Something about cooking. And laundry. And motherhood.

When in doubt, free-write, with a timer. And tonight, no proofreading, because there’s just no time for that (and who cares, anyway?). Fifteen minutes; go.

What I’m going to do, long after dinner but before going to bed tonight is this: I’m going to get the big Dutch oven from the cabinet, and I’m going to set the oven to 250 degrees, and I’m going to put an entire package of Costco chicken breasts, a bottle of Frank’s Hot Sauce, and a half a stick of butter (or maybe a whole stick) into that Dutch oven. And I’m going to stir that around a bit, put the lid on it, and pop it in the oven, with a timer set for eight hours. And when I get up in the morning, I’m going to take that still-warm Dutch oven out of the oven, use two forks to shred all that chicken, and then put the whole pot in the refrigerator to cool down for the day. And, come dinner time, I’ll have the beginnings of tacos or enchiladas or burritos or sandwiches or protein to stir into a salad or pasta or risotto. And what’s left over, after making dinner, will go half in the refrigerator, to be used this week, and half in the freezer, to reappear as a Hail Mary one night in the winter. And I’ll feel very accomplished about all of that. I will.

What I’m going to do, after dinner but before going to bed tonight is cook some chicken, so we’ll have it for tomorrow (and the next day), and when I pop the chicken in the oven, I’ll dump a load of laundry in the wash, because I’m not sure where things stand with underwear and socks and towels. And masks. I’m pretty sure I do not have any freshly laundered masks.

What I’m going to do, after dinner but before going to bed tonight is cook some chicken, and do a load of laundry, and scrub the stain from a t-shirt that my daughter brought home from school, for a friend, because she told her friend, “My mom can get that stain out, no problem.” And the friend said, “Thanks.” And this is a great honor, to have this kind of trust and confidence. And I will get that stain out, because I have magic stain-fighting stuff that I bought for myself for my birthday, which sounds utterly depressing but shouldn’t, because the right tools are great gifts indeed, and tools that work that come in pretty packages and that smell good are like little bright spots in the doldrums of a laundry room, and that is simply true.

What I’m going to do, after dinner but before going to bed tonight is cook some chicken, and do a load of laundry, and scrub out a stain, and return some emails, because I am quite terrible about responding to emails and everyone knows it, and there’s a whole team of people cheering me on to do just a little better about this, and by “cheering me on” I mean that they are exasperated and deserve better. So I’ll respond to emails, even the one from the man who called last week to gather a few data points for his report and said, conversationally, when I asked how his family was doing, that he was just so proud of his daughter because she’d quit her job – a very big and important job – now that she was a mother, because that’s what good mothers do.

What I’m going to do, after dinner but before going to bed tonight is cook some chicken, and do a load of laundry, and scrub the stain from a t-shirt, and return some emails, and make a list of what needs to get done tomorrow that didn’t get done today, because tomorrow is another day, and that is quite a gift.

What I’m going to do, after dinner but before going to bed tonight is put one foot in front of the other, do only what must be done here, right here, right now, after having dinner with my daughter, and before this day can close down. After having dinner with the daughter who will not be here, at my table, for very much longer, not even a whole year before she goes off to start her own adventure in earnest.

What I’m going to do, when all of these things are done, is say, “thank you” to the chicken, and the stove, and the heavy pot, and the laundry, and the people on the other end of the emails (even that silly man), and the house, and the wind, and the night sky.

We are safe. We are vaccinated. We are healthy. We have food, and laundry, and people who count on us, and abundance.

What I’m going to do later, but not so long from now, is try very hard not to trip on the snoring dog (who was ready to call it a night an hour ago) who is sleeping on the floor right next to my bed. I will step around him, gently so he doesn’t wake, and I will crawl under the covers until tomorrow, tired but grateful for all that was, as it flew by.


This post is 21/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.

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