What do we do when we face a world that isn't the one we planned for? What do we do when our brief moments of joy are robbed? What do we do when accidents happen? I don't know. I don't know what we do. But I know what I've done. I've given myself a little more grace. I've reached out for love. I've reached out for guidance. I've reached out for therapy. And I've celebrated the mundane accomplishments I used to take for granted. A shower. A made bed. And a roasted chicken.
I think the trust I'm trying to build back up with myself is also translating to some moments in the kitchen. Usually out of necessity to adapt, like in the instance of this sort of chicken picatta. Instead of panicking I simply remembered what chicken piccata is. I mean, I think I did. This is at least close. And, honestly, if it's not chicken piccata, it's still delicious.
Sometimes the days fly by and I'm laying in bed at 11 at night like "What just happened? Who are those giant little people who were sitting at my dinner table? Am I paying enough attention? Am I giving them enough?" But last weekend, we did it. We had one of those days that I hope lives in the yellow halls of their childhood memories forever.
Only the best, most wonderful, most simple pork chops known to man. Only the incredible pork chops the require three ingredients and should never be eaten with anything other than roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes. Only the pork chops covered in that amazing gravy that is the actual epitome of what your childhood tasted like.
What has lasted in her absence is what often seems to last: Food. Her perfect, perfect Salmon Soufflé. Now, because both Aunt Sue and Mamaw are beyond us, I can say what I'm about to say, without fear of an uprising. Aunt Sue's Salmon Soufflé wins. It is the winner of a life-long feud: Mamaw's Salmon Loaf or Aunt Sue's Salmon Soufflé?
I remember reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Coney Island Mind on the dock of my grandparent's summer home in Okoboji, Iowa one summer a lifetime ago. One of the last summers I had before obligation became year round.
Dad wasn't perfect. He was good. He was a good person. He did good for others. He saw people. He loved people. And he often surprised people with quiet thoughtfulness. He was a savior. He was a confidant. He was a vigilante for your individuality in the middle of the night. He always wanted to curate an experience.
When I'm afraid of or uncomfortable with certain things, it's generally because I lack understanding. When I push myself past that initial fear or discomfort, I am always pleasantly surprised.
As spring creeps its head around the corner, the ground begins to loosen, the birds begin to return, winter dies. This winter seems to have lasted a year. But I feel apprehensive, yet renewed hope for a day, just on the other side of now, where I'm hugging my brother or strolling my daughter through the zoo. A day when I can go on a date with my husband or laugh in a movie theatre with my son.
It was one of the most important things Dad ever said to me. And in moments when I've struggled to meet a challenge, if I harken back to that moment and that success, I succeed again.