This is how our table looks most evenings. Our older children don’t live at home any more. (Miss you, Matt and Amy!) Our youngest is in his last year of high school and usually works four nights a week. (Miss you too, Evan!) We now face the challenge of turning recipes built for five or more, into recipes built for two.
I have to admit, this has been a struggle for me. It’s a challenge from a cooking perspective (I only need 1/8 tsp of seasoning? That’s just CRAZY talk!) but mostly, it’s been a struggle of my heart. I miss the hectic days of rehearsals, wrestling meets, soccer practice, football games… Time has gone so quickly. Our nest, while not empty, is much quieter now.
The memories, traditions and dishes we built as a family, are changing. Some days are harder than others, but that’s ok. Just like my kitchen, life is not perfect. I miss my children. Holidays make me sad now. They are lonely. We spent Halloween by ourselves this year and didn’t hand out candy. It was weird! I mean, where has time gone? I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday when they were all under ten years old and tearing the house apart…
Just like changing family traditions, cooking traditions and habits are hard to change too! I still cook for five and we end up freezing the rest. If there is a natural disaster, we’ll be able to eat for weeks from my freezer. It is nice to have dinners done, but I really need to learn how to cook for two again. I love cooking dinner every night, not choosing something from the freezer or picking up dinner because we don’t feel like cooking! With that in mind and a determination not to be a Sad Sara, I ordered two new cookbooks: “The Everything Cooking For Two Cookbook” and Betty Crocker’s “Just the Two of Us.” The mailman delivered them today. They both have tips and tricks for adjusting recipes and cooking styles to smaller portions. The sad part of my heart doesn’t want to look at them. My heart still wants three little kids in footsie pajamas sneaking down the hallway on Christmas morning to see if there are gifts under the tree.
I do know there is an upside to these changes. We have three gorgeous adult children who make us proud every single day. As for us, we have those new cooking challenges to master! Don’t worry, I’ll be able to look at the cookbooks without crying soon enough. I’m excited to see what we can create! I am not sure I’ll ever be able to bake for two though. That may always be a “bake and share” situation. Another upside? My husband and I have more time alone together. We have new traditions to start, new places to discover! We have time to travel and explore this wild, wonderful world. We might even have time for a bubble bath!