We curl up in the living room in the morning—me with a mug of yerba mate and her with a mug of soy milky frothy chocolatey coffee, and enjoy mother-daughter conversation for an hour or so. When we’ve exhausted every topic (well, almost, and only for the time being) I head to the kitchen to bake oatmeal cookies and bran muffins while she goes downstairs to tend to some things.
Later, I talk her into making banana bread with some of the many overripe bananas in the freezer and sit at the dining table so we can chat while she follows my mom’s recipe for the bread. I’m transported back to when my mom and I sipped cinnamon tea and chatted in my kitchen and, in a sense, she’s here with us through her recipe. It’s a sweet, sweet intergenerational thing.
I’ve waited decades for a simple afternoon like this. Oh sure, my daughter and I have had plenty of opportunities to sit and visit in our respective homes, but it’s different now. She lives here—in Kamloops and, for the time being, with us. There’s no rush to cram in as much as we can during a visit. The conversation is easy, though often about difficult things because that’s the world we live in these days.
While the banana bread bakes, we break out Bananagrams and she beats me again. And again. Makiya arrives home from school and asks “What’s that smell?” when she enters the house. (I love giving her the opportunity to come home to the smell of baking.) She grabs a few cookies and tells us a little (very little, because that’s the tween way) about her day. Gerry’s nose draws him in from the bedroom where he’s been lost in a book and suddenly it’s pleasantly hectic in the kitchen.
After a supper of African Sweet Potato Stew (which turns out not to be a favourite with Makiya, but she doesn’t complain) and naan, Gerry and Makiya take cleanup duty. Afterward, Gerry and I curl up to watch an episode of Lewis, Makiya heads downstairs to practice her lines for theatre, and Laurinda goes down to do something (I’m not sure what. And that’s as it should be.).
Predictably, I fall asleep partway through the TV program because I’ve been up since before 4 am, and the day winds down—earlier for the retirees than the young folks. It’s been a good and rich one and I go to bed content.
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Mudslides and floods were the news of the day here in British Columbia yesterday with widespread evacuations, communities flooded, and travelers stranded due to record-breaking rainfall. (Ironic, as we spent most of the summer praying for rain due to the forest fires.)
The main highway connecting us to the coast—and goods—is now closed and will be for weeks or months. In fact, all of the roads connecting us with the coast are now closed due to the situation.
In other kitchen-related news, I went to the grocery store this morning to buy a cabbage for something I was planning to make for supper and found empty shelves reminiscent of last year’s panic buying at the start of the pandemic.
The rollercoaster called life continues to take us on a wild ride of uncertainty. Thank goodness there are days like yesterday to help shore up our reserves to prepare us for whatever is on the horizon.
Many years ago, my doctor sent me to stress management classes and a phrase I’ve held onto since then is: The key to stress management is learning to build your physical and emotional reserves to prepare you to meet the next challenge.
If we didn’t realize it before, 2020/2021 has taught us that there’s always another challenge around the corner. May we learn to cultivate the things that strengthen us physically, emotionally, and spiritually as we navigate our way through these uncertain times.
I’ll take more kitchen days, please, served with a healthy portion of connection and conversation.