"I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail." -Adrienne Rich, "Diving into the Wreck"
In the wee hours of the morning today, my minister and his wife welcomed a healthy little girl into the world, their second child. It was a pretty uneventful pregnancy, as far as I can tell. The mom is healthy, by any standards: I think she competed in a triathlon in her late first trimester. I suspect that she'll be back on her feet in no time, gracefully chasing around their preschooler while she wears her newborn daughter.
My relationship to these children is complicated. While I'm celebrating just like everyone else, I see the event through a different lens. The couple's first child was born when I would have been due, too, and it was during her pregnancy that I was diagnosed (if you can even call it that, because really, it was more like a non-diagnosis) with secondary infertility. I spent her first pregnancy watching her belly swell and her skin glow, feeling like I'd been robbed of my own child, but also like I had a constant reminder in her of what never came to be for me. And though I've long since dealt with those feelings, and though we are done building our family, I find myself strangely envious of the ease with which this second pregnancy and birth transpired. It's not a very graceful feeling, but I can't ignore it.
It's not, as my husband might say, that misery loves company. It's more that I just wish more people fully understood what they seem to take for granted.
The "after" in "parenting after infertility and loss" is a tricky word. Because there really is no "after." It's not like something you can leave behind. There is only "with." And "through." When you lose someone else you love, like I lost my father to cancer, people expect you to remember them, to be sensitive on certain anniversaries, though your experience of that loss changes with time. Why should this be any different?
I've referenced my father here before. I've been thinking about him a lot lately; something about Easter coming soon and putting in the garden has stirred memories of him in me again that make me smile, and that make me a little sad he never got the chance to meet his grandchildren. Much as our relationship was a difficult one, sometimes I wish he was here to offer some of his officious (!) advice. So I spent a week eating his kind of food (more to come in the next posts), appreciating the daffodil blooms with my daughter, and honoring him the best way I know how.
(I will add here that my husband is the one who performed the architectural feat that is this dish. There was swearing in the kitchen, but I think it turned out great. The colors are meant to symbolize the Mexican flag, hence the name.)
And to my minister's daughter: welcome to the world, little one. May you know joy, and beauty, and the love of a community who will teach you to live a life full of grace. Perhaps a little more gracefully than I do it.
3 small heads broccoli
1/2 large head cauliflower
2-3 large peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" squares
salt and pepper
Separate broccoli and cauliflower into florets and cook separately in lightly salted boiling water until just tender. Drain and keep separate.
Heat 1 T. oil in a skillet. Cook peppers until soft, lightly sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste as they cook.
Heat 1 T. oil in a 10 inch heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-low heat.
Beat 4 eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Combine peppers with eggs and pour into the hot oil. Cook until set on the bottom. Put a plate over the top of the skillet and invert the omelet onto the plate; slide it back into the skillet and tuck the edges under with a spatula. Cook until set.
Beat 4 more of the eggs and combine with the broccoli. It will seem that there aren't enough eggs, but don't worry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange egg-coated broccoli on top of the red pepper omelet, leveling it with the back of the spatula. Cook for about 8 minutes. Turn the whole omelet over again, using the plate as you did before.
Combine the cauliflower the the remaining 4 eggs, adding salt and pepper to taste. Don't worry that there doesn't seem to be enough eggs. Pour the cauliflower mixture over the omelet and flatten with the back of the spatula. Cook for about 10 minutes, occasionally running the spatula around the edge. Turn the whole tortilla over one last time using the pate, and cook until firm (you may need to turn it again so it becomes golden).
Serve warm or at room temperature.