On a scale of 1 to 10, becoming a parent has been about a 1,089, in more ways than one. Moment to moment, my heart can be bursting with love— for this innocent human being who is telling me that he thinks a bunny is singing the song on the radio— to frustration, for this wild animal who is dipping his entire hand into his bowl of milky oatmeal and licking the spillover off the cat fur-covered coffee table. The range of daily emotions— Half-moon’s and mine— is not for the feint of heart. I’m constantly wondering, how do people make this look so easy? A lot of my day is actually spent trying to answer questions. What happens when you die? Will Daniel Tiger die? Can I have a popsicle? How hot is lava? What is the point of you? Can I have a popsicle? Why do cats have whiskers? Why does that frontloader have two buckets?
And one question I’ve been asking a lot— how do I regain some sense of self? I’m not trying to be super dramatic, but going on year four (five?) of being a full-time stay-at-home parent/ part-time everything else has left me feeling somewhat lost. How do I remember who I was? I catch glimpses sometimes. Riding my bike home in the dark from a night out with friends. Singing Whitney Houston at the top of my lungs at closing time in the kitchen at my waitressing gig. Swimming under water with my eyes open. But a lot of the time I feel like a shell who is missing its hermit crab (gotta love Eric Carle.) Not that I need to go back in time— and I wouldn’t trade quitting teaching to stay home with Half-moon for anything— but it’s silly to let go of the things that make you feel like yourself. Which leads me back to you. And me. And this blog. And tomatoes. I still love to write, I still love to read, I still love to eat. I happened upon this article in the New York Times this morning and it made me happy. And on the subject of tomatoes, this past weekend I made Andrea Bemis’ recipe for oven-dried cherry tomatoes and I think you might like them, too.
Farmer’s Candy from Dishing up the Dirt
4 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Toss them with the oil, thyme and salt. Arrange them cut sides up on the baking sheets and bake for 4 hours, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. The tomatoes are done when they are shriveled and dry but still retain a bit of juice. Use them within a couple of days or store them in resealable freezer bags for up to 6 months.
Half-moon just reminded me that we need to go to the store to buy the ingredients for miso dip. He’s no longer satisfied having dried apricots in his lunch. I’m glad he loves to talk about food, too.