People talk about the big moments of parenting. The things your spouse will do that make you fall more in or out of love with them as you embark on the daily practice of raising a child together.
There are the obvious moments I feel more in love. Watching him cradle our infant just minutes old. Hearing their simultaneous giggles from the next room, their play as effortless as breathing.
But then there are the bigger moments. Smaller moments, actually, but bigger.
I walk into the morning kitchen, he is making her macaroni and cheese. She is squawking delights and approval from her highchair and he is making the cheese sauce as though she is an ambassador from a neighboring country.
I snicker as I watch him stir and pour and blend and baste. I think about how I make her macaroni and cheese, haphazardly dumping the imitation cheese powder on top of the quickly congealing noodles. Barely stirring out the clumps before I pour it in front of her like slop.
I didn’t know you could make the cheese sauce this way. I guess I did know, but I didn’t. Isn’t that every moment of parenting? I knew but I had no idea. Intellectually it makes sense, but in practice it is elusive. I love her in the hugs, the books, the kisses, the playtime, the weekend adventures. I forgot that I could also love her in cheese sauce. In the perfectly al dente noodles cooling over the sink.
When his cheese sauce has simmered to his liking, he blends the cheese and noodles gently. Wrapping each noodle in a wave of orange. A sunrise blanket. He stirs so gently that no noodle suffers a mixing bowl injury. She squeals “Ooooooh!” from her throne– the lady in waiting.
My kitchen has transformed into a five-star restaurant, pajamas welcome. And I think I would like to spend the rest of my days watching him love her in these unexpected ways.