My little boy is in a bed now, the crib unbolted and packed away in the basement. Just now, I checked on him in the night-dark, his arms flung up and out, his head tilted to one side on the pillow, his room bathed in the orange light of his Cars lamp.

Change creeps up on you. One day, he just didn’t want to sleep in the crib anymore. It was distressing to be put there, and so he slept the night in the pitch-black of my room, beside me in the king-size bed, until at 3 a.m., he thundered to the carpet. It was time, his time to move to the next square.

I am learning to use what I have to make something flavorful. Tonight, I broiled the softest lamb chops, a gift from the packing plant I visited yesterday with the Hiller’s meat director. Dotted with cracked black pepper and Lawry’s salt and drizzled with soy sauce, they sizzled to a golden brown, the fat glistening and bubbly.

I boiled quinoa in water and diced celery, shallots, garlic, dates, slivered almonds to saute in olive oil. Mixed it all together, and it was sublime.

Slivered a sweet potato into strips, sliced carrots length-wise, cut an onion into half-moons, everything roasted at 410 degrees with balsamic vinegar. Autumnal sweetness.

At the table, I blessed my children as I do every Friday night. The candlelight danced against the red wall like light gleaming off a disco ball, a sparkle in a smiling eye. The room was alight with energy and breath.

The recipes, impromptu, thrown together by virtue of what was left in the refrigerator. I made a sensuous, delightful meal from what was already there. Nothing gone to waste, no forgotten flavor shoved to the back of the cold shelf.

I don’t always do this – but now, I can’t imagine why not. Use what I have to create meaning and flavor. Use what I have – it is enough.

Although I sent Asher to bed early as a punishment, he crept downstairs before 9, while the candlelight was flickering low against the shiny candleholder cups. Maybe I’m a softie or maybe it was ok to let the punishment leave its mark and move on.

I beckoned to him in the low light. In his red and blue cowboy pajamas, my eldest son climbed over my legs and nestled against the inside corner of the couch. Outside, three people passed in the dark rain. House lights emanated reflections of droplets yet to evaporate.

All was quiet. A few minutes later, he climbed off the couch, headed for the bathroom.

“Sheesh,” my son exclaimed. “It’s really dark. Walk me upstairs?”

I slid my hand into his and ascended the soft steps. When he was done, I thought he’d return to his room. But soon, he was beside me again, his breathing turning even and rhythmic.

My parents often say I shouldn’t let my children sleep beside me. Why not? We are connected like this for such a short time.

In the shadows of the gloaming, I put my hand on my son’s warm leg, and was reassured by the thump-thump of a heartbeat coursing its way along. Invigorated by his presence.

No moment a mistake, and they all are so fleeting.


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