It's the first Sunday morning of the kids' holiday break, and Weston is away at a sleepover. This means that Emery and I have the house to ourselves in the early hours. I think (hope) that on some level Emery misses his little brother when he's gone, but wisely, Emery sees Weston's absence primarily as a good opportunity to catch up on "Mommy time." And of the boys, Emery seems to be the one who misses me more acutely these days.
I've been back at work full-time about nine months - after eight years as a full-time parent - and we're all still adjusting. Sometimes I'll glance at the clock on my computer in my office around afternoon carpool time, and a pang of - what - regret? loneliness? missing out? - stabs me in the middle, sharp as any knife in my drawer. I've learned not to show tears at work, but they spring out at unexpected times.
It's only a few hours each day when I used to be with my kids and now am not, but those are such important hours. I loved listening to the chatter in the back of the minivan on the way home from school as the kids dissected the events of the day. Now, when I get home just in time to make dinner and ask them about school, the answers come short and flippant: "It was fine, pretty good, okay, nothing much." They're over it by that point, no need to repeat or rehash on their side. I understand that completely, but sometimes I say: I know you told Daddy already, but I wasn't there. Tell me. Tell it again. Emery is good about it. Weston has less patience. It's normal. But it still feels like a loss.
Weston's social life these days rocks, and he's often away at a friend's house overnight. I'm so glad for him, but oh, I miss him when he's gone on the weekend. To keep from pining for my baby, and because I know it's not going to last forever, I savor the time alone with Emery. His "Mommy time" requests often involve the kitchen. Last night he asked "Can we make a special breakfast tomorrow?" It took me a minute to figure out what that should be, until I remembered the tomatillos and guacamole in the refrigerator. And then I knew: the scrambled eggs with tomatillos from Simply Recipes, written by the talented and thoughtful Elise Bauer. It's exactly his kind of dish: savory, flavorful, healthy, a touch exotic.
Emery takes after me in one important matter of the palate: Give him the choice between sweet or salty, and he'll always take salt. Protein or dessert? It's protein all the way. For Weston a special morning is chocolate chip pancakes with syrup and powdered sugar. Emery's treats always look more like dinner.
Emery reads a lot about food, and one day he was looking over my shoulder while I was catching on on the blogs in my reader. Elise's recipe was on my screen, and I saw his antennae go up. "We need to make this," he said insistently. "Soon." But weekends came and went, and "soon" turned into "someday." We made some interim versions - eggs with guacamole, eggs with hot sauce - but this was the first chance we had to make the recipe as it was originally intended.
Well, mostly as it was intended, anyway. We used green onions instead of yellow, and we left out the jalapeno. The avocado spread, a nontraditional guacamole I learned from Mirna, the boys' long-ago nanny, smoothed over the tangy tomatillos. Emery decided that next time he'd prefer the tomatillos be chopped more finely. But all in all, a huge hit. And a wonderful breakfast for two on a quiet morning at home. Thanks, Elise.