Our Kitchen

It’s where we began. Our kitchen. It was the hub of our family, where we cooked, ate, laughed, played with pots and pans, looked out the window while doing dishes and imagined, remembered and lost ourselves in thought. It’s where you grew up.

It’s where you both taught me that no toy could compare to the fun and excitement of banging on the pots with the wooden spoon, or using the silicone baking cups with a bowl full of watery bubbles to create bubble art. I remember chubby hands, covered in soapy fun touching my cheek. I remember the smile, baby teeth still perfect, cheeks still holding on to toddler plumpness. I remember the way your hair curled; the way you would twirl your hair with your fingers and suck your thumb, coated in soap and all. I remember you showing your baby brother how to make bubble art, how you both laughed so hard it hurt to take a breath, because there was almost no room for breath with all the joy you were inhaling.

I remember the time the two of you baked banana bread together – standing on chairs, one reading directions and one holding the stir spoon. You were both so proud of yourselves. I remember our breakfasts around the table – no tv, no distractions, just us. Talking about the day, the dreams you’d each had the night before. That table held your Lego creations, the remnants of your play-doh masterpieces. We filled it with our cookies, breads and fudge each holiday. I wiped baby hand prints of mashed sweet potatoes and peas from its top and then later, toddler fingerprints and too soon, young boy handprints.

It’s where you both stood one morning, dish towel draped ceremoniously over your arm, your brother pulling out my chair as you welcomed me to my table. You’d prepared a wonderful breakfast of yogurt with sugar sprinkles, toast with butter on one half and coffee with so much creamer, it was nearly white. You and your brother had worked so hard to prepare breakfast for me as a surprise. The love I felt for you both and from you both, took my breath away.

It’s where we began each birthday, the table set with a plate full of sprinkled doughnuts, a fruit salad and each of your gifts, brightly wrapped and full of fun potential. It’s where we ate each birthday meal of pizza, tacos or hamburgers, laughing and enjoying the passing of another year. We marked each of your inches on the corner wall in red, amazed to see how quickly the marks were rising.

It’s where I have some of my happiest memories, our kitchen.

We’ve moved and our kitchen is not the same. With the move came time and with time came you each growing apart. The fights are more frequent, the harsh words sting more. Our new kitchen is bigger and at times, I’m lost. I miss the four close walls, where we would get lost too, but in the joys of childhood. I miss the laughter from the two of you as you slid around the kitchen floor being worms, or dogs or whatever mythical creature you’d dreamt up that morning.

I miss our kitchen. I miss those days of being young. I’m struggling now to figure out this new role I play, no longer having my cheek caressed with soapy hands or seeing the joy on your face when you make me breakfast. I understand this is how it has to be and I’ll be patient. Until we get through these harder years, while you pull away more and more. I’ll wait. I’ll try not to fight it, but I won’t always be successful. And when the day comes, when you and your brother are once again in the kitchen, grown men, laughing about your own family antics, I’ll feel at ease again. I’ll pull out the pots and pans, wooden spoon and bowl. I’ll fill it with warm, soapy water and the joy will engulf me once again, as I watch your kids experience the joy of childhood. In our kitchen.

 

1 Comment

  1. Gail says:

    I, too, have many of those same memories, of a blond headed toddler, thumb in mouth, other hand clutching a banky, Crawling up on my lap, baking chocolate cookies. Then, the years where I was just in the way. Now, I get to watch my grandsons and enjoy the laughter with my daughter. All grown up, but still and always my baby.

    Like

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