My kids started summer day camp last week and it is awesome in many, many ways. They hop on the bus together a little after 9 in the morning and return home shortly after 4 in the afternoon. By that time, they’re sun-kissed and slightly loopy with exhaustion. They’re too tired to ride bikes, too wired to read books and, just generally, even harder than usual to wrangle. So I’ve been struggling to come up with something for them to do when they get home ... something, ideally, that does not involve merely pacifying them with an electronic device. (Because I need to save that move for when I cook dinner.)
Moderation—in anything—is just not my strong suit. And, in particular, from the time my kids were babies, I’ve been obsessive about their eating habits. Pushing the triple stroller to the Green City Market, buying what was in season and then bringing it home to make it into the finest, local-est, organic-est babyfood ever, was, to me, an absolutely necessary exercise in cultivating my kids’ tastes for a variety of fresh, healthy foods. Looking back, I think, OK, maybe it might have been possible to have fed them an occasional jar of Gerbers and still not have them turn out to be obese, lethargic slaves to the McNugget gods, but, at the time, I wasn’t taking any chances. Now that we’ve left Chicago and live surrounded by actual (even some non-hipster) farmers, I’m in the throes of full-on vegetable passion. We’ve joined a Community Supported Agriculture program that delivers a box of fresh, locally-grown organic vegetables to us each week and I’m taking it as my challenge to build our weekly diet around this produce. Hence, I give you, week four of the CSA love affair, in which everyone is still pretty much seeing this as an enjoyable lark.
I remember when I was first dating my now-husband and I was all, “Oh, yeah, I really like watching college football.” And it wasn’t completely untrue: I mean, I liked the idea of college football. I liked thinking of myself as the kind of girl who was well-rounded enough in her interests that reading the The New Yorker from cover to cover and watching several hours’ worth of big guys tackling the crap out of each other for fun and a free “education” were not mutually exclusive pursuits.
Yeah. At a certain point, I figured out that being with someone, long term, requires that you draw some lines and carve out some space for yourself, even within the relationship. I stopped watching most of the games and only joined him where the ones that involved parades, themed snacks or serious emotional investment (i.e. Michigan in the Rose Bowl).
My relationship with our share in Community Supported Agriculture is still too new for that kind of honesty. At every meal, I gush to the kids about the special ingredient(s) we got from “our farmer.” And I’m knocking myself out researching working-mom-and-family-friendly recipes for the early season vegetables in our weekly CSA box. Thus, this week’s edition of CSA Love Affair.