Real Cooking

When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

-From “Sunrise, Sunset,” Fiddler on the Roof

In the mail the other day was a flyer from the school district office with postings of enrollment dates and profiles of new teachers. More importantly-at least to my kids-was the listing of school supplies that each would be required to bring as they entered the fifth grade.

As we scanned the list, it all looked familiar: pencils, erasers, large box of tissue (175 count). Every August since my twins had entered kindergarten, I had purchased pencils, erasers, and large boxes of tissue (175 count).

But as we went down the inventory of supplies, I noticed a new addition: zippered nylon binder. My kids needed a notebook for the first time in their school career.

And there was a glaring omission. Where was the listing for “Crayons, box of 24”?

“No colors for you!” I joked. My son, who has always found coloring a tedious chore, shouted with joy. My daughter reread the list aloud to make sure we hadn’t overlooked anything.

“We do need a box of colored pencils, Mom.”

“I saw that, but it’s not the same.”

And it isn’t. It’s just one more reminder to me that my kids are getting older. And if they’re that much older…well then, so am I.

But it isn’t the aging that I fear most. It isn’t the approaching turmoil of the teenage years that has my heart racing. No, what leaves me feeling kind of queasy is the idea that my kids will want-and will deserve-more freedom, more independence.

And that’s right and good. It’s the way it should be. “Birds gotta fly, fish hafta swim,” and all that. But it’s hard.

Case in point. This summer our daughter was invited to spend the weekend in Kansas City with one of her friends. I didn’t hesitate to give my permission for Meghan to go. I knew she would be in good hands with a family that we trusted implicitly and I was confident she would have a wonderful time.

Yet, even though I had every reason to believe she would return to us safe and sound, I found myself wondering aloud if I had made the right decision in letting her go.

“Do you think Meg’s all right? Is it OK that she went?” I asked my husband, who was lying in the bed next to me trying to fall asleep.

“You asked the same questions the first time she slept over at one of her friend’s house,” he replied. “She’s fine, go to sleep.”

This coming from a man who tells his children that when they start to drive he’s equipping them both with a cell phone, a pager and-he claims they make these things for public use-a car-tracking device.

But it seems those days of driving and dating, of church-sponsored ski vacations and “friends only” camping trips to the reservoir are just around the corner.

Heaven help me. I’m still adjusting to the fact that my kids want to stay at home alone rather than go to town with me every time I need to run a quick errand or make a trip to the grocery store.

I try to be logical about all this. I don’t want to be an overprotective mother, and the idea of being one of those parents who is “my child’s best friend” just makes me shudder. But I do know that every time my child hurts, I hurt with him. When my child is anxious, my pulse becomes rapid.

And if true harm-through attack, injury or disease-ever befell my son or daughter…. I don’t want to even think about it. But I must, because in this imperfect world, bad things happen to someone’s son or daughter every day of the year.

So I look out for them in the best way I know how. I train them in the ways of the world so that they might find some protection in that knowledge. I teach them in the ways of the Lord so they can find love, strength and peace in obedience to him.

And I let go…and pray.

* * *

Last week’s recipe contained an error. The recipe for the artichoke appetizer includes three jars of artichoke hearts, not two jars as was printed. Sorry for the mistake.

* * *

We got away for a few days recently and stayed at a lovely new hotel in Wichita. When we went to the neighboring Dillon’s store to pick up a few snacks, I noticed that the price of steak-rib-eye, K.C., t-bones-began at $8.99 a pound. It sort of took my breath away because I had been purchasing terrific steaks at Vogt’s IGA for $5.99 a pound.

Where, I ask you, can you get a steak dinner for less than $3.00 a serving? Not at Dillon’s, that’s for sure!

Garlic Marinated Sirloin Steak

(Works with all cuts)

2 three-pound sirloin steaks

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. granulated garlic

2 tsp. lemon pepper

Coat steak with Worcestershire sauce and rub on dry ingredients. Marinate meat in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. Grill over hot coals (or gas) searing on each side for two minutes. Reduce heat and cook to taste.

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