I had made a roast chicken dinner, with one of our big fat chickens, baby turnips from the garden, a few other delicious vegetables. Set the table.
And then there was only Thomas, Rose and myself.
It felt awkward. Like we had forgotten how to sit still around the table. Like we had forgotten how to make conversation on a Sunday afternoon. Just the three of us. When you have a family of five kids, plus many assorted friends and family, the table is often filled with ten, twelve plates. Not just holidays.
And then Philip died. And then we left the farm and interns and friends. And made a bunch of new friends. But then kids started graduating and moving away.
It is weird, adapting to new and different. Instead of homeschool and farm life, the kids public school and are involved in running and karate. Instead of homeschool and farm life, I am a single mom with several different off-site jobs, including the running of the little mill and bakery here.
Sometimes we gather in the kitchen at different times, grabbing whatever there is to grab, quesadillas and beans, and omelet, venison and a cream sauce, practically eaten out of the pan.
There is so much to be experienced around a supper table. And when one kid has a practice that ends at 5:45 and the other begins shortly after six and I get home exhausted and dirty, it is hard to make it happen.
So, I got rather teary eyed with said friend, and with the tears, made an intention in my heart. An intention to diligently work to make supper time happen more regularly in our house. Even if it means being a bit creative. And included in the intention was a great desire to read to the kids again, even if there are only two of them home these days and they are busy being a teenager and a preteen.
The world is hard. Their time left at home is short. I desire greatly for them to know attachment and emotional connection, and living off the farm makes that aspiration a lot more difficult.
But not impossible!
Yesterday we enjoyed gyoza and fried tofu and cabbage, in honor of the Asian New Year! And had young friends join us, and we all ate with chopsticks. We made our New Moon wishes. The other day we read a couple of chapters of our book, My Side of the Mountain, while the girls ate bowls of potato soup and I enjoyed broth from that Sunday dinner chicken. Tonight Nora made mac and cheese for herself and Rose and I ate leftover cabbage. Then we looked over the new edition of the Big Bend Gazette and I showed them this month's food column, written by their world famous mom (HA!). Rose and I enjoyed remembering last week's Asian Slaw recipe made with farmer's market kohlrabi and beets. And Nora suggested I write a book.
One thing led to another, and next thing you know, the girls and I are sitting on the edge of my bed, scrolling through this blog, looking up early February posts, from every year since February 2008.
I read out loud. They listened and murmured and laughed. Nora gave me the best compliment a writer could ever receive, telling me that she loved my writing, and that it was interesting and she liked to read it, and thought that other people would enjoy a book written by me. And she should know, since she reads good books all the time, every day! I didn't tell them the posts were unedited, and grammatically rough, and that it was primarily therapy, and that they and about eight other people are the only ones who really care to read these silly musings! (that would include you, mom!)
We scrolled through history, them reading over my shoulder, listening as I read the words with my voice. I couldn't help choking up as we remembered Zackie, our cat. We shivered a bit as we remembered the snow and the cold of the farm. It was hard to believe I had little Rose out there learning to milk when she was how old??? We remembered Julie, the fairy godmother, taking the kids to DC. We remembered my post written in Gopalpur, India. We remembered baby goats and GGGRACE with growly moms who are cold and tired of winter. Crepes in the backyard. Scorpions at campsites.
Yesterday was the new moon. On new moons these days I like to make my wishes as we enter a new phase of the calendar. One of my wishes was that we would know contentment in our family. That we would have emotional connections. That we would remember who we were and grow into the bigger who we are.
I feel rich beyond description, and more grateful than I could ever write for the life I have. Setting that intention has brought us back to some sweetness we truly needed. How lucky I am. I love my jobs. I love my kids. I see miracles most every day, in one weird form or another.
Oh, and we have bunnies, in the backyard, in a hutch behind the chicken coop. Petunia has pulled her fur to make a fluffy lining for her little nest box. Black Beauty has not, but maybe tomorrow? The Amerecaunas keep flying over the chicken yard fence and ate the new broccoli and brussel sprouts I set out. Nothing new there, since that seems to happen most years for the last seven or eight years! The Johnson grass in the vineyard continues to be my guru, and I wonder if maybe this week? Next month? I will try the puff pastry recipe Holly gave me on Facebook the other day. The sun is clear and bright, and with the troubles that come our way, the heartbreaks and the loneliness, we are given such a sweet cup.