Simply put. I don’t make dinner. But let me preface: I can make dinner. I have made dinner. I just don’t.
Let me back up. I grew up with my mom making homemade meals, and, despite her protests, she is a good cook. We sat around the dinner table practically every night and had meals. My grandma was the same way. She was really good. For years, the whole family would gather every Sunday at her house to have a home-cooked meal.
I wanted that for my future family. I envisioned coming home from work and prepping a gourmet dinner filled with all the food groups. We would sit around the table, talk about the day, and throw our heads back in laughter. I pictured making my husband’s favorite meals. Meals he could brag about to his friends. You know, the quintessential things white people dream about.
Then, I met my husband. His mom is a good cook. His dad is a good cook. Naturally, he became a good cook as well. In the beginning of our marriage, I tried fixing meals, but my husband was just better. And I had an epiphany — I DON’T LIKE COOKING. I don’t. I dread thinking of meals to have for the week. I despise chopping, dicing, or slicing anything. I dislike frying, sautéing, whisking, or mixing.
So my husband took over. In fact, he was glad to. He enjoys cooking and thinking of meals. I threw in a feeble attempt every now and then, but in all I don’t do it. And for a while I felt bad about it. I felt like I should be doing it more. I felt like it should be my role. Not the husband’s. Those feelings lingered on, so once in a while I would half-heartedly suggest I take over the cooking for the week. I even made a New Year’s Resolution to cook a meal once a week. That didn’t last long.
Then, this year I finally learned to let go after a year of having to let go.
My first encounter this year of letting go came two days after the New Year, and it hit me like a slap on the face. I was about 36 weeks pregnant when I learned that I had to have a C-section because of a brain aneurysm. The whole pregnancy my neurologist had said I would have a normal birth until on second thought she decided it would be safer if I did not.
I pleaded. I didn’t want a C-section. I wanted a birth the natural way. Like somehow having a C-section made me less of a woman or a mother. So not true. Finally, I let go.
It felt better that way, succumbing to what is. And guess what? The C-section was fine. Actually, it was more than fine. It was my son’s birth story. It was his perfect way into this world, and it was because I let go.
The letting go continued on that year when, after spending nearly 6 1/2 months at home with my son, I had to let go of the routine and schedule I had carefully crafted for him and hand it over to my in-laws and mom. I had to let go that they wouldn’t do everything the way I did it, and it would be okay. I had to let go of that guilty feeling that having a career made me less of a mom. I could balance both and be good at both.
When Henry spat up all over my outfit the moment we were about to leave, I let go.
When the mother-son photo shoot I had planned turned into Henry crying and then falling asleep, I told myself to grin and bear it and then let go.
When Henry woke up at the crack of dawn, and I had to drag myself out of bed, I let go. (Sometimes.)
When Henry had explosive diarrhea on his Breakfast with Santa outfit, so he had to wear his Christmas Morning outfit instead, I reluctantly let go.
When Henry would fling his food all around while I watched helplessly, I didn’t want to, but through gritted teeth and clenched fists, I took a deep sigh and then let go.
And finally, later on in the year, I had to let go that my breastfeeding journey would have to end sooner than I had in mind. I found out that I had to have surgery on my brain aneurysm, and the medicine I would have to be on required me to stop breastfeeding. I cried. I didn’t want it to have to end, but when I let go and let God, it became okay. I had no control over the matter, and finally letting go was like freedom from the bondages of worrying. The world didn’t end when I stopped breastfeeding. We had some setbacks, but my son is still happy and healthy. Again, it’s our story.
After a year of letting go, I can say that I don’t make dinner. And I, Lauren, am now okay with that.