My daughter is home now for spring break of her freshman year in college. At first she and friends were planning a trip south to warm, Palm-shaded Florida instead of north to stiff breezes and still leafless trees.
I'm so glad she changed her mind.
Maybe that helps explain the little dance in my step when I pulled out the bread machine to bake a loaf for her arrival.
When she lived at home, the bread machine had a permanent spot on the counter, but when she left for school in the fall, I put it away since it wasn't getting anywhere near as much use.
The extra counter space is nice, but when I was baking bread this weekend I realized how much pleasure I still get from making her the foods that can be hard to get out there in the real world. The minimal bread supply she can fit in her dorm freezer had run out weeks ago, so I knew she would be hungry for a simple sandwich.
And it's not just bread. As soon as she got up this morning, I popped into the kitchen to see if she wanted pancakes - another food I knew she hadn't had in a while. After a few, she told to me to hold the batter. I was stuffing her in my zest to whip up the things I usually am not around to make.
I have big gluten-free cooking plans for the few days before she leaves again. Homemade chicken noodle soup, cornbread and Irish soda bread for starters.
I never made a lot of fuss about the effort required to make Amanda's gluten-free food in the 16 years since she was diagnosed. It was something I had to learn how to do and then just do it. (With deference to Nike!)
But when she first left home for college, I noticed how much easier it was to shop for groceries and get dinner ready. Only one pot of pasta or breaded chicken made with crumbs from a can -- how simple is that! Then I felt a little guilty for enjoying the simplicity.
But right now what I feel is the pure pleasure of being able to cook for my daughter.