On our first official date, JB drove down to Austin from Dallas, about a four hour drive depending on if you are a risk taker. We hadn’t actually met face to face and, back then, sharing pictures via texting or face-timing wasn’t a “thing” yet. If we were going to send each other pictures of ourselves we only had two options:
- Send a real photograph in an envelope through the US postal service, or
- Go to Kinko’s to have them digitize a photo and then you could attach it to an email once you connected to the internet via a modem/dial in service, if you had one.
We did the usual “first date” things. We ate at a cool pizza place down on Barton Springs, chatted about "stuff and things", flirted a little bit, we then ventured out to Zilker Park and walked around Town Lake enjoying a beautiful Central Texas winter day. Then, out of the blue, he suggested that we make chocolate chip cookies. Seriously?? Now that was unusual for a first date.
Through our conversations over the phone those first few weeks of knowing JB, he discovered that I loved to cook. Making cookies is baking not cooking. I was not (and am still not) a chef but I could hold my own in the kitchen. My parents taught me well. However, since I didn’t have the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies just sitting around my barely stocked pantry of a 25-year old college student, we headed off to the store. We secured the materials and headed off to production….they were the best chocolate chip cookies I had ever had. From then on out, I have continued to make sure I had all of the ingredients to make homemade chocolate chip cookies in the pantry.
That was the beginning of our love for couples grocery shopping as well as our love for creating scrumptious plates of eatables together in the kitchen. These two loves stuck by us our entire life together. And they are two of the activities that I miss the most since he’s been gone.
I have walked into a grocery store only about seven or eight times since last December. Thank goodness for curb-side grocery pick-up and delivery. Thank goodness my boy can drive now and is willing to run errands every so often. Walking down each aisle slowly and planning our next big meal just doesn’t have the flavor of life like it did before. We seriously could shop for groceries for two hours. We just enjoyed every minute of our time there together. Oh, and if he took me to Central Market.....now that was the romantic version of grocery shopping. He had me at butter tortillas and Pam's pimento spread!!!
Inevitably, the person who was bagging our purchased items at check-out would place a can or something heavy into the sack with a bread product and I would go “kind of crazy” on them. JB learned very quickly to always make his way down to the bagging area before anyone got started; he needed to save the poor high school kid who was lucky enough to get me as a customer. I now only do self-check-out if I go inside to avoid this event at all cost.
When we'd get home and unload the car of our grocery finds, we'd go straight to work; working in the kitchen to make a good treat or two….this will never be the same. Besides missing JB, these are the the activities I miss most. Creating meals in the kitchen alone is just not as fun. Good thing there is Grub Hub, Door Dash, and Uber Eats, otherwise my kiddos would be eating easy macaroni n cheese and hotdogs every night.
Just kidding, I do force myself to get in there and come up with a healthy plate for my family every night. It’s just not as fun. I know this is a normal part of grieving and am working through it. I also know that I will find a new groove in the kitchen; I know I will. I have to!
We always talked about having a food truck. Isn't that insane?? I mean JB never worked in a restaurant and I was (still am) too scared to take that kind of risk. But it would have been so much fun!! And we would have been doing this together. We talked about it extensively after I introduced him to the movie "Chef." Such an awesome movie about owning your talent!!
So look, anytime we lose someone special in our lives, the world looks different. Even normal activities seem different; maybe even harder to live through. Finding joy in regular life events is very important to me. Cherishing everything, even a made bed, means a lot; that was important to him. However, one of the things we like to do right now is do things JB didn't always like to do; to have a different view of life. It's not very natural but it's good for us.
Do I still shop at Central Market? Do I still watch The FoodNetwork? Do I still make a special family meal on Sundays? YES YES YES. Will the joy of cooking come back to me? Yes, I believe that to be so very true. It just takes time.
Do I still have ingredients for homemade chocolate chip cookies in my pantry? NO!!
John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”