As I mentioned earlier, tonight's dinner was my last for the Grands. It was a bittersweet meal to prepare because I have felt honored to cook for them and will be sad to be without an excuse to visit them regularly. The boys and I have become so fond of them, and they of us. Fortunately, their new home is just a mile or so away, and they have already welcomed post-move visits. Surrounded by their daughters and sons-in-law, they've been busy packing up 43 years of memories. My mom and her siblings have been doing the same with more than 60 years of accumulations and remembrances at Nanny's house. It must be so emotional to help sort, toss and box up a lifetime. I remember sitting in the bedroom of our old house (the one before my parents' current), on the floor with my mom, crying our faces off about leaving behind ten years of memories. I can't imagine leaving a place in which I moved as a newlywed, raised my babies, watched them move out, learned to empty-nest. Tough. Heavy. A whole host of feelings to be sure. I knew one or more of the Grands' daughters would likely be there this afternoon, so I made a big dinner, enough for all, of some of my favorites: roast chicken, broccoli with a smoked paprika-sherry vinaigrette (to die for), couscous with red wine vinaigrette, celery and parsley (from A. Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte), and my spiced chocolate Madeleines with espresso-cream sauce. Comforting, good, hearty, saves well = good for people in the midst of a move. I wrote a letter to the daughter who hired me for this job, thanking her for the opportunity and sharing this post which you might remember I wrote just after I took the gig. I forgot to truss the chicken so he was splayed in every which way, but looks aren't everything!
It was so nice to see everyone and hugs and smiles were shared. I left dinner in the kitchen, unloaded the bubble wrap I'd brought from my too-large stash (who ever has enough bubble wrap when they move?!) and started to tear up. It is rather rare that I feel I receive back all that I give, but today I felt I'd been, by virtue of this lovely family letting me be a small part, the grand winner. I felt, again, faith in the hope put forth each time a new connection is made; when meeting someone, you never know how you might be blessed and even when others are selfish or limited or flawed or whatever, there are still those who aren't. Those who will enrich you, make you happy, simply by virtue of your knowing them.
As I started to say goodbye, a cardboard box was passed to me. Stunned, I found I'd been gifted with some of Mrs. H's demitasse cups and saucers and individual porcelain tart shells. They said they couldn't think who'd enjoy them more. My eyes are again welling up just thinking about how touched I was. Am. I will treasure these, and I look forward, eagerly, to the boys' and my first visit.