A woman in my office today was making chit-chat during lunch. “What do you do here, how old are you, are you married, do you want to be, do you want kids?” She damn-near fell off the chair when I decidedly told her, “No, I don’t want children. I don’t like them.”
“Well, why not?” she asked, as if my gender means I am predisposed to the motherhood gene. I gathered my thoughts for a moment and told her “I’m just not sure that a future filled with diapers, late nights, PTA meetings, scraped knees, children’s homework, and play dates really appeal to me.” She promptly turned back to her iced tea and salad.
Does being a woman automatically make me a mother? I’m already a mother to a 2-year-old Maine Coon cat. Isn’t that enough? Later on, I started thinking about what might happen if my boyfriend and I do get our act together and settle down. I don’t know that I have the wife gene either. What if settling isn’t actually what I want? What if that’s just the lie I have been telling myself because it’s expected of me?
Even if the ring is never on the table, how do you know when you’re ready to trade in girlfriend for wife and mother?
Tonight, I made Paella – not an official Paella, like from a recipe, but one of my own design.
In a saucepan, I prepared chopped onions, peas, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and red beans in white cooking wine and marsala.
In a small pot, I boiled two cups of water and prepared yellow rice. Once the rice was fully cooked, and the liquid had evaporated, I blended the rice and the first mixture in a big bowl. I placed that bowl into the warming drawer on three, while I prepared the chicken and sausage.
Finally, I prepared slices of sweet sausage and chicken cutlets in the original saucepan, with a little bit of butter and white wine. 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and Voila!
Now, this is not a traditional recipe for Paella. I decided to pair this meal with a glass of Pinot Grigio since I used chicken and sausage, but you could drink a nice Merlot as well. I do not drink red wines.
My little brother had this essay due for school: discuss something that impacted your life. He chose to write about a time in our lives where our family took a turn for the worse. We all fell apart.
Jeanine was dead (throat cancer).
Gia Gia was dead (mysterious stroke).
Our favorite priest, Monsignor Tom, was dead (Lung cancer).
Three deaths. All tragic. All sudden. 7 years later, I find out through an essay for school that my little brother still has not really dealt with it. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I cried about their deaths. It has been 7 years; I would hope for some improvement.
My brother talks a lot, but it is always about games or some character he came up with. He never really says what he is feeling or thinking. He was so little when all of this happened that I am honestly surprised he remembers as much as he does. I think I blocked out most of it. If I really sit and think back to that whole weekend, then yes…I can recall some details, but some things are better left buried.
This essay of Jonathan’s really has me trying to rustle up some of those old emotions. I want to remember those days, those hours that I spent, lost in myself. My brother is a fantastic artist, and he has been drawing since…well, since forever. He has a sketchbook that goes with him everywhere, or it used to. Jeanine was his cheerleader and his inspiration to keep drawing. “Whenever I drew a picture she was the first person I wanted to show it to. She made me feel pride in my drawings and encouraged me to draw some more.”
That’s what he wrote in his essay. I don’t think I ever knew that about him. We all knew how close they were and they just connected on a higher level than any of us could ever compare with either of them. To deal with such a loss at such a young age is the real tragedy. I honestly do not know how to help him except to remind him that we all love him very much and support all of his artistic abilities. I really hope he takes it somewhere because I think it would really make Jeanine smile.
Now, he has had to deal with a sudden death again. His Scoutmaster – lung cancer. The devil is hard at work. I just hope that my brother can stay strong through this.