Monday, January 05, 2009

Recipe for Love

Blend equal parts joy and pain; fold in a pinch of courage. Pour into an open heart. Store at room temperature.

We had a new salad several times when the kids were here for Christmas. It has a garlicy, lemony, peppery dressing that Katie especially likes, and she can make it in her new Magic Bullet. Total bonus, because she loves that Magic Bullet. The day after she got home, she asked me to email the recipe. Even bought red wine vinegar for it, which means my little Food Network junkie now has five kinds of vinegar in her pantry.

The salad was such a hit that I decided to add it to Katie's cookbook/scrapbook. Picking a picture for the page cracked my heart open another smidgeon.

My first thought was to use a picture of Katie and Craig wearing hideous Christmas sweaters and horrible hats they bought at Goodwill as a joke. So far, I haven't included any pictures of Craig, but he's seeming more and more like part of the family. As I considered the pros and cons—the only real con being how hard it would be for her to throw away the page if they break up—I realized the question was moot.

We first made the salad for our dinner with N, the night Katie met her birth grandparents. The loving thing to do is use a picture from that night. The cookbook is meant to be a record of her life. N and her family are now part of that life, and they belong in its pages.

Some tiny, ugly part of me says no, shrieks orders to build a barb-wire fence around what's precious, stack bricks and stones to defend "my" territory. The cookbook is ours, mine and Katie's. I don't have to let anyone else in.

Except I do. Wanting the best for my daughter means opening the doors of my heart to all who love her, all she loves. Including pictures of her dad's family in the original pages wasn't easy, either, but it was right. So is this.


Most things get easier with practice. I sure hope this open-hearted thing is one of them.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

You'd think doing the "right" thing would get easier...

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Didn't mean that to sound sassy - I really mean it. You'd think it would get easier. Why is it that it doesn't?

Nancy said...

You continually amaze me with your grace. I don't know if I could do the right thing as easily as you do! No I'm sure I could not. Kate is so very, very lucky.

Jerri said...

It isn't easy, Nancy. It is so not easy. And I could use some other picture from Christmas and it wouldn't be a big deal and no one else would ever know I'd even thought of this.

But I would know.

I struggle. And argue with myself. And stomp around the house like I'm mad at someone only there's no one to be angry with but myself.

Eventually, I always come back to the same thing: my job isn't merely to love my children but to model love for them.

From your blog, I know you accept that challenge, too. The details are different, but the goal is the same.

George said...

...not merely to love, but to model love! You are a wise person.

Go Mama said...

As I see you struggling with this, I also see you yearning towards openness and acceptance, even if it takes a pair of pliers or, um, salad tongs to do so.

Speaking of sour grapes, (hehehe), I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess the 5 kinds of vinegar in Katie's pantry just because I love this sort of challenge:

-red wine vinegar (duh, you said that)
-apple cider vinegar (a classic)
-white distilled (not just for pickles and hard-boiled eggs, it also cleans and deodorizes brilliantly)
-Balsamic vinegar (for that rich, tartly sweet taste)
-rice wine vinegar (for all things asian)

Coming from one who has 10 vinegars in her pantry, iIt would be 11 but I am fresh out of champagne vinegar. In addition to the 5 above, I also have 2 types of rice wine vinegar (seasoned and unseasoned/natural), 2 types of balsamic (aged and non-aged commercial), a lovely sherry vinegar La Posada de Jerez from Spain, a deep Chinese Black vinegar, and a crock of homemade red wine aging on some old vinegar skins.

Oops, I forgot to mention the lovely french classic, tarragon vinegar, with the sprig of fresh tarragon floating in the bottle.

Cheer up know what they say about lemons...well, the same could be said for grapes!

Go Mama said...

BTW, nothing you do or don't do from this point on will take away all the years of love and togetherness you shared. You gave her the foundation, the base from which all else grows. Can't take that away from you. No matter who comes trudging in and out of her life.

Celebrate your gift to her.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

How beautiful that you are able to put words to what you are feeling in this evolutional time. You are doing the right thing, yet you are being true to yourself, as well. The cookbook is such a wonderful gift.
Happy New Year..

Michelle O'Neil said...

I love how you share your humanity with us. Your honesty is comforting.

It is important to model love, and it is loving to honor your true feelings. You are doing a great job Jerri.


Deb Shucka said...

Choosing love, choosing to listen to your heart, choosing to do the hard thing over and over and over - these define the woman that I've come to know you to be. The result is a model of graciousness, kindness and integrity.

I wish I could help you feel how incredible you are. I wish I could express to you how inspired I am by you.


Amber said...

...when I grow up, I want to be JUST like you.