It's been a very long time since I've had to cook for only two people. Life has changed with the Boy moving out on his own, though he still comes up 2-3 times a week to see us, to have dinner or see a movie. It's nice.
Still. Most nights I'm cooking for two. We're feeling our way through this new phase in our lives, and in some ways it's like being newlyweds. If hubby wants to walk around naked after a shower, he can do that without peeking around the shower curtain to make sure the doors are closed. If I want to nap after work, no one is wondering when dinner will be on the table. In fact, if I don't want to cook, we'll eat a sandwich or something.
Though I prefer fresh food, there are some pretty cool new things out there for small families like ours. Tonight we had a dinner that was all in one bag. It was "restaurant quality" orange chicken, and honestly? It did taste like we had Chinese takeout (but much less expensive). In 10 minutes, I put microwave-steamed rice, orange chicken, and a side of corn on the table -- and I got my after work nap, too. Not bad.
I pointed out the convenience of this meal to my hubby and said, "I guess they're starting to cater to --"
"Old, childless people?" he chuckled.
"No, silly. Couples. Though they probably had young couples in mind...still works!"
While dinner was going, I popped an organic apple pie into the oven, so after dinner we had a steaming slice of that. Now we're relaxing with the dogs and our laptops. It's not a bad life.
I read a lot of your blogs, the ones of you with young children or teenagers, and I get to enjoy your children through your eyes. One of you I have met in person, getting to hold your children's hands; that was precious, truly. There is something so special about having the affection of a child. There was something wonderful about raising my own. But I thought I would have a harder time with the kids being gone. Turns out, it's not so bad.
Grocery shopping, certainly, is different. Meals are different. Laundry is very different. Sometimes hubby will run out of socks and I end up running a very small load, whereas before, we had tons of white socks and underwear to put into a single load a week. Our gas bill has dropped, as has our electric bill -- even with both of us working from our home offices right now. So many concrete changes.
And yet it is wonderful when our son comes to visit us every week. Last night he was in the area for his friend's birthday party, which coincided with their Tuesday night game night at Borders. We got there just as he was tearing into the presents and just before we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him. We shared a little bit of sweets with them and warmed ourselves with a coffee before venturing back out into the frigid wind. He didn't let us get away without his signature bear hugs, though. Unfazed by people watching, he gathered us each, in turn, into his big grasp. His friends at the tables, ranging in age from teenaged to middle-aged, smiled at us.
Only an hour had passed since I'd finished having a good, hard cry over my daughter. She had called twice yesterday: once sober, once...not so much. She's deeply in denial over her behavior and her situation. Things aren't going well, but I am learning, through my 12-step program, not to get in between her and her consequences. Until she hits rock bottom, she won't face what she's done to her life. She needs to be back on her meds, but she chooses to self-medicate instead. She is in hiding--from what, we don't exactly know. And every day my phone rings over and over with creditors calling, trying to track her down, and I can honestly say that I have no idea where she is. I really don't. I know what state she's in, but that's all I know. It's difficult to be her mother, never knowing if she's okay, never knowing where she is. The whole ugly story is so complicated, but it all boils down to mental illness. And there are some things only God can fix and that only God can lead her to.
So my son's hug felt particularly good to me. My tears had dried, and my hubby and I had shared a quick bite of soup and sandwiches at Panera Bread before going to Borders. I reveled in that big warm hug by a boy that makes his momma proud.
I'm still hurting from that phone call with my daughter, but life goes on. I'm in a new routine now. Work, gentle naps to keep the headaches at bay, dinner with my soulmate, quiet evenings enjoying our slower rhythms.
Cooking for two isn't bad at all.
Peace - D