Love in the Little Things

I started this morning off with the deluxe edition of Superunknown, still on my Soundgarden kick. After listening to Telephantasm I realized that I liked mostly the stuff off of Superunknown – which makes sense. That’s the Soundgarden I grew up on. I started off my day blasting the shit, it’s a wonder that I didn’t wake my kids. They’re used to their mom’s loud music though after all these years, which is probably why they can sleep through a tornado.

I felt itchy today. It occurred to me early on that father’s day is Sunday, and any day that involves remembering and missing my dad throws me for a loop. It explains the ‘off’ feeling I’ve been getting all week. Even if I don’t fully realize it, I subconciously seem to know when these days are coming up and my world is a wreck.

I had come across an old Facebook post about Dad that I’m turning into a blog post, so on my lunch I worked on that a little.

I can’t sugar coat it – it still takes my breath away sometimes. It’s definitely not the same as the first year, but it’s still a painful wound, the fact that he’s gone. It will probably never heal fully. I’ve come to accept that open wound as a part of who I am, now. Sometimes it’s open and ultra-painful. And others it’s just a slight ache. But it’s always there, waiting for something to open it wide open again.

So, this itchy feeling had me not wanting to be still. I paced the office a lot while on the phone today, I smoked a lot, I tried to keep busy. At the end of the day I decided that with both boys gone, I didn’t want to be home. So I text Sophia to see if she wanted company. I literally drove 45 minutes each way to sit at her house for an hour and fifteen minutes. I drove as much as I visited. Oh well. It made me feel better.

We talked about a variety of things. It ventured around to my writing. Sophia reads now and again, but not all the time. So she was unaware that I had stumbled across an old draft. I was telling her I was starting to finally research how to get published, what I had found, the steps I need to take.

“I just don’t know what to put into a book. . . ” I told her, lighting a cigarette. We were sitting on her back patio, each with a beer. The sun was on the other side of the house and we were in the shade. “I mean, a couple people have suggested memoirs, which is kind of what I blog. . .”

“Yeah, but. . . then what?” she asked. “I mean, you write the memoirs. . . and then what are you going to write?” It was then that I told her about the draft that I had found.

“I mean, I lost the final copies of two books when I moved back to Hillsdale before Matt was born. What I found is the rough draft. I have maybe the full rough draft of this one, and I think the beginning of the other. I was sixteen. I don’t even know if they’re good enough to salvage. And I haven’t written fiction since then. It’s been twenty years.”

“Well. You don’t know if you don’t try,” she told me pointedly. “And if you don’t try? Shame on you.” and she looked at me in that direct way she has, that says ‘bitch, you better listen.’

Fucking Sophia. Leave it to her. She’s probably the only person that can put a foot in my ass and get away with it.

Because we all know she’s fucking right. I preach about taking chances, and I’m over here dragging my feet.

I drove home, a headache brewing from not eating all day. I picked Matthew up, picked food up, and came home. I immediately found my oldest, comfiest sweats – I mean, we’re talking the waste band is ripping off, they’re way too big, I’ve had them for a decade easy. I’m probably gonna see if Grandma can sew them. I love them that much. I needed the comfort. I found my ‘F-bomb mom’ shirt that a friend made last year, and here I sit, writing my quote post faithfully, Soundgarden playing.

If the headache goes away, I’ll pull out the draft.

For now, the quote.

“The stomach carries the heart, and not the heart the stomach.” Miguel de Cervantes

This book just throws me the most random shit, I swear.

I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that this is a fancy way of saying that the way to show you care for someone is by feeding them.

See what I mean about the language barrier with classic books? This is from Don Quixote, which my mother loved. I never read it. I believe it to be good, because Mom said it was. But I took one look at that book and said, “nope!”

So I could be completely wrong, but we’re gonna go with my interpretation.

I mentioned not too long ago what a hungry child Matthew was. He went from milk to baby cereal and milk to baby food to adult food rather fast. The child was ravenous, loving everything – even the baby food spinach I bought. People had comments about me buying it. I wanted to introduce as many foods to him as possible, and I wasn’t afraid to ‘waste’ the money to see what he liked and didn’t. As he got older I transitioned him to toddler microwave meals, and surmised that instead of spending the money on the gerber toddler meals I could get essentially the same thing in the dollar section of microwave meals, as long as I was careful with ingredients and size of the food, avoiding allergy triggers and small pieces he could choke on. He ate them fairly well. By this time it was just me and Matthew B., and I was warming up these meals for him and living off of food from work for myself – I worked at Subway at the time, and was able to eat for free while on my shift.

I had been playing a little bit with cooking by this time. When Mom passed away I found a large ziploc bag stuffed with recipes that she had clipped from various magazines, and ones she had written down from lord knows where. My mom was a phenomenal cook, and so while Matt was still a little baby I had hand written them all down onto index cards and put them in a recipe box she also had. Dad had shown me some basic stuff, but Mom was into more intricate meals, and her recipes were a testament to this. I had found that I was actually pretty good at cooking. This was before his father and I had split, and now with it just being me and a toddler, it hardly made sense to make intricate meals. So I ate sandwiches and he ate microwave meals, and the grocery bill was rather inexpensive.

On a whim one day, I wanted spaghetti. I hadn’t had it in ages, and it was a cool, fall day – the kind with the sun shining but that bite in the air that makes you crave comfort food. So I went out and bought the ingredients, and made it.

Matt was a good eater, but holy shit. He put away almost as much as I did, and he was only like two years old.

“Momma! Yummy!” he kept saying, and it made me feel amazing. I made this meal for my little hooligan, and it was healthy and he enjoyed it.

That was when I decided that I wasn’t going to do the microwave meal thing anymore. That was when I decided that I needed to cook for my child.

Pretty much ever since I’ve made meals for my kids. I experiment with different things, trying different combinations and ideas, while also throwing in some classics – roast, spaghetti, etc. I’m not above grilled cheese for dinner, or a frozen pizza. But I’ve always enjoyed the process of making a meal. Like a lot of the things I do, it distracts me from life – I have to concentrate on measuring and timing and mixing, I can’t think about the things that are irritating my soul.

I have fond memories of my family cooking, and meal times. And I want to give this to my kids, as well.

It’s one of the many ways I show my kids I love them. Taking the time to prepare a meal for them, sitting and talking with them about their day over dinner each night.

I quit on the quote post last night because the headache came to be so much that I couldn’t think straight. I downed motrin and melatonin and passed out for seven hours, and woke at 6am this morning to get my life together and finish this up.

Even though the book is throwing me curveballs in quotes, this was an important one, I think. It reminded me why I do what I do every day – to teach my kids about love. It may come in small ways, the cooking of a meal, listening to them talk – but they know they are loved, and that matters so much.

Happy Thursday. Look for meaning in the little things.

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