We bought the ingredients and just did not get around to make it for New Year as planned. Yesterday, as I was rather happy because I got the kitchen in decent shape, P asked me if we could make the Arancini. We? Dude was on his way to work. But since it was Dia de Reyes, I decided, what the heck, SS and I are still two, let's try it. While we enjoy good food, we are not good cooks. There is nothing remarkable about our cooking, no family favorites in our future. I was rather worried.
SS actually allowed me to do some prep work. That Christmas gift that takes too much space and is too much for one tiny child paid for itself. SS was very focused on her metropolis and did a lot of hard work and babbled away to herself.
P helped a lot with the assembly and frying part when he came home. He was pleased with the finished product, and we were able to work rather well as a team in such a small place. SS liked the rice (ate quite a bit) and really had a good time placing the filling in the rice balls.
We had the the appointment with my surgeon. Our previous appointments have been a blur and we needed answers. P said that he earned his fee for the first time. We were stunned when he stated that when "I opened you, when I was actually in there, saw how close you were to be septic, how life threatening, I knew I was out of my reach. I had to call another surgeon for help." I do not know about you, but that one made our day. Dr. Pudge Boy (P's new name for him) must have been trying to break the current Guinness World Book record for the amount of times a person can work the words death and dying into a thirty minute conversation. They removed a foot long section of my colon. This was the FIRST time we had heard this information. It had a surreal quality to it, as SS was happily exploring the examination room, I was feeding her G0ldfish crackers and P was holding her sippy cup. I do a lot of kidding, nah, smart a$$, dark humor; but there is nothing funny about this.
It does explain why my recovery has been so rocky. We have no idea how I managed to leave the hospital in one week. The power of knowing that SS needed me home. And believe me, it was SS, because I am one major, Class A wimp. It also explains why after my mother left, that week was so then inexplicably difficult on me. There are parts of that week that P still does not know about. Abuela is still my children's grandmother, my mother, and we will always love her. We might not understand her actions, but we will always love her and never cut her off from our lives. P already has some very strong feelings about her actions, their impact of SS's emotional well being and my physical health. It is important to talk when we are both in a much better place.
I was determined not to be a burden after my mother left. I have caused P and my kids enough grief. I was determined not to call P at work for help. I got into this mess, it was my responsibility to care for my daughter. It just makes sense now. I am incredibly sorry that I unknowingly placed SS in the position of taking this journey with me. But, I will never regret having her by my side through it. The pictures of SS on the gurney with me now have a very different meaning. Another meaningful part of this letter to my daughter. The little girl who on July 7 2008, at 15 months, could not walk. Not for lack of interest or effort, but because her legs could not sustain her body. The same little girl who on October 27 2009 saw her Mama on the floor, fetched her cell phone from the couch, and kissed her Mama's forehead. We will never understand how anyone could think or say that SHE is lucky to have us.
We all have moments in our lives we know we will never forget. Those snippets that come back to us, comforting bits of our past. That kiss on my forehead is one of them. Regardless of all the attachment struggles, we have always been aware of SS’s empathetic nature. It also beautifully illustrates one of my pet peeves. I hate it when people talk about “having your own children” or “your real children.” Like a biological bond guarantees love, kindness and understanding. I did not give birth to SS, but she had enough love, empathy and intuition to know that there was something seriously wrong with me. So what if she understood my request and got the phone. It’s that kiss, that sweet gesture, because it was all she could do to make me feel better. She stood by me when I needed comfort. No matter who brought us into this world, we somehow found each other. I am her own mother, her real mother. She is my own daughter, my real daughter.
Some alien must have taken over my underdeveloped brain for a while there. Enough about this stuff. We have decisions to make and some emotional healing ahead of us. That is why I wanted to post this pictures from yesterday. We had fun, we spent time together. The proverbial calm before the storm.
SS loves tomato paste. When we began cooking, she would ask for a taste of almost everything in front of her. I indulged her within reason. The tomato paste fetish is still going strong. Whenever I open a can, she must have a taste. I do not think it is going to hurt her, but it is not exactly nutritious. SS knows that she gets only three tastes, you know, just in case it is not good for her.
Arboro rice, that is cooked against everything Mami taught me about cooking rice. The recipe calls for stirring constantly. That's sacrilegious to Puerto Ricans.
Both the meat and rice have to be refrigerated for two hours. SS enjoyed spreading the "yummy, yummy, rice, arroz, yum, yum (add slurping noises and belly rubbing)" on the cookie sheet.
SS and P helped place the meat filling and Mozzarella cheese in the rice balls. P was a great help, making sure that SS did not make an even bigger mess.
HATE this picture of me, but could not help posting. Notice how my two helpers had the forethought to look at and smile at the camera. Big surprise, I married a pretty boy and we have a pretty girl.
Although SS ate some of the rice, she could not get over the fact that round objects could be anything another than meatballs. We never got her to say rice ball, and we tried mighty hard.
Deep fried, definitely not good for us. But one of the appeals for P is that SS loves rice, meat and deep fried things. We'll worry about cholesterol and heart problems later.
The picture of the finished product on Wikipedia. P thinks our collaboration was pretty close, aesthetically speaking. :) We have never had the real thing flavor wise.