He launched his unconventional life on a wing and a prayer, eschewing four walls and a lectern in favor of experience and musicianship as his educational institution. My husband, Kevin, and I have patiently extended love and support as he has weathered employment and economic ups and downs on his journey to adulthood.
Along the way, the once Hot Pocket-kid has surprised us by acquiring culinary skills and expanding his food interests and appetite. As a fussy 9-year-old, he was disappointed to be served homemade mac-n-cheese instead of his beloved boxed version. As a teen, he unknowingly ate more vegetables than he realized while we quietly served goulash over a bed of baby spinach and renamed chicken cacciatore “Chicken Geneva.”
Today, as a 26-year-old, he has not only learned to whip up catsup and mayonnaise from scratch, but has more than once successfully juggled the preparation of a full Thanksgiving meal for his friends. He takes pride in eating a wide variety of vegetables and cuisines and even chided us last fall for being unfamiliar with the wonders of jicama.
On his more recent visits, I’ve been delighted at his keen observations — asking about soup ingredients, sauté temperatures and sauce techniques. Since I often “wing it” for dinner, making the most of what’s on hand and seasoning as I go, he seems to know it’s best to question me in the moment.
This newfound common ground took another joyful leap forward last weekend, when our formerly flighty bird dropped by as we labored in the garden. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, he didn’t fly off to the wi-fi, he asked for gloves and offered to help!
It was good to work beside him and the afternoon flew by as we swapped stories and weeded, filling bucket after bucket of perennial greenery for the compost pile.
Before we were ready, he washed up, put his gloves away and flew off to his job with a wave and a “See ya!”
After that shock, now we’re the ones who need some rest and rejuvenation.