family, teenage son
Comments 28

Driving & talking with teenage son till I laugh/cry/laugh

So many times as a skinny teenager I used to ask ‘What’s for dinner Mum?’ She’d usually sigh, and dismiss me with ‘Oh I don’t know, I hate cooking.’

I made myself a lot of frozen pizza with instant mash potato.

Smash

Remember this?

I learnt to love cooking though, especially after becoming a vegetarian in my early, idealistic twenties. When I had my son in my early thirties, I created different memories around food and eating with him; when he was 7 for example, I bought him his own small chopping knife to help me cook with, and ten years later, we still use it. We both enjoy good food a lot (he’s actually making dinner while I write this).

Knife

$5 from Chinatown- money well spent

His Dad’s a good cook too. We separated when ’17’ was only a toddler, and at first our son spent 2 days with each of us. It slowly stretched to 3 days, then 4; I think he was about 5 when it grew to Week On/Week Off.

The day of ‘changeover’ became a mix of sadness and joy, for all of us. Sometimes it was fraught, other times simple. Sometimes I dreaded the farewells, and other times I couldn’t bloody wait. Not much has changed. After a long time of living more with his Dad and new step-mum plus two cute brothers, we have now evolved to Fortnight On/Fortnight Off.

Linked to that, one of our big treats together has long been pancakes on a weekend. Not every weekend, but often enough to feel like our small family ritual. Especially whenever he has friends for a sleepover, I make pancakes (albeit ‘healthy’ ones, with a mixture of buckwheat & spelt flours, plus minimal sugar, and organic free range eggs). I treasure the memory of my Dad making pancakes; he cooked them so fast my brother and I could barely keep up, and he didn’t pause to have one himself at all.

pancake evidence 2008

Pancake evidence from caravan holiday 2008 (*just ordered by son to crop him out completely, even though he had the happiest smile)

So I do that with my son, watching happily as he and his friends stuff their grinning faces, smiling to myself at the sweet toppings they combine, while I wait to have the last one, always savoury. Mmmmm, avocado with salt & pepper, lemon juice and fetta cheese, perhaps tomatoes from the garden too.

What about the first one though? For some reason, it’s often a bit dodgy! We call it ‘the dog pancake’, although we only have a cat, and sometimes it even goes straight in the bin. Do you do that? What do you call it?

This afternoon, I picked ’17’ up after school, ready for our fortnight together, and we drove to get some of his belongings from his Dad’s. I was tired, with a headache from flying back after performing work in Cairns, lugging stilts and costumes around. He was tired from a day at school, plus not enough lunch. As he drove us home, the timeless scenario played out:

 

Him: ‘What’s for dinner Mum?’

Me: ‘Oh I dunno, I’m not in a very good cooking mood; maybe a quick pasta sauce?’

Him & Me: Generalized grumbling/soft protests/sighs/complaints/rebuffs/sighs/Silence…

LONG, LONG PAUSE

Him: ‘You know, I think the day we reunite is sometimes just the dog pancake.’

 

28 Comments

  1. My parents separated when I was 10, divorced when I was 15; my father died seven months later. Single mother raises teenaged son sounds very familiar. I “cooked” a lot for myself as well, though my mother was a great cook; I liked my independence. My mother had a great friend named Hank (who also died when I was in high school–like losing two fathers) who taught me how to cook pasta and to make French toast. Those remain my signature dishes, albeit using whole wheat pasta/bread. I will prepare the former to welcome my wife and daughters home from a month-plus on Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow night. The dog will get nothing except her usual supper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Occasionally there’s a good first one… sometimes I think it’s about ‘seasoning the pan’ or something? Maybe a pancake expert will comment and let us know! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is precious. I relate – the little Mr. is a famous Foodie about town, and rather than ask me to make him this dish in the cookbook, asks how he makes it. You remind me to cook with him more, as he’s wanted. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Definitely definitely cook with him! It takes twice as long, and makes 3 times as much mess, but those hours together are so well spent, and what is more wonderful than a man who knows how to cook for his loved ones?
      Thank you for commenting & connecting : ) G

      Like

    • Yes, separating was not an easy decision, but essential for both the adults. We’re infinitely happier now. And our boy has the best of both worlds I reckon, with lots of travel with Mum, & stay-at-home family stability with Dad.

      First pancake the best!? Really. I’ve never heard of such a thing… well done πŸ˜ƒ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YES! The first pancake never turns out. I don’t know why… and I even try to prevent it by giving it a bit of extra time… but it always turns out mottled and not as tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a family of 5 so I always had 2 pans going at once, both my sons did not care (they were ALWAYS hungry) so they ate the reject pancake!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thought this was a beautiful evocation of family life πŸ™‚ We call it “the one where the pan wasn’t hot enough” but I think “dog pancake” is better! Inevitably I drop the first one on the floor when flipping, so the dog gets the first one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “The dog pancake,” is a great way to talk about the start of something. Transitions are never easy but I think it does help when I can put my thoughts into words. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Trace-Blogs says

    I love this because I wish I’d fostered the cooking thing with mine. As a single mum, I spent every day doing everything for my son (my sun), because I felt so guilty about being a single mum. I can see now that I have actually disadvantaged him by doing absolutely everything. You have given your 17 a wonderful gift. Mine is 17 today πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting! You’ve done an INCREDIBLE job; there is no way I could be a single Mum. It’s never too late to start: we often do homemade pizzas together, and talk and laugh, it’s lovely. Or a quick pasta & fresh sauce. As women, we do need to raise our boys to be great men, willing and able to be good partners to their loved ones, and good Dads if they choose to be parents: they need to know how to cook and clean. Happy birthday today to both of you! Why not bake a cake together soon? Best wishes, and thank you for reading, gabrielle

      Like

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