I can feel the sun is streaming through my bedroom window before my eyes open. Its going to be another hot one. I listen for the chickens. Silence, that’s good. It must be before 9:00. I roll over to check the clock. 8:04 am. Perfect.
As quietly as possible I tiptoe past my little one’s room, desperate to keep her asleep. Mornings are my most treasured time. With Tom at work and my daughter asleep, its is the only serene Melissa time available. I try not to look directly at her. I swear, if I stare she will wake up. Sort of like how you get that prickly feeling on the back of your neck when someone is looking at you and instantly turn to look for the person. As I reach the bottom of the stairs I let go of the breath I was holding. The trickiest part is over.
The kitchen table looks like it did after dinner. I smile, remembering how Tom brought food home the night before from the fast food place on the corner. It was a last-minute decision and one I am glad I made. The three of us ate together at the kitchen table, chatting about paper dolls, the meaning of the word millisecond, and whether she should read Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer before seeing the movie. I remember sitting there happy as can be watching my husband explain to our 6 year old that books are far better than movies with longer and richer plotlines and a deeper connection to the characters. I am not sure how much she understood, but who cares.
I finished my food and I sat back happily sated. For a moment it felt like time slowed down. It was like I was watching us eat from far away, in a dream. I realized that this was a dream. This was my dream come true. A happy family, a simple time around the dinner table that was not about the food, but about the people, the developing of deeper relationships with one another. My mediocre hamburger will never be remembered, but this time I spent with my family around the dinner table will never leave me.
* Roasted Strawberries were for dessert. They are great on ice cream, yogurt, in a smoothie or just eaten by itself!
- 8 oz small strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tablespoon port wine
- Few drops of balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. There will be a lot of juice so make sure this is a rimmed sheet. You want to catch that juice.
2. In a small bowl mix together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Place the cut up strawberries in another bowl and pour the mixture over the strawberries. Gently toss to coat.
3. Arrange berries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes, checking toward the end to make sure the juice don’t burn. When done, scrape berries and juices into a jar or bowl. Stir in the port and balsamic vinegar. Use warm or let cool and refrigerate. Use within the week or freeze.
Makes 1/2 cup.