What’s been going on in my kitchen lately? A lot of dreaming along with quick looks of longing from me in the direction of my silent stand mixer. Warm August afternoons when I didn’t dare turn on the oven. Long days that turned quickly into nights of cool sheets gathered around my exhausted body.
Chatter of children growing older. Sons making reasonable arguments for more independence and freedom from their mother’s watchful eyes. And the youngest, the daughter, in a daring feat on the monkey bars miscalculating a brave leap across four bars and breaking her arm completely. A playground accident setting off a long night of ambulance rides and emergency rooms. An open fracture requiring surgery at four am and a three-day stay in a children’s hospital. Casted from her hand to her shoulder in mid-July. A summer of swimming and soccer ends abruptly, becomes one of inside art projects, card games along with her intermittent melt-downs ending in tears.
Imprisoned in fiberglass, she shouts
And rubbing it hard back and forth against the kitchen table where I sit trying to describe something I had eaten recently for the magazine, she rages, “I want this off!”
And the boys, the 10-year-old and the 14-year-old talking over her, at me, telling me that they are leaving, heading off somewhere to ride their bikes.
The door slams shut. I don’t think I heard what they said–where they were going. But now my broken 8-year-old has climbed into an awkward pile upon my lap. And I rock her while looking for a place against my body where I might keep her arm safe.
Why didn’t I make something in the kitchen with her? In all that time we spent together in the cool house? I don’t know. I thought about it. But this summer, comfort didn’t come in the form of creating meals together. In moments of calm, it came in swirls of ice cream and rainbow sprinkles.