The Gleeful Gourmand: Old School For Back To School

Friday, September 6, 2013

Old School For Back To School

Three days ago my baby went to Kindergarten, and he didn't come back.

I'm totally kidding. Of course he came back. But according to some non-parents on my Facebook feed, that's how all of us parents were acting on Tuesday - like we thought they might never come back. I know it was all in good fun, but it actually gave me pause.

As a parent, it's hard to explain to those without children the range of emotions you go through as your kids head off to school. On one hand, you're completely elated for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to: 1) They were bored after the first week of summer, and thought you were their main entertainment source (you weren't), 2) They have more energy than you can possibly run off all day long, and there's a mountain of laundry, or dishes, or bills, or blogs, or you have younger kids that need you too (or an outside job to get to!), 3) They love to learn, and as it turns out, you're the world's worst teacher (it's a patience issue for me).

You know that school is the place they need to be for all of those reasons. But on the other side of your elation is The Worrier. The Worrier shows up when you should be sleeping, but simply can't. You wonder: Did I prepare him (or her) enough? Will they be okay? Will they make friends? Will they find their classroom? Will they like their teacher? Will they be safe? That right there is the skipping record The Worrier plays for you: Will they be safe? 

Ready as he'll ever be. But am I?

You know that you have to trust God, and your parenting instincts because it's time to let go. You are ready to let go, and they are ready for you to let them go. But letting go is a huge leap of faith. You're no longer in control for those 7 hours of their day. You hope they'll remember everything you taught them, but you can't be sure. It dawns on you that not being in control is actually a really good thing - kind of liberating in a way.

So on that first day you're excited for them, because they're so excited. You know in your heart of hearts that you've raised a fine son or daughter, but yes, your eyes are just a little misty. Seeing their tiny selves marching bravely onto that bus, the tears are pride, the tears are joy, and the tears are faith.

And whether your son or daughter comes home and exclaims, "It was the most fun I've ever had in my entire life!" or they come home and simply say, "It felt just like a prison," you know that everything will be all right - either way. And if it's not all right, you'll find a way to make it right. The pictures you took and posted are the same photos you'll print and show them when they're getting ready to leave for college. You'll talk about taking leaps of faith, and obstacles, and worries; and you'll realize that no matter what the outcome, or where they go, once upon a time they were very small, and you had to let go. And you both grew from it in unseen ways.

So in that vein, I thought I'd share a recipe from my childhood that I still love: Sea Foam Salad. This delightful concoction has very few ingredients, and looks, well, like sea foam. Sweet from pear juice and Cool Whip, and tart from lime Jell-O, our establishment recommends serving it with a glass of icy cold milk for our younger diners, and a nice, crisp Pinot Grigio for our adult diners. Or any bottle you can get your hands on, because now that the first week of school is finally over, you're gonna need it to celebrate with or keep the stress at bay. Recipe after the photo.

Sea Foam Salad

Sea Foam Salad

2 Tbsp. Milk
1 Small Package of Lime Gelatin
4 oz. Cream Cheese (I accidentally put in 8 oz. and it was just fine)
1 Can Pears
1 Tub of Cool Whip

• Spray a 9x13 inch pan lightly with Pam. Cream the cheese and milk until soft. Heat 1/4 cup of the pear juice and dissolve the lime gelatin in it. Crush the drained pears in a bowl. Add the warm gelatin mixture to the cream cheese; then add the pears. Fold in all of the Cool Whip. Chill for several hours or until firm.


Unknown said...

I like the thought of extra (or double) cream cheese perhaps being a folly.

Jenna said...

I mean, I think it makes it just that much creamier (and dreamier)!! There weren't any complaints. ;)

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