Save Those Kisses For Me
Twice now in recent weeks I have missed my scheduled visit with Mom. I feel awful that she has somehow disappeared from the front of my mind. Meaning, I’m thinking about her less, worrying about her less, and compartmentalizing my life to such a degree that she has become a much smaller part of it than before.
I attribute this “forgetfulness” to several factors: my new job that is intellectually engaging and all-encompassing; the more frequent care that my dad sometimes need; and the less than satisfying encounters that Mom and I have had recently. It doesn’t help that we must call the care facility each week to make appointments to see her, that each week they are on a different day at a different time, or that they have become more strict in limiting our visits to a half hour due to the Covid resurgence. Ultimately, it is a crazy slip of my mind that I beat myself up over.
When I visited her last week, there were moments of stony silence when nothing could pierce her glazed and gone eyes. Then we’d manage to have a few moments of connectedness, and at one point she gave my palm 40 kisses, counting them out and kissing me with such love. It reminded me of when I used to give my children kisses to put in their pockets when they needed a little extra support to go out into the world. It is a form of forgetfulness with a solution—not irreversible as with Alzheimer’s.
I’ve decided that to reverse this forgetfulness trend I must set alarms for my visits with Mom and write the dates and times where I will see them on a daily basis. This is something I can do with ease, and that I want to overcome.
The summer feels endless here with its blasting heat. It is August and my birthday is approaching. I’m getting older though I still feel very young at heart. The most significant accompaniment to my birth and growth is clearly the love that I have felt every day of my life from my parents. There is nothing comparable to a mother’s love (sorry, Daddy!).What I wouldn’t give to be able to receive it daily from my precious, damaged mother. I cherish those kisses she gives me, regardless of her inability to identify me as her daughter.
Life does go on and dinners must be made. For wont of something different, I made a black lentil salad with roasted sweet potato. Our vegetarian guests enjoyed it, but my husband Jeff, not so much. Next time, I might halve the recipe ingredients.
Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Small black lentils are often called beluga lentils because when cooked, they resemble caviar. They have an innate peppery taste and the spices in this dish enhance their flavor beautifully.
1 cup black lentils
2 cups water
1-2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
¼ red onion, diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
¼ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp date honey or brown sugar
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, sauté lentils with cumin, coriander, ginger and cinnamon until fragrant. Add water, bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes until lentils are soft. Meanwhile, take cubes of potato and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Lay them on a large baking-paper covered tray and roast for 20 minutes at 420 F° / 215 C° or until they can be pierced with a fork. Drain lentils. In a large bowl toss lentils, potatoes, onion and parsley with the vinaigrette. Serve warm or cold.