I knew the time was coming; I just didn’t know when. Sure enough – yesterday. Right there in the middle of the grocery store in front of all of the spices.
So let me preface this by telling you how great a cook my mom was. My mom was such a great cook that I was severely delayed in learning how to cook myself. Yes, I could cover the basics – spaghetti, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pork chops or chicken with shake and bake and yep, a pretty good stir-fry, but the rest of it – not so much.
During the last few years of caregiving for mom, she couldn’t cover the distance of grocery shopping as it was too much for her. So I did all of the cooking, menu stuff and grocery shopping myself, which isn’t so much to say “oh poor me” but it was a little more lonely not having her with me.
Initially, when she had gone with me, I used to ask her a ton of questions about cooking which she answered offering additional suggestions and ideas. It was always fun to have her with me. And she loved talking about cooking and everything she’s learned along the way. But these last few years, she didn’t come as she was tired and due to a few too many surgeries on her legs for Basel cell melanoma type stuff, she had trouble walking.
And yes, there were times when we were together that she would give me the “are you kidding me??!” glare. Like when I asked her how many ounces are in a cup. She was clearly not pleased with this question and gave me “the glare”. As we stood there looking at each other, it slowly occurred to me that she was not going to tell me. So right there in the middle of the aisle, I grabbed my phone and asked: “Hey Siri, how many ounces are in a cup?” And when the voice from my little black box of wonderful information said “Susan, there are 8 ounces in a cup.” my mom shook her head and said, “I think we’re all in trouble”.
But the other 97% of the time, we had wonderful conversations about cooking; and her information and wisdom were always appreciated.
Yesterday, I found a really great recipe for white chicken chili. I thought I would make it for when Scott is here so that if he was hungry when he got here, it would already be made and ready to go. So I made my list, hopped in the car and went to the grocery store.
As I approached the spice aisle I started looking for the cracked black pepper that the recipe calls for. I thought to myself “why? what the heck is the difference between cracked black pepper and regular pepper and why does it even matter? Is anyone going to notice the difference and is it really going to affect a whole crock pot of chili?” So I grabbed my phone and started dialing.. 401.. 849.. and then I looked at my phone and remembered that mom had died; and then came the tears.
As I continued to stare at my phone, I suddenly felt like I was headed for the b.u.c. (the big ugly cry), so I called Regina. “hey quick question..” I said. “okay,” Regina said – and then all of the questions about cracked black pepper followed. I know for sure this is probably not the question she was expecting, but the cool thing about Regina and many of my other buds are that they have a way of answering questions in a grounding way with the same similar insight and wisdom that mom would have.
This is not going to be an easy journey.