I am aware of at least anecdotal evidence that women tend to go through a process just prior to the birth of their babies called nesting. Getting the nursery ready is the obvious example. I would argue that men likely go through the process to some extent, but again, anecdotally. We’ve obviously borrowed the term from our feathered and furry friends for a reason: a good nest is essential for the survival of the little ones. My office looks out over our backyard and I am often distracted by the squirrels that frequent our branches. The other day, just before a snowstorm was forecast to arrive, I saw one squirrel frantically scurrying from our tree to our neighbor’s tree, its mouth filled with leaves. I watched for a while and was impressed by how fastidious it was. It always took the same path, collecting some leaves from a stash behind the bushes, running up our sugar maple, crossing over to a branch that intersects with the neighbor’s maple, traveling down the trunk head first and then leaping to a branch adjacent to its nest, located in the yawn of the tree’s main branches. It would pat down the leaves, do a quick survey of the construction and then head back to the leaf stash across the yard. I like to think the squirrel was fortifying its nest because it knew cold winds and snow were on the way. Even a squirrel likes to prepare, right?
Derek and I have been comparing this impending surgery to something akin to pregnancy. There’s the waiting, the “go bag” preparation, the time in the hospital, and for Derek, a new liver to call his own. For all you mothers out there reading this, know that we do not truly think this is the same as childbirth. How could we? Neither of us has experienced it, so we can’t compare. However, we are going through the process of nesting. For me that means getting the office/guest room sorted out and converting it into a space I wouldn’t mind being in for days at a time. For Derek it means organizing his Pez collection and selling off the ones he’s just not that into anymore. For both of us it means getting our wills in order, meeting with a financial planner and buying a chest freezer.
Yes, a chest freezer. When a control freak in the kitchen can’t really be the head cook, the control freak does the next best thing: she makes a whole freezer full of food that’s ready to be heated up and served. I am sure there are many of you out there poo-poohing this plan of mine. You’re right in some ways, I should probably chill out (whoa, bad pun) and let other people take care of us. But here’s the thing: in my world, cooking = love. It’s not the only thing that equals love, but it is an essential part of who I am, and it truly makes me happy when I get to cook for others, specifically my dear sweet husband. My theory is that if I can pre-cook/prepare a decent amount of food for Derek and me, I will still feel like I am still able to take care of both of us, to some degree. And Derek is totally on board. He wants to make pizza dough, waffles, and fresh pasta so some of our favorite dinners can be at the ready. Oh and maybe a pie crust or two. I want to make homemade stock, bolognese, stew, chili, and all kinds of soups so that we can all enjoy a home cooked meal even when we’re too exhausted or uninspired to cook.
So much of what we’re both about to go through is completely beyond our control. Which, for people like us, is difficult. I tend to channel that lack of control into worrying; Derek does a good job of compartmentalizing his feelings and storing away the worry. But, as my dear friend Sandi reminded me the other day: worrying will not help me or Derek heal faster, it will not ensure the best possible outcome and, maybe most importantly, it will not make me feel better. I am taking that to heart, and instead of worrying, I plan to get our nest in tip-top shape and I am going to cook like a mad woman to get that freezer filled with amazing food that we can all enjoy.
If you’ve got any great recipes that you know survive the freezing process like a champ, please let us know. I have already researched the best possible way to organize a chest freezer so we will hopefully not lose any delicious meals in the depths of that thing.