Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines for the birds

I think most parents assume that someday something will magically bring their children back home to visit once the flock flies the nest. Evidently, food is the trick for my grown birds.

I'm known for being a low-key sabbath fare sort of mom. When B— was born in 2005 and I was suddenly caring for four little people on my own, I devised a quick, please-all after-church meal that became a tradition for the next ten years. Our dinners featured tunafish sandwiches, or PB&J, or Turkey-bacon BLTs. I regularly served these with baby carrots and fresh grapes, and while our table might never be mistaken for resplendent, my kids grew accustomed to lively banter and familial silliness as we shared our repast.

These days, the crockpot frequently features on the Sunday menu. Last week I served onion-soup chicken, roasted potatoes, baked carrots, and rolls made from Rhodes dough. Prep time: 20 minutes. Today I served teriyaki chicken in glaze over white rice and Asian stir-fried veggies, plus delicious red velvet Valentines cupcakes I ordered from Mr. PNU's cousin. Prep time: 25 minutes.

They begin flying back to roost at 6 o'clock. The table is set, the family gathered round, and the meal heartily consumed. Then, as I stack dishes and wipe the table clean, my oldest son and oldest daughter dismantle the ornaments from the Christmas tree partridge and all, my youngest daughter serenades us on guitar, and my ten-year-old flits from one sibling to the next like a hummingbird to fading summer flowers. Boisterous laughter. Rollicking jokes. Adjacent heads on adjacent shoulders, and the light outside fades to foggy shadow. The beds at other addresses call, and they fly away, again and again. I learn to praise the fleeting togetherness hours within my home, the shells of simplicity, of food and love, and the affectionate fare that continues to feather my nest on Sunday afternoons.

No comments:

Post a Comment