A Pinch of Love

I can still remember watching her in the kitchen. Counter-tops overflowing with ingredients, a light dusting of flour as an added touch on sleeves and hands.

My grandmother’s kitchen on the day before Thanksgiving turned into a pie factory of sorts. Thanksgiving meals spent at her home always involved days of cooking, way too many side dishes, and incredible food saved for this one special day each year. A true Southern lady, she was never without extra food to offer you, just in case you were hungry.

I’ll just make something simple.

And oh, the pies.

As a child, I remember there seemed to be at least five different kinds of pie. She baked her pies not from a recipe, but from memory and feel. A handful of that, a pinch of this, she just had that feeling for when a recipe was just right. A gift that I did not inherit.

Her pecan pies were especially sinful, and I saved room for a slice every time we visited for the holidays.

She was in her element on Thanksgiving; putting everything she had and an added pinch of love into the entire meal.

When she passed away eighteen years ago, I was just starting to grow my own family. So exhausted on the plane trip back from her funeral, I didn’t even realize yet that I was pregnant.

My grandmother’s pie recipes were gone. Gone because they were never really written down, but conjured with a pinch of love and a handful of hope.

When my mom brought some of my grandmother’s things back home, I was hesitant to take anything at first. I had my memories of her, and certainly having some of her things wouldn’t make those memories any stronger.

Then I saw the stack of glass pie pans.

Deep dish, fluted, eight-inch, nine-inch, every variation you could imagine.

Eighteen years later, I am still baking pies in those pans. My grandmother’s instincts for just another pinch or just a bit more flour have slowly started to kick in to my too-logical brain.

My daughter by my side this year; rolling crusts and mixing ingredients, filling the house with the smells I remember.

My grandmother right there with us.

And her recipes aren’t gone after all.

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Wondering what brings my son home from college for Thanksgiving? To find out go read my post over at Moonfrye today, where I spill the beans on traditions and what really seems to matter to those kids we’re raising.

Envy

I see you sizing me up in the grocery store, you sweet young thing.

You may not be able to place this feeling quite yet, but I’ll give it a name for you.

Envy.

I didn’t get this way overnight you know. Turning into a late-40’s goddess takes time and dedication.

A willingness to forgo exercise for vanilla scones and a Venti mocha.

To leave the lip gloss at home when grocery shopping.

To skip the nail salon/spa facial/tooth whitening in favor of buying a yearbook for your kid.

Time to accept reality and finally be comfortable in my own skin.

Skin that’s not only soft, but supple. Actually the dimply fat accumulating underneath is what’s supple. I feel soft and squishy when you hug me. And this nice little curve of belly that the lady hormones have created is going to be the next big thing.

An accessory coveted by the younger crowd. Not available in stores.

And while my legs and butt may be somewhat thin, there’s a certain softness that descends upon middle-aged women that you might not see when you look at me in the grocery store checkout line.

But it allows me to sit for hours on end without pain. To double-check algebra homework, play Monopoly on a rainy day, comfort a sick child, drive the carpool, or just be plain old lazy do some writing.

You pay big money every month for those highlights to accent the colors in your hair. Or bring in new colors not found in nature.

My highlights are silver and shiny, quite possibly the color of angel’s wings. They grow in a neatly-organized rows at my roots without fail every four to six weeks.

Little soldiers in the war that age is waging on my scalp.

When I’m not too lazy (or too cheap), I call in the troops and temporarily render my natural highlights a brownish-red.

But I see you eyeing them now, wishing they were yours.

Someday, young one.

And these wrinkles? Each and every one earned with a laugh or a funny story; countless sleepless nights with a sick baby; crying over a loved one lost.

You may want them, but they’re mine. You will earn your own in time.

I may not be on Gossip Girl or the cover of People Style Watch, but when I walk through my own front door?

I’m a Super Model.

People fall at my feet, begging for autographs. Or maybe they’re begging for a home-cooked meal and a signature on their homework packet.

No matter; I am beautiful as I glide effortlessly through my home tending to the masses and changing lives as I adjust my tiara.

Hubs treats me like I’m Cindy Crawford. He can’t see the spider veins, wrinkles, gray hair, or floppy arms. So I soak up the attention and give it right back.

Because it’s like I’m the star in my own reality show.

I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.

Sure, it doesn’t stretch quite the way it used to. It dimples, sags, and puckers.

But I’ve found that my life’s purpose goes way beyond skin deep. Beyond the clothes I wear or the flash of my whiter-than-white teeth.

Deeper still, inside my heart, where maybe only my family can see the real me.

And I’m beautiful.

Forward My Mail

We just got back from our end-of-the-summer family camping trip, which was PERFECT. There are so many things about camping that are awesome, but many things don’t always go as planned. If you camp, you know what I mean.

So the fact that this trip was absolutely perfect has made me decide to move.

Why I am Moving to the Campground
  • Makeup is totally optional when you are camping. Not only is it optional, but it would be just plain silly. Dirt is a perfect alternative to foundation, and with your sunglasses on all day nobody would care if you used mascara or not.
  • You don’t have to clean the toilet. Yeah, outhouses are a bit stinky, but I can hold my breath for a minute or two if it means I don’t have to clean it.
  • Mopping and dusting would be a thing of the past.
  • The dog is dirty? Doesn’t matter. Go swim in the lake; problem solved.
  • Kids are dirty? See comment about the dog; problem solved.
  • Bedtime becomes a welcome thing for the kids, who are exhausted from hiking and being outside 24/7.  The campfire dies down, and so do the kids. Before 11pm.
  • It just doesn’t matter what time it is when you are camping. If you are hungry, it must be lunch time. Tired? Time to sleep.
  • Food has to be pretty simple when you are camping, so I don’t have to worry about emulating Martha or Rachel Ray. In fact, I think research has proven that any food prepared and consumed at a campground just tastes better. Even if I made it.
  • Clothing is not expected to be stylish. In fact, I think if you are too stylishly dressed at the campground, the others may swarm around you in disgust, forcing you to change into that faded yellow sweatshirt you stole from your aunt and the thick socks that look like you stole them from a dead lumberjack.
  • The absolute lack of technology. We had no phone service, no Wi-Fi, no cable, nothing. We actually had conversations and laughs, some good Facetime instead of Facebook.
  • Manicures and pedicures are not required at the campground. It would actually be a bad idea to even arrive with nice nails, since within an hour your feet will resemble something from prehistoric times.
  • No more making beds in the morning!
  • True, there are dishes to be washed, but burning the paper dinner plates is cathartic. Really.

So forward my mail, hold my calls, and sorry if I miss a few blog posts.

I’ll be back when I run out of clean undies.