Casserole Sunday

by | Nov 2, 2023 | Just Doing Life, Parenting, Relationships, Teenagers | 0 comments

Every Sunday I get the best text of the week.

“Hey… Will you make me a casserole”.

It comes from my middle child, the one who doesn’t ask for much. The independent one, a hard working college student, not a big talker, and the one who rarely leans on others. I call him the stealth one, the one who intentionally flies under the radar.

My son lives a short 30 minutes away in a house with his older brother and another athlete. They have two full sized refrigerators in their small kitchen because food is never in shortage. Their kitchen is stocked with pots, pans, bowls, and gadgets. The casserole is something he could easily make at his home but I’m so happy he doesn’t.

So every Sunday I respond with the same answer… “Absolutely.”

Then I go to work— sautéing the meat, adding the Italian spices, mixing it all up because it’s not just food, it’s my way to express how much I adore him. The end product is a big pan of hugs and kisses. It’s a dish filled with comfort and warmth. It’s a recipe where the key ingredient is love. It’s my way of taking care of my little boy… who is not so little anymore.

If I’m being honest, I’m no Julia Child, far from it. I am a decent cook at best and usually stick to the basics. The casserole is simple: ground beef (doubled of course), sauce, noodles, no onions and cheese. Lots of cheese. Few things in life are as satisfying as a warm, homemade meal from mom made exactly the way you like it.

He drives up later that night to grab the goods. Sometimes he drops in for a hot second and other times he stays for a bit. Whether he is there for 5 minutes or 45 minutes, I really don’t care. Honestly, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I get to see him, hug him and talk for a few minutes, slip him a $20, and then snag another hug before he’s out the door.

It’s a W no matter how you look at it.

When our kids grow up and the nest is different, we are forced to find new ways to connect with our emerging adults. We are forced to adapt and adjust. My neighbor claims she is a “bird launcher” versus being an empty nester. Instead of seeing it as a place of sorrow, she sees it as an exciting new chapter to watch them fly free and create the life she always wanted for them. And when those ever-important birds do return to the nest, she loves on them, spends time with them, checks in and then launches them again. They know they can migrate back whenever they need to.

It’s the circle of motherhood.

It’s what we do. Always and forever.

As parents, whether we get a phone call or a FaceTime call, a text or a snapchat, a Sunday dinner or a summer staying home, we need to embrace the effort and appreciate the moment. Connection is connection. My daughter sends me TikTok’s all the time. I love it and I’m so glad she does that. It simply means “I saw this and I thought of you”.

What’s better than that?

As my kids get older and need me less, I appreciate that they reach out and ask me to cook for them. Or come to their games, take them shopping, or go see a concert together. I appreciate that they still allow me to show up for them, nurture them and remind them how very lucky I am to be their mom.

I am so grateful they continue to include me in their life.

This stage in parenthood (bird launchers) is not about running the company as we did when they were younger and dependent upon us, but instead is about giving them our presence, our respect, our advice (if they ask), our guidance, and our support.

We move from CEO to consultant.

And if my way of “consulting” translates to a big pan of meat, noodles and lots of cheese, I’m okay with that. I hope he will continue to retain my services.



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