Ever since she married Craig’s best friend John, Kiran has dedicated herself to helping my little family function more efficiently and appropriately. She is forever bringing us meals and clothes and toys and other expressions of loving concern.
Last night, Kiran dropped off some pasta sauce that John’s Italian mother made. While we were eating Chase said, “This is so good. It tastes DIFFERENT.” And Craig said “That’s because Italian people make their own sauce.” And Chase said “From what?” And Craig said “From scratch.” And Chase said “What’s scratch?” And Craig said “It’s like…ingredients. Ingredients are…things some people have in their kitchens. And they put them all together. And they stir them. And the things…they turn into other things.” Chase was quiet for a minute and then said, “So…it’s like magic? I don’t understand.” And Craig said “I know. We don’t either.” At which point I interrupted with a reminder that I had a Swiney headache and so maybe we could discuss something less confusing and stressful, like perhaps our family’s ideas for achieving peace in the Middle East.
A few months ago Kiran’s family was over at our house for dinner. I was trying not to cry because Craig had just announced that sweet jesus, the grill was broken and Kiran said “G, why don’t you use the Advantium?” and I said “Why don’t I use the Advatiwho?” And she walked me over to my microwave and showed me these special buttons and black trays which I had always thought were just really, really dirty white trays but apparently not. In my own defense, we had just recently acquired the microwave five years prior. Kiran patiently explained that my microwave was not just a microwave, it was actually an oven, too. And that I could use the special buttons and black trays to cook things. I found the whole conversation baffling, since that’s what I thought I was doing all along in my microwave… cooking things. I wondered what I had been doing to our food for the past five years if not cooking it. I also wondered why Kiran was so determined to complicate the only thing in the kitchen that made any sense. But she seemed so excited to enlighten me that I pretended to be pleased and to understand, and I even showed Craig the fancy buttons right in front of her to prove my enthusiasm.
When it seemed appropriate to move on from the topic of my magical microwave, I asked Kiran if any of my other appliances had superpowers. I was thinking that maybe my refrigerator could mop or my dishwasher came with some sort of discipline plan I could use on Tish. Kiran threw her head back and laughed in the same way people always laugh when they think I’m joking. This laugh is my cue to stop asking questions. A few years ago, in the car on the way home from a particularly embarrassing dinner party…Craig suggested that when someone I’m talking to laughs like that, it’s important that I start laughing too and pretend that I was joking all along. So I did.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
We, of course, have never spoken of or used our fancy buttons or black trays since Kiran left our house that day. There are really only two buttons I need on my microwave, actually in my entire kitchen, and they are Time Cook and Popcorn. Also, I do enjoy using the light switches. I am basically an expert at those. But I appreciate Kiran’s effort. She never gives up on me. And I also appreciate her gift. It took a few days to figure out what the gift was, but all the thinking was worth it because look how pretty it is.
Thank you, Kiran.
Kiran goes back to work today after being home on maternity leave for months. I think it’s probably a pretty tough day for her. If you get a chance, head on over to Masala Chica and leave her some love. We mommies, writers, readers, women… need to stick together.