Losing Chicken Carcasses and Perspective

Yesterday’s post caught you all up on the dramatic goings-on in the RRG house these days — in short, we took L. to the pediatrician because we suspected some problems, and the brief rundown of the result is:

1) She also suspects some problems;
2) She’s not one hundred percent sure what’s going on;
3) We’ve been referred to more people who will ask us about the suspected problems, so they can see if they also suspect a problem, and then hopefully give us an answer about the problems, which by that point in time will be no longer suspicion but in fact concrete reality.

It’s a lot to take in, on the Thursday of a full moon (I don’t ordinarily follow such things, but I happened upon a Facebook post about the full moon earlier, and I’m in just the kind of mood to blame everything on the lunar cycle).  I mean, the upshot is that no one, including myself, feels that whatever is going on with L. is unresolvable in some form, but it’s still scary and stressful and unsettling to realize that The Most Perfect Kid in the World is going to need some kind of help to get through things that Everybody Else’s Less-Perfect-Only-Because-They’re-Not-Mine kids can navigate relatively easily.  Overnight, we went from being the parents of two healthy, typically developing kids to being the parents of two healthy kids, one of whom is probably going to end up being a kid with a diagnosis, and the other of whom is typically developing, for a tiny maniac.  It’s just going to take some time to absorb.

Of course the lens through which I view L. can’t change, I realize, and he is absolutely the same exact child today that he was yesterday, the day before, and the day before.  His strengths are still his strengths, and his challenges are still his challenges.  And he’s fine, and he will be fine, as long as we do the things that need to be done to give him the extra help he will need.  As if to underscore this point for me, he did two things last night: 1) He came home from school absolutely obsessed with learning to cut with scissors, a skill he has never before cared to master; and 2) at about 7 p.m., as he sat in my lap cuddling, he tipped his head back to look at me upside-down and said “I want to make something with you.”

It warms my heart when L. says things like this — our time together in the kitchen is not always Rockwellian (witness the time he dumped half a jar of paprika into our dinner, and all over himself, because he thought the color was “so, so pretty, Mom”), but it’s always special.  I admit that I was having a hard time relaxing about the outcome of his appointment, so feeling his warm, solid little body snuggled into my lap and his bath-damp hair tickling my chin, and hearing him ask me to make something with him, was positively therapeutic.  L., as always, seems to know what we both need.

“What do you want to make?” I asked, and he shrugged.  “Just some food,” he responded.  “For my lunchbox.”

I had to think fast, but we marched into the kitchen and made a big batch of Granoli-o Crumble (which I’ve been craving lately, ever since trying it as a topping for a bowl of warm homemade applesauce).  He was delighted to wear his apron, which is embroidered with his name.  He was delighted to measure and pour and stir.  He was delighted to taste the maple syrup and sprinkle the cinnamon.  So I relaxed for a while, and I thought, Who cares about the doctor’s visit?

Until bedtime.  As soon as he was in bed, snoring away with one arm over his blankie and the other wrapped around Curious George, all the stress and misgivings of the day started to wash back over me.  Seriously, I’ve been working on a migraine for about three days now (no, it hasn’t abated yet, thanks), and I suddenly felt the weight of everything settle back onto me again and thought, in big neon-light letters, I NEED A NIGHT OFF.  But there was laundry to do and dishes to wash and lunches to pack and things to prep for tonight’s dinner, and a whole list of other stuff that really should have been at the top of my priorities, except that I was pretty sure if I acknowledged any of it my head would officially explode.

So I trudged downstairs, threw the laundry into the machine, and got back into the kitchen to have at it.  By 9 p.m., I was ready to pull out all the things I needed to get tonight’s meal prepped, but I couldn’t find the chicken carcass.  A look at the meal plan for the month reveals that we were supposed to be having chicken meatball soup tonight, for which I would logically need chicken stock, and in my pioneering spirit, I’ve recently developed a yen to MAKE my own stock rather than buy it at the store.  So I save my chicken carcasses and pop them in the freezer, and when I want to make stock, I pull one out and toss it in the slow cooker.  Except that last night, I couldn’t find a single stinking stupid chicken carcass.

I think “single, stinking, stupid” is probably a fair, if somewhat sanitized, transcription of how I was describing the missing carcasses by the time I’d ransacked both freezers — twice.  I was SURE there were chicken carcasses stashed away for stock.  I was POSITIVE.  They were HIDING from me.  Someone had TAKEN them or THROWN THEM AWAY.  And now I COULDN’T MAKE DINNER BECAUSE I COULDN’T FIND THE CARCASSES TO MAKE THE $@*#*&*&!*&!!*&@# ETC. STOCK.

Um.  Perspective Fail.

It was not a big deal.  Frankly, it was probably a happy case of serendipity, because after umpteen days of lovely fallish weather, Mother Nature has decided to treat us Rhode Islanders to a nice (hopefully final) blast of heat.  It’s nearly 80 degrees today, with no autumnal breeze, so it would hardly have been a good day for soup.  And obviously, I’m no stranger to kitchen ingenuity, so being faced with something as benign and utilitarian as a pound of ground turkey, and no immediate plans for its use, really should not have been paralyzing to me.

Clearly, I have recovered.  We’re having turkey burgers with sauteed mushrooms and crispy sweet potato rounds.  The kale I’d bought to put in the soup can be made into kale chips.  To borrow a page out of the book of popular vernacular: It’s All Good.  But goodness gracious, how quickly perspective disappears in the face of upheaval.  I’m exhausted, mentally, emotionally, and physically, and while I’m more than able to keep cooking and planning and “making stuff” with and for my family, it just doesn’t have the same feeling of fun and satisfaction today that it usually does.  I’m self-aware enough to laugh at the absurdity of my rage over lost chicken carcasses; and I’m self-aware enough to acknowledge that today, part of me just wants to throw up my hands and have somebody else feed me.

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2 Responses to Losing Chicken Carcasses and Perspective

  1. Kim B. says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through a tough time right now. If it makes you feel better, I’m enjoying your blog (as you surmised). I know we’re strangers, but I’ll be thinking of you.

    • Thanks so much, Kim. You made me smile! I wouldn’t say “strangers” so much as “unrelated people connected by technology” :-). I appreciate your kind words and am glad that you continue to enjoy reading! Keep hanging out here at RRG. It’s a cool place!

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