“Mom? What’s for dinner?”
His childish toothless grin made my heart flutter.
“I’m not sure, Sam! Let me see what we have!” He scurried away to his new room to continue playing with the brand new toys he received upon our arrival at Mary’s Home. It had been an overwhelming weekend full of wonderful kindness from the Mary’s Home staff and the realization that I was getting a fresh start with Sam. Tonight was our first night in our new place.
“What’s for dinner?” I thought in my head as I rubbed my hands together. The answer to this question for the past year had always been fast food of some kind. Since we had been living in and out of motels and out of my car, I never had a kitchen to use. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time that I had cooked in a kitchen.
And as I opened the fridge to fresh chicken, a bounty of vegetables and more groceries than I could ever imagine, I felt myself begin to well up with both grief and joy. Only a short time ago, I would’ve been sitting in a drive-thru paying for dollar hamburgers for the umpteenth time in a row. My hands began to shake as I touched every single item in the drawers and on the shelves. I wiped my tears.
“Hey, Sam? Do you want to come cook with me?”
He ran into the kitchen.
“Mom, why are you crying? Aren’t we just making some dinner?”
“No, baby, it’s not just dinner. This is the start of something new. A new space, a new life and now – a new way to do dinner. We are learning how to be still and be at peace in this place. This is the start of the rest of our lives.”
He shook his head understanding.
The oil was hot as the seasoned chicken went into the pan and the aroma began to fill the room. The smell of fresh veggies and roasted buttery potatoes lingered long after the kitchen had been cleaned.
As my son slept, I sat in the kitchen and couldn’t help but feel overwhelming peace for the first time in a long time. Courage had brought me to Mary’s Home. Courage had brought me to safety. Courage had brought me to cooking dinner for my son. And that will be the start of everything.