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Being realistic

January 1st, 2004 · 1 Comment

Yesterday the girls and I spent the morning going through a stack of old magazines. I don’t know why I’ve held onto these for so long. It wasn’t that long ago, I guess, that I had all kinds of ambitious plans for our home and garden, dreams for travels and trips, fantasies about furniture even. I have folders filled with ideas for kitchens and offices, everything from tile to architects, and stacks of articles with gardening design tips and pictures of perfect plants. Multiple colored files hold all the recipes I have clipped, from pot roast to sake shrimp, a tea party menu and Cinco de Mayo feast.

As I flipped through the magazines for the final time, I thought about how I am learning to be more realistic. I used to clip out any recipe that appealed to me. Sure I’ll try that one! Then I’d paste it into a notebook for safekeeping – I have three of these on the shelf above me, all filled with recipes.

But now I’m seeking to be more realistic. Am I really going to make “Crown Lamb Rack with Green Herb Couscous”? Or crab cakes with coulis? Somedays even putting a piece of salmon into the oven or pushing stir fry around a wok seems to be too much work! And boy, I’ve gotten a bad habit now – I never used to burn anything, I think, until I had three kids, and now it’s all I can do to keep supper from getting scorched 😉 I’m too tired or easily distracted to try to attempt anything gourmet anymore. I remember when I used to try to make dim sum from scratch, spending my (pre-kid) Saturday mornings creating dumplings and buns, forming seams and folding wrappers with my fingertips.

I’ve realized that where I am now, with three little children, is a season of life, with a beginning and an end. Someday, perhaps all too soon, I’ll have time on my hands, time to cook with my hands and make new recipes, even complicated ones that require an afternoon’s worth of planning and preparing.

But for now I need to be content with simple pleasures. I’ll try new recipes, sure, but they need to be manageable, something I can fix without a lot of fuss. Something not too spicy so the girls will eat it. Something that survives if it ends up as a leftover lying in the fridge for a day or two.

I’m trying to be more realistic about life right now in general. No more thinking I can go to the mall, shop at six stores, and make it back home, a 40+ mile round- trip, by lunchtime. No more staying up late and thinking I can get up early too. No more trying to squeeze more minutes out of the day, and ending up only squeezing the girls and myself.

No more keeping tons of magazines, hoping someday I’ll be able to give my walls a faux finish, or make a tile-topped table, weave ribbons into pillow covers. No more waiting for the day when I’ll rip out the lawn and invite a gang of my closest friends to plant hundreds of tulips instead (one of my favorite articles!), or install an entire stone terrace with waterfall in my front yard. Sure, I’ll try to do these things if I have time. But I won’t covet or long for what this season can’t give me. This season has its own fruit. And it is sweet indeed – better than any recipe :)!

Tags: journal

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Jan 16, 2004 at 11:02 pm

    Way to go, Julie!