Cooking Without Garlic

May 11th, 2023

My mom is taking care of me. I am non weight bearing, off my right foot for the next three weeks with no driving. I have a scooter to get me around and a bottle full of hydrocodone to keep me from getting too down. I have only taken one pill so far and plan on flushing the rest but keep it just in case there is unexpected pain.

Mom is chopping Zucchini in perfect cubes and has the rice in rice cooker. The part of me that is synesthetic smells the rice and sees a soft hue of white puff fill the room. I smell tomatoes stewing but can’t find the familiar layer of garlic or onion which is new. It seems everything I was taught to cook has garlic or onion in it, but Mom is off garlic and onion and even pepper now as she heals her intestines. Instead she is using the tops of green onions and fresh herbs like oregano and tarragon from my spring herb garden. The kitchen feels lighter and floral instead of earthy and deep. Because of her sensitivity to food now she is the thinnest she has been in a long time and looks cute in her blue leggings and soft blue cotton shirt. Her hands move at a nice pace, deliberate with a knowing, with the luxury that time is hers now. My kitchen is as easy and familiar to her as is hers to me.

She has brought her knitting and a book, her iPad, air pods and iPhone. She is quite the techie actually, as good in the kitchen as she is in a Outlander chat room. I have my foot up and water near by. Anything I want she will get me.

We have plans in the next few weeks. We are going to wash all the slipcovers, clean out the fridge, fold all my sweaters and tuck them away. Next week when I am stronger we will empty and organize my dreaded storage room in the basement. When I say “we” I mean I will sit and sort while my Mom and Dad cart things in front of me. We will make a big pile of things to donate and this will make us all very happy.

We have also planned a trip to the garden store, Costco, several doctor appointments and a stroll in the park. There is a wheelchair folded in the corner for these bigger adventures. I know my Mom will wash my hair if I ask and make my bed each morning when she pops in. I am just sitting here taking all this in. I am allowing for it. Allowing is a form of loving. I know this now because I notice when my own kids “allow” me to love them. Like the allowing of a long hug, a cuddle on the couch, a hand in mine as we walk somewhere….anywhere. And with my Mom, I don’t know when we will have the chance to play these rolls again. Me needing her as mom, her getting to step fully back into a roll I shoved her out of as soon as I could.

My Dad comes whistling in. He opens the cake tin for a sweet. If he likes what he sees his whistle will go up and a “yeah baby” will follow. If nothing is there at all he will stop whistling for a bit until he finds something else in the pantry or closet or fridge to pop in his mouth. He pats his belly and settles on a cutie tangerine, plops down next to me as we watch my mother in the kitchen and smell her cooking weaving the warm alchemy of home.

“How you doin Boops?’ He says resting a great strong hand on my head.
“I am great Dad.. just great” I say as I close my eyes for a bit, allowing myself to feel tired, allowing my healing, tilting into his touch, settling in.

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