In his hurriedness to get off to work, I noticed Kev took the time to throw away my used coffee filter hanging off the side of the Chemex. Meanwhile, I sat at the dining room table, drinking the cup of coffee that filter had produced. It was a rare glimpse. I’m usually the one in the kitchen or on the floor corralling the babe. Thank you, I said. He said you’re welcome like it was no big deal, like he does it all the time. I often throw it away, he said. I paused, took another sip, and tried to remember the last time I threw it away. Thank you, I said again.
Life as a first time mom can be insular. Feedings, nap time schedules, and baby hygiene take the place of full time jobs, free time, and long showers (or showers in general). I got lost. I put my head down, blinders on, and just kept keep running. I did this for so long, when I finally lifted my head, I didn’t recognize the surroundings. I missed all the markers on the trail. I was lost.
I don’t ask for help much. I’m an open book, yet I keep to myself. If I have two hands and bootstraps, then I can very well pull myself up. That’s how I do life.
I looked that phrase up—pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I’m sitting here laughing to myself. Do you know what it actually means? It’s alluding to a task impossible for one person alone. Life, parenting, marriage, relationships, friendships—they are not meant to be run alone. I’m not sure whether to blame my personality, multiple moves, or first-time mothering. The answer is probably D, all of the above. Either way, I’ve been living life alone with a hundred people around me.
I let a low hanging fog settle in. So low I couldn’t see 10 feet past the dining room table where I was sitting. To see the man that was first my best friend, before becoming my boyfriend and now husband, throwing away that used coffee filter day after day. Doing little things in the background to make my day a little easier. I couldn’t hear him say I’m thinking about you. I love you. That fog, it was thick.
I can tell you about the fog now. I can see past it. I don’t wear glasses, but I imagine it’s a lot like putting them on for the first time and seeing clearly. You don’t realize how blurry your vision is until it’s corrected. As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, I’m feeling awfully thankful—something I haven’t felt in awhile. I’m thankful for the little things like used coffee filters in the trash can and nutrient dense autumnal salads laced with flavor, like this one. It’s easy to be thankful for the big things. They usually hit you square in the face. But when you can see the little things, finally, life is rich.
- 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (canned or roasted)
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 delicata squash, gutted and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- generous pinch of salt
- 10 large dino kale stalks, de-stemmed and chopped
- handful of croutons, homemade or store bought
- handful of pepita seeds, roasted or raw
- handful of dried cranberries
- sprinkle of feta
- Make dressing. Into a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk until thickened or emulsified. Set aside. Can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Roast squash. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place thinly sliced delicata on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes per side or until golden.
- Assemble the salad. Meanwhile, make the salad. To a bowl, add chopped kale. Pour dressing over and toss. Kale should be liberally coated. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour. Just before serving, add squash, croutons, pepita seeds, dried cranberries, and feta. Serve.