This spring I’ve had a fascinating class every Tuesday in which we are privileged to observe a counseling session via live video feed. I learn as much about myself as I do about therapy during these times. Since the class is in the middle of the afternoon every Tuesday I have to find someone to hang with the munchkins. My friend Lori has been kind enough to do this many many weeks this spring. This has included such feats as picking the kids up from my school, learning how to install my car seats in her car, somehow convincing the 2 year old to take a nap, and changing and extremely wiggly one year old (not without incident…there was the time that the diaper change was taking place on the master bed and the bed bouncing toddler managed to bounce right onto the poo diaper that has just been removed. Ew. Glad I missed that one…).

Today my spouse and son flew off to warmer southeastern side of the country. My father-in-law is ill and they went to provide help and company to my tired mom-in-law. So it is just me and the girl here at home. Lori watched the little bird this afternoon and then, to thank her for all of her many days of kindness to me and my kids, I took her out to dinner at a local vegetarian restaurant I’d been wanting to try. Not only because I’ve heard Cafe Flora has great food but also because I heard they had great gluten free selections. It was true on both counts. Their menu was lovely, listing things like an avocado and grapefruit salad that has wild greens and ginger-miso dressing. Yum. And quesadillas with yams and a pumpkin seed cilantro spread. Oh my. Plus they have this lovely room that has an earthy grey tiled floor, potted tropical plants tastefully places and outside plants filling the windows that line the walls, and a rocky, bubbling fountain the the center. It was an almost perfect girls’ night out. (Only marred by baby girl’s tendency to toss her food on the floor rather than eat it and her tears over not being allowed to climb the fountain.)

Cafe Flora has a cookbook that was published a few years ago. I’ve been trying to make more vegetarian dishes and after having dinner and flipping through the cookbook, I couldn’t help but buy it (and look! 5 stars on Amazon.) So, keep your eye out. Recipes from there will probably start showing up in my menu plans. Yes, I do hope to make menu plans again. If I can just get through these two last papers.

Today has been day one of a week with just me and my baby girl, no men in the house. I realized yesterday that I am getting to a point that I don’t know what my identity is away from my family. What will I talk about if I can’t talk about how funny and awesome my kids are? (Yes, I am biased. Big time. I’m so smitten.) What will I do in the evening with Jeff gone? Will I just pace the house and be unable to settle? However, day one has been great and I am finding I am really excited about the week to focus a little more on my counseling student and artist roles and a little less on my mom and spouse roles. I’m excited about getting together with girl friends and having the space to converse because I only have one toddler with me instead of two. I miss the boy and yet I am in awe of how much calmer today was when you subtract all the little conflicts we have all day as he tries to navigate his way from total dependence into a little more and a little more independence. He is a beautiful boy and he has so much spirit. Like a wild horse. And I, the trainer, am getting a little break this week. As I reconnect and reidentify with a bit of myself hopefully, prayerfully I will great the return of my men with a deeper capacity to be a mom and a spouse.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even have extra energy this week to try another new recipe or two.

the men in my life