by Zinta Aistars
My son has a dry and clever wit, one-liners that come from who knows where and when you least expect them. Straight-faced, deadly serious, he arcs an eyebrow and lets another one-liner fly, until his sister is nearly bent over with belly laughs and begging for mercy. A grin teases at the corner of his mouth. His eyes are full of mischief and sparkle.
I sit back and share the glow, watching them. These are my moments. These are the times when I consider my life behind me, all the winding paths we three have traveled together and separately, the trials, the tribulations, the obstacles overcome, the hard challenges faced and beaten. None of it has been easy, but more times than one might expect have turned fun. I wouldn’t trade my little family for anything. No riches outshine this, no career replaces this, no other love greater.
I sit back and watch them, and my heart is warm with joy, simmering sweetly at peace. I sit back and let my eyes love them and know, if nothing else, here has been my reason for this roller coaster of a life on earth.
Funny, how when I was very young, barely into my twenties when I rocked my first baby, this blonde little girl prone to giggles, then 22 months later rocked her sibling, dark-haired boy, quiet and intent, I swore I wouldn’t live for my children. I would die for them, a thousand times, but not live for them, I said in youthful defiance … and then, that’s just what I did. I died a thousand deaths and I lived a thousand lives, all for them, and I grew ever richer from what both have given back to me.
I have done nothing greater than to be their mother, and nothing else I ever do will compare.
“Mish mash!” My blondie nearly squeals.
I couldn’t resist. Mish mash, this recipe-less meal, was our standby through our long years of struggle. Yet it became our favorite, never the same dish twice. Mish mash was what we called my throw-together meals of whatever I could find on a nearly empty pantry shelf and on the nearly bare shelves of the refrigerator. Sometimes potatoes, sometimes rice, other times pasta was the mainstay, with varied vegetables and different sauces. Maybe meat, maybe not. Somehow, it all came together into a tasty one-pot meal.
Tonight, I’ve brought out my biggest pan and am tossing in carved chunks of heritage turkey from the bird I roasted on Sunday … basmati rice and organic sweet corn … a mix of herbs and spices and plenty of the rich juices from the bird roasting yesterday. The two of them are already leaning over the big pan and taking in the aroma.