Today I prepared chicken pot pie to place in the oven this evening. I’m standing in the kitchen, and I’m mixing the same vegetables, chopped chicken, thyme, milk, and cream of chicken soup to put in the pie crust. I’ve made this same old recipe for 20 years.
I remember how, back when my children were toddlers, preparing chicken pot pie in advance was an absolute triumph. Having that kind of time and that kind of advanced planning for a meal was my definition of family success. And I made chicken pot pie because the children loved it. Something about the crust and the creamy insides made them gobble dinner up. So I made it for them.
But this time, my chicken pot pie feels like part of my day and something I chose because it sounded good to me. Nobody needed my attention; nobody else’s schedule determined when and how I could make this dinner.
As I folded the crust down around the edges, I thought about the passage of time and how the meaning and manner of parenting tasks change. It wasn’t a sad feeling at all. It was more of a “look how far we’ve come” kind of feeling. The triumph wasn’t in making dinner ahead; it was that I’m here, having come through that part of my life and now living something new. The recipes stay the same, but it’s a different me.