Monday, April 23, 2012

At the bottom of the bowl

For as long as she's eaten solid foods, E's favorite meal in the world has been the pesto cavatappi from Noodles & Co.

She will eat that whole bowl of pasta, but she never eats the mushrooms or tomatoes. Those are mine. I love them so much, warm produce just touched with pesto, the blessing of sharing a meal with my girl, savory and sweet.

It's a tender little ritual, that the mushrooms and tomatoes were fished out for me, that she dove for the long strings of parmesan. She'd nip cheese off the top of the bowl as I'd divide my bits from her bowl and stir the pasta into the sauce. We'd work wordlessly, two forks, and then she'd eat her meal, and having enjoyed my pesto-flecked appetizer, I'd enjoy mine.

I noticed today on our regular Mama-kindergartner post-yoga noodle date that it's been a while since I was asked to de-mushroom. She's so grown now, so confident and competent. She still won't eat the mushrooms, but she no longer wants my assistance, no longer disdains at a face-off with a tomato skin. She works methodically, eating her pasta straight down to the bottom of the bowl, working around those bites she doesn't like as trivial obstacles not to be impediments to her gustatory satisfaction.

I don't get any mushrooms until the end of our meal, now, where they sit languid and cool. They've lost their magic as they lost their urgency.

I think it's time to say farewell to my mushroom ties to her meal. She doesn't know we can order her bowl without the mushrooms and tomatoes but she no longer needs my help preparing her food to eat, so let's say goodbye to my favorite hindrance.

This whole fostering independence bit brings unexpected losses but I love her quiet confidence. Six is magically big, and even when our forks aren't clinking in her bowl it's such a pleasure to sit across from her and behold her childhood unfurling.
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