This week I’ve been staying with my brother who has Down’s Syndrome, while my mother travels. Its a two week stay and although he is quite high functioning, he still needs quite a bit of chauffeuring around and dinners cooked. He makes his own breakfasts and lunches, but left to his own devices, he would eat a hot dog every night.
So, happily, I’m the house cook for these two weeks. The experience has been an interesting one, as dinner falls at 5:30 every night, and as you all know, my life isn’t typically given over to hard and fast schedules. But every day around 4:30 PM I walk into the kitchen and start preparing.
Its part of his schedule, and its also natural to the way the day happens here in this house. He gets home at 3PM, an hour and a half later I start making dinner, and then we eat. All this to end in time for him to wash dishes, go upstairs and shower in time for his nightly tv shows.
Its a simple and easy rhythm… its how this house works, and to be honest, its been wonderful. Jon and I have such loose lives, where we work when we want, for as long as we want, eating when we decide to take breaks, and I can’t say that any two days are alike. Sometimes dinner will be at 6 other times its at 8 or 9. In many ways, our lives sound romantic, but I’m finding that I do much better with the consistent beat of a schedule that keeps the same time each day.
The loveliness of eating at the same time every night isn’t just about coming together to connect in and savor a good meal, but it does something to the day, the rhythm of our bodies, knowing that each day this event takes place at the same time. I think that this is likely obvious for everyone else, but its such a new experience for me. The other aspect of this that has been deepening for me as the cook and nurturer, is that I wasn’t just making the meal because I’m the one that loves to cook, I was cooking for someone who was dependant on me to do so.
The importance of this role is revealing itself to me in an amazing way. Its a responsibility on a deep spiritual level to not only make sure those in the home are properly nourished, and connect daily around the dinner table, but also as time keeper… the pace setter for the day to day rhythm of a family’s workings. Its truly a beautiful blessing, that I hope to transmute over to my life with Jon back in Idyllwild when I return. Exporing what that does for us will be interesting.
The dinner in the picture, you ask? White rice, Cuban black beans, fried ripe plaintains or Maduros as we call them, slices of organic free range chicken breasts with a dallop of pesto on top. I call it Cuban Fusion!