It’s Thursday again, or wait, actually maybe it is Tuesday? A year later and the days are still running together, but either way, it’s time to make dinner again for all of the people and I am tired. So freaking tired.
I start to pull ingredients for dinner out: whole chicken breasts, carrots, celery, chicken broth, and…crap, I’m out of noodles.
How can I make chicken noodle soup without the noodles? I can’t just run to the store because it’s a pandemic right? I suppose I can make noodles from scratch, it’s not that hard…my grandma used to do it.
And then, just like that, I’m crying over my empty stock pot on the stove.
As I start the water boiling and toss in the chicken breasts, I remember going to bed almost exactly one year ago thinking, “some stuff’s about to happen.” It was just a few days later that my husband quit traveling and set up shop in my office. And one week after that, my kid’s school sent an email that said everything is closed.
And like many, many moms in this country, I braved hour-long grocery store lines and empty shelves to stock the stock the pantry and medicine cabinets, embraced distance learning, set up mesh systems so we wouldn’t be fighting each other for WIFI, Zoomed work meetings in between trying to re-learn 10th grade Algebra II, scooped up my college students who abruptly returned home, and made it all seem normal, natural, and even easy.
While peeling carrots and then chopping celery, my tears slow down a bit. None of this has actually been or is easy. It’s not just the meal planning and the cooking that I’m tired of …it’s the anxiety, the fear, the loss, the uncertainty, the lack of normalcy…all of it.
I pull the chicken out to let it cool, add all the veggies, and return to the pantry to gather ingredients to make noodles. Then the tears start again.
I miss my grandma, I miss going to the gym, I miss asking my kids how their day at school was, I miss having a date night with my husband at a nice restaurant, I miss wearing lipstick. And then I see the bag of rice. Chicken soup with rice? Not what I planned, but it will work.
Nothing has been what we planned.
Hungry people start trickling into the kitchen, and I take a deep breath and finish up the soup with seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil. My kids say this is the best soup I have ever made.
Maybe I should develop a seasoning and call it the “tears of 2020”? Or maybe I need to take a break and order from our local pizzeria tomorrow because God, I’m tired of cooking. And that’s okay.