Tonight I felt as though my children were trying to kill me. Not intentionally, but subtly, strongly, assuredly, through their inability to calm down and go the f— to sleep.
I am exhausted. I love them. I feel frustrated by them. And at a loss as to what else to do in these situations, with two under two, a traveling husband, a visiting grandma who is wonderful and enticing to my daughter by day but not at all appealing to her at bedtime (which, if she were, would make things a whole lot easier) and two needy kids aged 2 years and 2 weeks and 5 and a half months respectively.
It is tough. People keep saying, “It’ll be worth it. Just get through these first few years, and then they’ll be playing together before you know it.” But this time feels endless.
In the same breath, I know I should appreciate this time – and sometimes genuinely do. This stretch of innocence and absorption, of sponge-ness and sweetness, of learning and desperation and impromptu bedtime kisses and random giggles. I adore my children and wouldn’t trade them for the world. But this period of motherly work and toil and patience-trying sometimes feels without end. It’s hard to imagine easy bedtimes and consistent peace.
But I guess that’s not the point of life, is it? Life is meant to have ups and downs, challenges that make you consider who you are, affirm who you are, connect with loved ones and get stronger because of it. Child rearing is one aspect of life for many. One great example of life’s extreme challenges. I need to suck it up and be grateful and strong. And eat more corn salad. And imbibe the regular vesper martini. Like tonight, after the kids finally fell asleep.
Warm-Season Corn Salad
One of my very favorite warm weather dinners or accompaniments to steak. Please only make this with fresh corn. Serves 2+ as a main dish, or 4 as a side.
3 ears corn, grilled with butter, salt and pepper (or not), then kernels removed from cobs (alternatively, you may start with fresh corn and give it a quick sauté in butter before adding the other ingredients)
1 large bunch of basil, finely chopped
½ cup of chopped English cheddar (or fresh mozzarella)
3 tomatoes of your choosing (I used the unusual Kumato “brown” tomatoes this time), diced
1 generous tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients and season as necessary (though if you’ve grilled the corn with salt, pepper and butter, seasoning required will be minimal). Enjoy warm or cold.
2 ounces gin – make it a good one (I like St. George Terroir or Botanivore, or Hendricks)
¼ ounce Russian – or any good – vodka
1/3 ounce Lillet Blanc
Curl of lemon peel
Shake liquors vigorously with ice. Pour into very chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel. Sip slowly and appreciatively.