; All of us laughing, listening to Rihanna songs.
I want the nastiest most painful vodka. I want to be alone with my misery. I want to be alone and lose my mind. My eyes smeared of mascara, my hair greasy and unwashed… This is the fantasy I have for myself. A drinking habit.
It can’t happen though.
I have little people looking to me for guidance through this confusing time. I have dear loved ones watching me, ready to catch me… and I really don’t want anyone to have to catch me.
I also have a belated husband who took great pride in my happiness. So I have to be happy. I have to wash my hair and drink coffee. I have to cry into a glass of good wine before going to bed early because the kids wake up for school in the morning. For him, I have to find happy.
But I really want vodka.
It’s Friday. And I have the night off, so that means I want to make dinner.
I love making dinner. I’m not a mom who complains about this one.
Cleaning the bathrooms? Yes.
Folding laundry? Eww.
But cooking …I love it.
There are definitely issues when someone, like me, in my situation, steps up to the stove. And I will get to that.
For now, let’s talk about what I made.
Shrimp scampi over riced cauliflower.
So simple. So easy. And just good. (Most things, when kept simple, are good.)
Here are my ingredients (as adapted from Pinterest):
I found this list of ingredients in Pinterert and knew I could work with them. Rather than using a carb heavy pasta, I decided to combine this recipe with a new fave of mine: cauliflower rice.
The whole thing took about 20 minutes all together. Very fast and easy.
1. Peel and mince garlic *Note: this is the most time consuming step – and while it’s not that difficult, everything else is smooth sailing afterwards.
2. Heat olive oil in a skillet add garlic and shrimp ( with tails cut off)
3. Mince cauliflower in a food processor *buy a food processor – it sounds intimidating but it’s so easy and life changing, really. Go buy one. Like, now.
4. Deglaze the pan with juice of one lemon and a half cup of dry white wine
5. Add a cup of chicken broth. Keep heat at med-high.
6. Add riced cauliflower
7. Chop parsley – This is the first time I’ve ever bought or cooked with parsley. It’s not necessary for flavor but is a 100% improvement on the appearance of the dish, which is just lookin like white grits up until this point. Mentally, you will enjoy your dinner so much more with it.
8. Add parsley; total cool time of this dish should be about 5 mins or until the liquid has evaporated out.
So what’s going on in the meantime with my kids? What’s happening while mommy pretends to be Nigella Lawson?
Let’s see what I meant before when I said there are “issues” when someone in my “situation” tries to cook…
The girls spent that 20 minutes wrestling. You think boys are the only ones who wrestle? I used to too… Nope. Gracie now has a loose tooth, which she’s pretty excited about. She even ran to go clean her room for the tooth fairies anticipated arrival. (Thanks Grandma L for that idea)
So you see, I’m not exactly cooking in peace and wouldn’t blame another mom who just said eff it and ordered a Friday night pizza.
After the liquid is evaporated, I cover and remove my skillet from the heat, and I allow it to sit while I set up plates.
This keeps it hot, and gives that cauliflower a wee bit more cook time.
I know what else you’re wondering…
Ahhh… Here’s a little Mommy refreshment for after dinner and baths.
A little dry champagne and frozen blueberries – complete with antioxidants! So you can feel good about getting boozed up 😉
Have a happy Labor Day weekend!
When it comes to parties, ‘simple’ is not in my vernacular.
The one thrown for my four year old this weekend was no different.
A four year old really only needs a nice sugary cake and friends whom with to run around. Because she hasn’t had a really good party since her first birthday (and also because my mommy guilt is strong with this middle child), she was given a bash.
Invitations were ordered from Etsy and sent to 60 of our closest friends and family members:
Elle wasn’t sure if she wanted a general ‘Princess’ theme or a ‘Cinderella’ one — until she decided, we did the broader fairy tale type invite.
Once they were out and it was time to pick up the decorations, I asked her one last time what she wanted to do… Cinderella it was.
I made center pieces.
This kinda felt extreme, but Elle likes things to be pretty, and I enjoy making things pretty; so it worked.
Jars found randomly around my home to spray paint sparkly gold, and flowers and pumpkins were picked up from the Dollar Tree.
I find a good party is in the people. An exceptional party is in the details — things like a sparkly pumpkin or one of the magic cookie wands that my beautiful mother made for us. (Seen below)(Don’t mind my make shift ice bucket — my children destroyed the one and only that I had)I love the series of moments that make up a really good gathering. The quiet before the first guest arrives; the serious concentration of my daughter’s face as she opens her presents; or little pink boots that have been kicked to the side for some serious play in bare feet.
My ultimate favorite moment though was this:We had a special guest arrive after cake and gifts. Elle was completely humbled in her presence. One of the best parts of parenting is seeing the reaction of your little ones to something new. This was quite special.
Cinderella was sent to us by Kirko Productions (link at the end of the article). She led a sing along with the children and even brought a glass slipper for the birthday girl.
The girls also did crafts with the princess and had their faces painted. It was an eventful evening for sure.What’s a good party without a little something for the grown ups? My husband made sure there was a little ‘play’ for the big kids too. While I couldn’t participate as I was following a 2 year old or doing hostess things, it was awesome to watch guests of all ages join in some fun.Scooter got his volleyball game in (a few of them actually). We didn’t know if it would be possible, as the forecast teased us with rain — going back and forth, back and forth, until finally came the day, and the forecast STILL was unclear.
The evening ended with a few good people sitting around a table, the kids tucked in bed, and a gentle rain as the backdrop of our conversation.
I have to admit – I was pretty in love with yesterday.
Cinderella courtesy of: http://www.kirkoproductions.com/