Bit by bit, I'm tip-toeing back into the kitchen.
Soft scrambled eggs when the morning is quiet, some grilled asparagus with lemon and parmigiano reggiano on a Sunday evening. A perfect steamed artichoke for lunch, and a slow pot of soup made from leftover veggies in the fridge.
These are not grand culinary accomplishments, by any means. But they are significant nonetheless. It's a sign. I'm making my way back.
I'm just surfacing from a six-week long immersion in this brand new world, and it's a little like waking from a long sleep -- a little stiff and bleary-eyed.
There have been days full of small miracles, and some long sleepless nights. Most of the time I feel completely natural and serene in motherhood, but here and there I second guess my decisions, and feel as though I'm stumbling around the nursery hopelessly. Every single day is new and huge and filled with epic explorations and discoveries. It's the best feeling I've ever felt, but it doesn't mean it's not a little unnerving every once in a while.
Which is why the small moments in the kitchen are so important. With all this newness, I crave the familiar feel of the wooden spoon in my hand, the sound of onions sizzling in olive oil, the predictable rhythm of my knife. I know these motions, these sights, these smells. I don't have to think too much, or try too hard. It's second nature. It's the old part of me, coming out to meet the new part of me.
Last week, as spring knocked us over the head in Southern California, I witnessed promises being made in my backyard.
There are infant pomegranates, probably born the same week as Bailey.
And grapes even smaller than her little toes.
There are more lemons than I know what to do with, growing in heavy clusters that beg to be turned into lemonade.
There are mango blossoms reaching to the sky.
The rosemary I planted and quickly forgot about has grown tall enough to get my attention.
And all of these promised me that I will be back to what I love, soon. I don't have anything to share with you yet, but I'm certain I will in the coming weeks. The recipes might be simpler, but fancy food was never what this was about, anyway.
And as for Bailey... she's started smiling now. There's an awful lot to smile about in this house.