The Internal Optimist

I have this adoption daydream—it’s a bit embarrassing, but I’m going to go ahead and write it out here. In it, Cricket is a teenager: sixteen or seventeen. He comes to see us without letting us or his parents know—maybe he skips school, which his birthdad did a fair amount of in high school—or maybe he just drives down after class. Maybe he brings a friend. But he shows up at our place without giving us any notice, and I welcome him in, and I call Ruth to let her know what’s up and ask her what she wants me to do. She tells me that I may as well let him stay to dinner if I like, and that she’ll talk to him when he gets home. He has kind of a bad attitude; it seems clear that he’s doing this to test all four of the adults, waiting to see whether his moms will scream at him or I’ll turn him away. But as the evening wears on, he relaxes, warms up a bit. Whatever I’ve made—this varies, depending on what I have planned for any given week—is delicious, and he ends up enjoying the visit in an uncomplicated kind of way. By the time he leaves to go home, it’s almost as though he hadn’t started the visit as a prank.

Weird, huh? But this is the best thing that I can imagine. When I try to break it down, here are the things that I like: Cricket comes to see me on his own; while he has some anger at me, it seems resolvable; I get a chance to confirm Ruth in her role as the real mom; I get to feed Cricket; and at the end of the day, while Cricket belongs with his moms, he feels some connection to me. Does it sound any less weird when I explain it that way? 😛

In response to a request from Mr. Book, I made gumbo for the first time this week. It took me awhile to find a vegetarian gumbo recipe—in the end, I ended up using a Lenten recipe for “green gumbo.” It was good, I think, but not entirely my kind of thing. Still upcoming: my first foray into Korean food, and some maple shortbread to take to therapy. Oh, and I’ve got some sundried tomato pesto leftover, and will probably use it to make pizza this weekend. I’ve been working on my pizza crust, trying to make a really fantastic one, but while I’ve got the texture just right…the taste still isn’t quite what I hope for. I think I need to give up on olive oil for pizza dough. Any of you who bake, what do you use: Vegetable oil? Butter? Fat-free dough?

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