Shortly after our house flooded and we were living with my parents, my mom could tell I was in a funk. Let’s call it what it was.
I was straight up depressed.
Who wouldn’t be? We had just married two months earlier and we lost pretty much everything we owned within a few hours. Our future was uncertain. I desperately wanted to start our family but we didn’t even know where that family would live. We were completely without direction.
My mom looked at me and told me that I had to do something...anything to get back to center. She made me drive her to Target and bought me some new makeup and a pair of jeans. When I said I literally lost everything, I meant it. I didn’t even own mascara anymore.
When I got home she made me put on my face and my new pants. Then she demanded my husband take me to dinner. We had been so wrapped up in paperwork and village meetings we had lost our way to each other. My mom could see that.
It wasn’t a fancy meal…just Cheesecake Factory at the mall. But you would have thought it was the fanciest of 5 start restaurants. We spent time regrouping and trying to figure out how we were going to navigate the very unknown future. We decided to stay with my parents full time.
A couple days later I told my mom that I wanted to take over the cooking. That night I made Swedish meatballs. It’s an old family recipe that’s really no recipe at all. It felt amazing. Cooking grounded me. I hadn’t realized that was what was missing: not the cooking necessarily but the feeling of being in control. That’s what I had been lacking. The flood took away my control and being in the kitchen brought it back.
My mom started joining me in the kitchen. She taught me recipes her mother had taught her. Perhaps she knew that she wasn’t going to be around to teach me in my own kitchen so she made sure to do it in hers. Who knows? But I am forever grateful that I paid attention. I can make her entire turkey dinner without looking back at my notes. This time is when I really started to refine my skills in the kitchen. I became more confident. And in turn, I started to heal.
And when I was planning my Easter menu earlier this afternoon, I just knew that I would be including many of her recipes. I did it at Thanksgiving and it was comforting to have my mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law all represented at my table. They will be there again at Easter, as they always are. I’ll set my table and add some flowers to remind us that there is always a way back to center.
I am writing for the 2019 March Slice of Life Challenge