Summer is waning here; we're seeing the last of the season's corn, and already today there was a noticeable chill in the air. Because I am still unemployed, N. and I took the train into the city on Wednesday to visit the Union Square Greenmarket (we were on a top secret reconnaissance mission that involved seeing what our CSA had on offer to city-dwellers), and I found myself salivating over early season apples.
It's been very strange to watch school starting--and continuing--without me. It's the first time in 34, maybe even 35 years that I haven't been at an academic institution for the beginning of the fall term, either as a student or as a professional. The longer I am unemployed, the more I feel like my identity is changing. I enrolled myself in a two week free trial of the equivalent of Strollercize (which, incidentally, kicked my sorry butt on Monday), and I went today to attend a meetup of some local SAHMs from the group that I was kicked out of when I had my son, because I couldn't attend enough meetings. It was actually not bad; N. enjoyed herself immensely because she got to watch other kids (which makes her jump up and down in my arms as if she's on a bungee). I mark the days in terms of playdates and errands and other commitments; I've been trying to keep busy, so that the days don't all blur together. Some days I worry that I will forget how to work in the adult world. Other days I worry that no one will ever hire me again.
In the meantime, I am really starting to enjoy my daughter. I feel like I get her now, more than I did, say, three months ago. I know what she's whimpering about, and can often fix it. She plays games with me like peekaboo and "helphelpI'mbeingeatenbythebaby" (this is a game she invented, in which she bites my nose gently with a very wide mouth and her two small bottom teeth; hilarity ensues when I fake-scream).
And yet, I feel like she isn't quite mine. Like I'm borrowing her. Like this isn't exactly my life. I'm reminded of that Talking Heads song "Once in a Lifetime": "You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house. You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife." On the train back from New York, N. was sleeping on my chest, and I found myself looking down at her, almost afraid to breathe, afraid that somehow this moment would evaporate, and life would be "same as it ever was."
While I do want to go back to work, I also think that we owe it to ourselves to be awake. To not let life simply flow underground into the blue again. To be present for the change in season, even if we're not going back to school. And if we are going back to school, to let this be something other than just the beginning of another academic year, the cycle beginning again. Because every day is once in a lifetime.
This salad celebrates the end of summer, and reminds us to enjoy the end, as we embrace the beginning of what comes next.
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4-5 ears)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine corn and 1 teaspoon oil in a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
Combine 2 teaspoons oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl; add corn mixture, stirring well. Stir in tomato, bell pepper, and onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.