I am noticing that my blog posts are getting fewer and further apart, and I’m wondering what that is about. It’s not that I have not had a couple of special meals lately. Two weeks ago I had three of my oldest or rather longest standing women friends over, together with a second cousin of my husband’s and her husband for a delicious evening of food a la Ottolenghi, and lots of laughs and reminiscing and reconnecting. I noticed whimsically that we are all four drifting into our individual mid fifties shapes: physically as well as psychologically…But what connects us is a powerful dynamic of sharing a profession and a history from where and when our lives intersected more than 20 years ago.
The most recent lovely moments around my dining room table was just this past Sunday, Mother’s day. Both my sons were here for a change: they go in and out of cycles of not talking to one another, trying on their adult relationship with their adult one-anothers. As little boys they were close, despite the 4 year age gap. A favourite photograph of the two of them shows my firstborn, at around 5yrs old, “reading” a book to his brother in bed, their heads close together, their little pajama’d bodies under the same duvet. When they as adults have conflicts and issues with one another, I get anxious and have to fight the impulse to try and intervene to get them talking and liking and loving one another again.
For years we had a special ritual on Wednesdays: I did not schedule any patients, so that I could pick them up from school and take them to lunch and spend the afternoons with them. This Wednesday date translated, as they grew older, to midweek dinner with mom: where I would cook a nice meal and they and their friends and various girlfriends would end up around my table, always invoking a deep sense of family and connection.
It’s only very recently, in the last six months or so, that we had to let this ritual go. Both my sons work as restaurant managers, which means that they are not free in the middle of the week: even their days off do not match up any more. So it was quite wonderful that both of them could be here on Mother’s day evening. My oldest son brought his girlfriend with, and a bunch of flowers and chocolates for his mom, my youngest brought his wife and good wine for all of us: his stepdaughters, 8 yr old twin girls, had spent the day with me. I felt more like a mother than a grandmother, getting to know two little girls who are sweet and strong-willed at the same time, and also curious and full of life.
My stepson arrived with chocolates too: seemingly prescient of my recent sugar craving spell(could I be going into menopause? My ovaries were left in place when I had the hysterectomy..). So when I sat at the one end of the table looking across to my husband at the other end, it felt complete and right and I sighed with deep satisfaction at having this new family around.
We ate: kettle braaied chicken, potato salad: one with olive oil and rosemary, the other with mayonnaise; and a huge green salad. The twins and I, each armed with pair of herb scissors, picked four kinds of lettuce leaves all from my veggie patch. There was sweetcorn too, plumply and buttery bursting under teeth. Not haute cuisine. Even the mother’s day cake was shop bought, chosen by the twins for their mom, but the photographs show happy smiles, warm moments: what more can a mom ask for?
I still don’t work on Wednesdays: these days though my middle of the week day is reserved for days of house and home related activities like shopping for flowers and veggies, more recently finding the right fabric to reupholster a couch, just this past Wednesday finding the right shade of paint for my little consulting room which I plan to have at home, paging through recipe books planning a next dinner party, reading latest research about some psychology related topics I am interested in, writing in my journal, thinking deep thoughts and drinking sparkling wine with the nice dinners I now cook for my husband and myself on Wednesdays. Some sadness comes up when I realise that the Wednesdays of before are lost forever, but how happy I am for that which has been found in its place. And as I wrote that, I suddenly see clearly, for the first time, that in fact, nothing has been lost: just transformed. That makes me smile.