I am lucky to have come from a long line of Wonder Women; My Grandma Donna, a woman who spent her life volunteering her time, working the soil, and mothering six children. Grandma Ellen, who went to school to become a nurse while raising 5 children without managing to utter a single unkind word. My mother, a smart, quick-witted super power who also raised 5 children while keeping up with her nursing career and teaching her family to live well. And my sister, the creative genius and mother of four with enough kindness and patience to calm even the most ferocious beast. That’s a hard act to follow.
So that leaves me, sitting in my empty kitchen with a sink full of dishes and enough cocoa smeared on the walls to make a cake. By the looks of it, you’d think there were 6 or 7 children around responsible for the mess, but no… just me. I can’t even blame it on my husband because he’s been at work for the past three days. I often look around and think “how in the hell do they do it?” I don’t want to make dinner or clean, I don’t even have enough energy to take a shower. Nights like these are the reason I’m glad I immediately throw away the Chinese take-out menus as they come in the mail. Even now they call to me from the recycle bin. “Lauuuren….I’m so salty and delicious, and look, no MSG!” yeah, I think, but the menu doesn’t say “cat free”….I leave it alone, I know that it will leave me feeling bloated and guilty. Instead I’m left staring at the refrigerator, questioning my own decision to only keep ‘raw food’ in the house that requires preparation….and energy.
I pull a chicken out of the fridge and name him Jerry, I know chicken well and I know that with butter, salt, and pepper, in 60-70 minutes it will be crispy on the outside and warm and tender on the inside. Into the casserole dish Jerry goes, and out comes the butter as I slather it on with my bare hands, giving the chicken the massage I wish I was getting right about now. On goes the salt and pepper, maybe a little parsley and oregano, I throw a couple whole tomatoes into the dish and into the oven at 400, not to be looked at again until I am showered and in my pj’s.
I get out of the shower and can already smell the butter….I. love. butter. Still a half hour left before dinner, I do the dishes (against my better judgement) and read one of the 4 open books on my night stand until I hear the timer. The chicken is golden and the tomatoes are wrinkly and soft—superb. I’ve got some ready-to-serve arugula and mix together some vinaigrette and vua-la, an entire dinner that didn’t involve a knife, cutting board, bowl, or utensil, with very little hands-on time. I look at my plate, it’s so very pretty, and I thank myself for taking to time to ensure I eat well and congratulate myself for saying no to the take-out. Tonight my reward is my dinner and some patiently awaited time with my husband. There are no children tugging at my apron and I haven’t saved the day, but tonight eating dinner with my handsome husband, I feel a little bit like Wonder Woman.