In an unexpected turn of events, both kids ended up at grandma’s.
She could do laundry, rake leaves, return phone calls or unload the dishwasher.
She could clean the cat box, change the water in the fish bowls, pick up the remnants of thread from last night’s craft fest, or run errands.
Without giving it any more thought, she jumped in the car and headed for the wine shop. She re-filled a bottle with basil-infused olive oil and selected an every-day bottle of red wine.
When she got home, she kicked off her shoes and ignored the mess.
She cued Nora Jones on Pandora and stood at the kitchen sink looking out the window at the crimson leaves waiting for a strong gust of wind.
She spied a ripe tomato on the windowsill and went to work.
She put a cast iron pan on medium heat; thinly sliced the tomato; thickly sliced the Monterey Jack, grabbed two slices of bread and butter. She gathered deli ham, balsamic vinegar, Italian Seasoning and a jelly jar.
She layered ham on one slice of bread, added cheese and tomato, and covered with the other slice of bread. She spread one outer side of the sandwich with butter and placed it in the warmed pan. She buttered the remaining side.
She kept the heat at medium so the cheese would slowly melt, sealing the tomatoes to the ham while the bread slightly toasted.
She poured an inch of cabernet in the jelly jar.
She turned up the volume on Pandora.
She glanced again through the kitchen window, took a deep breath and didn’t let herself think about laundry, raking, dishes or bills.
She flipped the sandwich and took a sip of wine.
She cleared a place on the kitchen table, moving things aside, not putting them away.
Once the sandwich was toasted and the cheese was melty, she moved it to a plate and separated the sandwich to reveal the warmed tomato slices. She drizzled balsamic and the basil-infused olive oil over the tomatoes, soaking the toasted bread. She dusted the tomatoes with Italian Seasoning.
After another sip of wine, she took her first bite.
It’s not often that she has a moment to herself. She seldom takes the time to fix herself something yummy to eat.
As she savored the sweetness of the tomatoes, the richness of the cheese and the earthiness of the balsamic, she tried to direct her thoughts.
In her mind, she tied a wide, crimson-colored satin bow around the things she ought to do next.
She pushed them all aside.
Instead, she imagined opening a gift.
The gift was a present to herself. As she unwrapped the package, images began flying out of the box. The images represented all the things she was grateful for: her happy, healthy smiling kids; their cozy little home; good friends and family and her own health.
She took another bite as she visualized more images flying out of the package.
There were the projects she’d completed; the trips they’d taken; the book she’d finished; and the new goals lined out.
In this rare quiet moment, she had the space and time to take stock of, and enjoy her accomplishments. Instead of fretting about what needed to be done, she thought of the tasks and projects she’d managed to complete.
She allowed herself to be proud of those completed projects.
She had set her own goals and standards, and proved that she could meet them.
She could feel the momentum that comes from making changes and completing projects.
There was more to be done.
There would be more to be thankful for.
And then she heard their footsteps on the front porch.
The door burst open, letting in two kids and a flurry of leaves.
“What’s that smell? Mmmm…. Will you make me one?”
Grilled Ham, Cheese and Tomato
- Italian Bread
- Deli Honey Ham – thinly sliced
- Monterey Jack Cheese – thick slices
- Tomato – from the garden, if you are lucky
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Basil-infused Olive Oil – Extra Virgin Olive Oil will do nicely
- Italian Seasoning – or Oregano
Layer ham, cheese and tomatoes between slices of bread. Butter the top and place buttered side down in a cast iron skillet that has warmed on medium heat. Toast slowly to melt the cheese and warm the tomatoes. Butter top before flipping.
Once the sandwich is toasted, remove from heat and separate. Lightly drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over the tomatoes, letting some soak into the bread. Sprinkle with seasoning.
Take bites of sandwich and sips of wine while picturing all the things you are grateful for.