As incredibly rewarding as it has been, transitioning into the role of a parent for the last two years has been challenging in ways that never would have occurred to me. There are things I miss that I might never get back (my body, which was about a buh-zillion times nicer than I ever thought it was). There are also things I miss that are slowly coming back (sleeping in past 7 AM every morning). And then there are the things that, at times, still feel incredibly out of reach.
With this kitchen remodel, we've spent the last two weeks eating gross pre made/pre packaged food. Not only are we not accustomed to this lifestyle, but seeing as I'm well into my thirties, my body seems to strongly reject the idea of a meal that isn't freshly prepared. In other words, I've basically felt like shit since the day we took down our first kitchen cabinet.
Craving something that isn't accompanied with microwave or toaster oven instructions, I decided to take Cheech out to dinner last night. We stopped by what might be my favorite Oakland restaurant for a sausage rice bowl and some Thai palm juice. Perhaps the chefs just happened to be totally on point, or maybe my belly was beyond thrilled to be filling up with REAL food that didn't happen to be a pb&j, but my standard order was miles better than I ever remember it being before. I so badly wanted to sit and truly enjoy my perfect meal, but as I was quickly shoveling spoonful after spoonful into my mouth, I came to the realization that I probably haven't taken the proper time to enjoy ANY meal since Cheech was born.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of living with a little one, meals tend to be one of the first aspects of your old life that simply fly out the window. The first year of being a new mom was such a blur. Between night wakings, unstable [baby] feeding schedules, scattered naps, and clearly having no clue what I was doing, I ate when I could and as fast as I could. Toddlerhood comes with a whole new set of issues that also tend to constantly interfere with mealtime. We may all sit and eat together, but seeing as she's a pretty high energy kid, that amount of time we actually take to sit is quite minuscule. So when we eat, we rush. Gone are the days of two hour meals filled with conversation and honest appreciation for good food. Instead, we often inhale our food while singing our ABCs, making funny faces, and playing with sticker books if we happen to be at a restaurant. It's not ideal, but I know that it's all another segment of the parenting process.
Happily, I know that those days aren't gone forever. There will be some point where I won't be wondering if Cheech is on the verge of a meltdown because she's been in one place for way too long, and is ready to bolt. There WILL. So until then, I'll be patient. One of the many stupendous things about good food is that it will always be around. And besides, all those table side kid's song sessions have done wonders for my singing voice. Or, at least I think they have.