LAST FRESHMAN WEEKEND
Even though I sort of put her to rest I’m sort of missing Freshman Mom.
The whole blogging thing started with her and now she has two weeks left, not even – I go up a week from Wednesday to move Taylor out of her dorm. I just booked Jet Blue and I really can’t believe it. Didn’t I just write Jet Boo Hoo And What To Do?
Wasn’t it yesterday I was writing about how we would all get through it? Weren’t some of us wondering what we would do when we came back to those empty rooms after we left them off? We were worried about dorms and roommates and how we would ever get to sleep not knowing where they were.
And here we are, those of us who started off as freshman moms here on this blog and we all got through it and I think with flying colors, really. A big round of applause for all the freshman moms!
I know I surprised myself, not calling, not nagging, not much…never calling on Sunday morning – before she called me. And all the trips I planned to Boston, I made a grand total of two – one being visiting weekend and one on my night to Providence to edit.
Granted she has been home quite a bit and it when she is here it feels like she hasn’t left.
Though I do know now how not to get in her face and how to ask for the few household things I need to have done for my own sanity and OCD cleanliness.
I have accepted and it was confirmed in a book I was reading last night (another book about a mother and daughter), she is gong to take my clothes, she is just going to do it, Lucy is now taking hers, I have given up trying to fight it. The best defence I have found is to hide the things I really don’t want touched and if there is something basic like a t-shirt, sweater or jeans that I know I will blow up if I find it gone, I just get her the same thing. It saves a lot of aggravation. Moms with sons don’t have this issue. But for those of us with daughters it is not an insignificant issue, you go for that black silk T-shirt – only to find is not only gone from your drawer, it’s not even in the tri-state area. So it’s not about spoiling or indulging or saying no, it’s about self-defense.
This weekend she was home and getting emotionally ready to return for four months.
I have talked to some moms who are worried about the four months of having a young adult around the house…. there are days I wonder too…but somehow we slip right back into our old life patterns. Her room is still not what I call clean, but I close the door; she goes out and I don’t even wake up all night until she’s home.
I do wander in around five to make sure I see a lump under the covers, but that is it.
I don’t ask where she is going or make plans with her unless I check and I never make her feel like she has to be with us and consequently she wants to be with us a lot.
She has decided we have cool friends. Friday she opted to join us for dinner at Devi with Jonathan Burnham – who is one of the best dinner companions in the city. She totally agreed, plus he’s hot. Now he read this and he’s blushing. I know him. But it’s true!
Yesterday we all took off on our own paths for Saturday – just like we used to. On other weekends this year when she was just here for two days there was this feeling that she had to spend time with us. But now we’re back to all being together when we’re together and we all retreat to our own lives when we’re not.
Lucy had her normal drama class; Glenn took her and did whatever he does downtown on Saturdays, it usually involves books and cigars. Tay went with her friend Katherine to find a prom dress and I – god I walked all day. I literally walked seventy blocks. It was so gorgeous. I walked from home up to the nineties to get my nails done and walked back. It was a perfect day and there was this calm that the family was back on the brink of being a foursome – at least until fall.
I have found one of the biggest differences in going from four to three on a daily basis is the way I cook.
We eat dinner as a family four or five nights a week. When we were four it was always around the table – we still do, but I must admit there are more take-out nights and some are eaten in the kitchen in front of the TV…not many, but I would lie if I said it never happened. When we were four it never did.
Weirdly since Tay left there are several standard dinners I have not bothered to cook, not once since September. Like Taco night, taco night for three seems weird to me- for four makes sense. Sundays were always soup night, one of Taylor’s favorites; I haven’t made it in over a year. You just cook and shop differently for three than you do for four.
It was one of the things that really took getting used to. I would reach for cherry tomatoes and put them back as she is the only one who eats them. I bought a box yesterday.
Last night she started listing her favorite foods I make, all the things she has missed at college and soup night was one and my lasagna got the top prize.
Now the thing about the lasagna that is funny, when I first introduced this into the family dining repertoire, everyone had a fit. Hated it.
Over a period of time I took us totally organic, mostly meat free and partially fat free. This is not easy with a kid under ten. And when people have been eating normal lasagna their whole lives and one night mom plunks a wheat free, turkey sausage version on the table you get shrieks of horror and the next thing you know the kids are in the kitchen making Kraft macaroni and cheese and you are staring at your fat free – meat free – wheat free wonder.
But over time – with perseverance people get used to the flavor of healthier and better food.
Lucy would still opt for Kraft, and the nights we go out she gets the organic version of it.
So last night without even thinking I just automatically made lasagna, this caused Taylor to throw her arms around me and tell me how much she missed my healthy lasagna.
Considering the ups and downs and dietary things we’ve been through in her teen years this was a mind-blowing experience for me.
We went through the fish only stage, the only eating protein phase, the two months that no matter what I made she only wanted scrambled eggs and then Lucy would only eat chicken fingers.
I would find myself making three different meals, one for Lucy, one for Taylor and then whatever Glenn and I wanted, then one day I decided I hated cooking after loving it for thirty years.
You can’t blame me. I went on strike for spell.
But I’ve come back to it and now we all eat the same thing and since eating college food for nine months anything I make seems like a treat. And since turning ten Lucy is branching out beyond anything white with cheese melted on it for her all her food groups and suddenly mom’s food is looking better, in fact it’s now requested.
So in true PW style I am going to give you our now beloved healthy lasagna recipe.
GUILT FREE LASAGNA
1 pound of turkey or chicken sausage – preferably organic
1 onion diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 large ball fresh mozzarella – better unsalted, but if you must you must
1/4-cup fresh basil
I large can or box crushed tomatoes
I cup Parmesan
Olive oil – as much as you want is the way I do it
I box brown rice lasagna noodles – OK – it takes getting used to but you are better off for it. Trust me if Lucy can get used to anybody can.
Cook Noodles according to package
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft then add sausage – break it up and cook until mostly done.
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and let simmer until it looks done to you or until noodles are done
Grate the mozzarella
Just as you turn off the sauce toss in the basil
Then just layer it like you would any other lasagna
Sauce first, noodles, cheese, more sauce, more noodles, ending with a layer of noodles, keep some sauce to dump on the top – toss the parmesan all over it, cover it in foil
Then bake in a 350 over for about forty minutes.
The first time you may have some complaints but before you know it, it will be their favorite dish.