For all the people who judge, who are quick with their advice, telling me how to live my life, or how they’d live theirs if they were me, I say this: as much as I want a laundry room with wallpaper to match, with watercolor paintings of clothes pins and corsets, with canisters labeled "Color Safe Bleach," I still spend my Sunday nights eating charcoal-grilled wings beside my tots, watching Sesame Street, shouting, "Who’s going to hop? How do you hop? Can you hop like Mr. Noodle?" I spend my Sunday night planning the week’s menus. Except I’ve never been one of those people who can assemble a grocery shopping list (organized the way the store is), because things in my house always go bad. Instead, I spend my time planning special meals and moments that most likely won’t happen the way I’d planned. And I’m okay with that.
With a wing in one hand, and a tater tot in the other, I read Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Cookbook, wanting so much to spend a day (with grocery shopping, prep work, and actual cook time) making something special for my specials.
"Oooh, wouldn’t it be fun if this week we had a picnic with the taters, where we set up a tent and flashlights, and you and I roasted homemade marshmallows? Oh, speaking of which… actually, speaking of nothing, I really want to make them Creme Brulee. I bet they’d love that. Who doesn’t love things built by torch light? By the way, would it be worth it to you if I made you lobster rolls, or would you prefer to just go out for them?" That’s my night. Reading cookbooks, drinking frozen drinks, singing Annie songs to Lucas and Abigail, and watching James Blunt sing "Beautiful" on Sesame Street (except all the words have been changed to be an ode to a triangle).
Then I sing a song about feet to the rhyme of "Jingle Balls," thinking about how tomorrow I’ll try Hot Yoga for the first time in my life (hey, there’s so a connection! You do yoga barefoot!)
When I’m upstairs alone with Lucas, changing his diaper before bed, I whisper to him, "Lucas, may I ask you a serious question?" He blinks. "Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to stop seeing other people." He smiles. "I just wonder if you know, since you’re so much closer to the beginning of life than I am… you know, magically those bigger life issues might still be with you… maybe they haven’t washed off you yet. Well, anyway, baby Lucas, can you tell me… what’s the most important thing in life?"
He smiles this enormous grin, all toothy, his chin pointy like mine. "Good bread," he says. "Good pan." And tears start to stream down my face. "Good bread?" I repeat. And he nods his head and smiles. Then I smile, and think. "Oh baby, just wait until you taste mama’s creme brulee."