Sunrise, Sunset

In a few short days my world will change. My oldest daughter will be moving out on her own — beginning a new phase of her young life. I can’t help but be glad for her as she revels in happy anticipation of her new independence — proof (to her) of adulthood. I am excited for her as I see her planning, making lists of things she must do, necessities she must purchase and deciding what she will take with her and what she will leave behind.

I am happy for her. I am.

But, along with that happiness, I feel a twinge of sadness. A feeling — a kind of an ache — a sort of loneliness that comes with knowing that our lives are about to change in a momentous way. I close my eyes and I see a film reel replaying the sweet, sweet moments of her presence in my life. All the joyous, laughter-filled days, the Christmases, birthdays, and family celebrations. All the tears, fears, lost kittens and broken toys. All the sticky fingers, runny noses and scraped knees. The memories flash through my mind, from the glorious day of her birth, all her schooldays, to the first time a boy broke her heart, to this very moment. I feel my heart wrench.

A momentary sense of panic hits me — did I prepare her enough for the struggles, the business of living a life? Did I teach her all I could, did I shelter her too much, does she have all the tools and skills she needs to succeed on her own? Did I do enough? The song “Sunrise, Sunset”, from Fiddler on the Roof, has been playing in my head for weeks now. I cry when she’s not looking.

God, I am going to miss her! I am going to miss her grumpy smile in the morning and her silly antics that entertain and yes, sometimes annoy. I am going to miss not being right there to comfort her when things are not going well, enveloping her in my arms and hugging her tight until the tears stop. I am going to miss not being right there to celebrate her successes, hugging her and beaming with pride. I am going to miss her twinkling laugh and her funny jokes. I am going to miss staying up late and talking, watching chick flicks and reality tv, snuggled close together, giggling and telling secrets. I am going to miss her.

And yet, I have a sense of liberation, a feeling that I, too, am growing. The ties of mothering have loosened and all but fallen to the wayside — my job is done. I have to trust that she is ready, as ready as any “child”  who is venturing out into the world on their own for the first time. I am trying to find my place in this new stage of her life — what is my new role? Confidant? Mentor? Friend? Whatever our relationship grows into, it will be okay, it will be different, it will be good.

My daughter has grown into a beautiful, young woman — a wonderful person with a bright, shining future unfolding before her. I am very proud of her. I see in her: strength, intelligence, a sense of humour, integrity and a loving heart and I know that she will be fine. She will be happy and successful as she makes her own way in the world. My love for her fills my heart. My job is done.

I will miss her.


Do You Want Ketchup With That?

I’ve been searching for a recipe to make my own ketchup – one that uses fresh tomatoes not canned, yields a reasonable amount of sauce and is a simple, easy-cook method. After countless hours researching recipes, I finally found one to start with.

I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

I chopped tomatoes, onions and threw them into my heavy blue enameled dutch oven, added some sugar, spices, tomato paste, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Mixed it all up and turned on the heat.

Then I sunk into the sofa with a glass of wine and my current novel. Every so often, I would wander into the kitchen to give my ketchup a stir, adjust the seasonings, refill my wine glass. After about an hour, the mixture had reduced by about half. I let it cool slightly, whirred it around in the blender, poured it into a clean (glass) jar and voilà, beautiful, flavourful ketchup!

The results were taste-tested by my family and deemed “delicious”. (The ultimate compliment came from one of my daughters, who remarked that it tasted like “ketchup”).

This means no more store-bought ketchup for us. There are so many variations that I want to try with my next concoctions! Next time, I will roast the tomatoes for a more intense, smoky flavour.

Here is a link to the recipe that I used. Please note: that I made a few adjustments – I used less sugar and olive oil. I also used less vinegar (and used equal parts red wine, cider and balsamic vinegars). I used whole spices tied in a bit of cheesecloth.

I am so encouraged by this attempt that I going to give homemade mustard a try!


In Transit

I’ve been taking public transit a lot the past three weeks and I have to admit I rather enjoy it. Oh, maybe not the times when the skytrain is packed with early morning commuters “sardined” together in a mass of surly, haven’t had any coffee closeness. But my trips are usually quite pleasant — I quite often get a seat right away and most of my fellow travellers are happy and content (or maybe just bored).

There is no need to think about where I am going — I am carried on my way to my destination, no worrying about crazy drivers, HOV lanes or merging onto the freeway.  I can open my novel or turn on my Kobo and delve into my current book, or I can people-watch, chat to my seatmate, close my eyes for a catnap. I can use the time to reflect, plan or mull over possibilities. It can be so relaxing…

But riding the Skytrain can be a little like drifting in limbo — I’m not at home nor at my destination, but “in transit”. On the train, I sometimes feel as if I am disconnected from my life — like I could peer over my shoulder and witness my world going forward without me, while I am hurtling through time and space neither here nor there. It is an eerie feeling of separation — a weird sensation of being lost and alone but at the same time sitting in the midst of a crowd and knowing exactly where I am/where I’m going. It is unsettling — kind of like trying to imagine the end of the universe.

Perhaps, instead of viewing these feelings as a disconnect, I should explore them as a way to be in the moment  — an opportunity to meditate on the now and feel a oneness with each breath. Live in each moment, be present with myself and thereby feel the connectedness that I have with my family, friends, the strangers on the train and the world.