[Best of Year One] Cooking with Zoe: A Letter to my Love
[originally posted FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2012]
Standing with our backs facing each other, I wanted to tell you how much I missed this, cooking together. Me with stinging eyes, crying over onions, you with diligent hands, stirring the chicken. The scent of ginger and garlic, and the sound of music playing while we silently work. The brush of your arm against my arm as we swirl around each other in this culinary dance. Occasionally we turn and glance at each other, we steal a kiss. We share a taste of what we are creating together.
We used to have this every night, this meal we prepared for each other. And I wanted to tell you how many together-things I missed doing with you since Sofia came. Lounging in bed in the morning, talking as long as we choose. Holding hands in a movie theater. Losing ourselves in the obsession of a video game until our eyes gave out or our stomachs cry too loud. Walking side by side under the stars, feeling open and free.
But it didn't feel quite true.
Missing things felt like declaring there was an unfilled hole, a vacancy in our love. And while it was a warm comfort to return to this act of communion after so many months past, the new things we do together bring me joy too, so much joy that I'm not ready to trade back just yet.
You're still there when I cook, but now you are in and out of the kitchen, running before or behind our not-so-toddling-toddler. You are on the floor identifying objects of her constant pointing. You are grasping her away from her incessant attempts to touch the oven. You are still present at my back, but she is in you arms, nuzzling her head under your chin.
My mother taught me the art of breathing in relaxation in the kitchen, and you are teaching me the art of breathing out the joy of my family in the very same place. Breath in the wafting smells of spices and herbs, laugh out the the surprise of her new word so exuberantly expressed. Breath in the steam from a boiling pot, breath out a sigh of wonder at the tenderness with which she caresses your face.
This is a life filled with abundance. This is sweet sustenance. This is love boiling over.
The time will come again when we cook together day in and day out. And that time will be a sweet return. And for today, I am ok that we have a new flavor of love to share. What we are creating together now, this life, it sure tastes good.
In this special season of life, my love, I love you. Happy Valentine's Day.