By Delilah McMasters
It is 11:15 at night and I’m measuring out cornstarch and sugar, a little salt, four egg yolks, cream, not milk. As I slowly whisk all of these ingredients over low heat, the Drama Squad ventures into the kitchen. Izzy is first, she hops up on the counter, and begins telling me some Harry Potter fan fiction, veers off to give me the lowdown on Sirius Black, then casually throws in how hot the actor is who plays him in the movies.
Lila has arrived by this time and wholeheartedly agrees Sirius is a hottie! We banter back and forth about whether Izzy should read the books. She can already kick all of our butts at Harry Potter trivia, but is constantly learning something off of a website she didn’t know.
For a moment I feel bad, I started the series with my three oldest kids, reading it out loud before bedtime, by the time the series ended they were reading it to me, two more had been born, and the two oldest ones were just showing up for the movies. The three youngest have only seen the movies, they don’t remember being read to. I admit it seemed like too big of an undertaking to tackle all of the books a second time, but standing in the kitchen waiting for this sweet mixture to thicken, I’m wishing I had made the effort.
We line the bowls with vanilla wafers and Lila starts slicing bananas. I’m lost in a moment of deja vu, I can’t count the number of times I’ve made cookies, pies, banana pudding, brownies late at night, because one of my kids has asked. There are times I say “no,” but then other times it feels like a perfectly natural thing to be mixing something up and sharing it at midnight.
Izzy shows us a jewelry box and with Hedwig’s theme music, she declines the pudding, but eats the cookies. Lila lines another small bowl with cookies, no bananas, special for Nicholas to have when he gets off work.
I’m still lost in memories: Nic wearing Gryffindor robes as he watched the movies. Reading to Mac until I was hoarse at night, wondering when this chapter was going to end, only for him to fall asleep before the ending and I had to recap before starting again the next night. Libby rushing after work to meet us to stand in line for special first night showings. Waiting at Barnes and Nobles for book releases as Jasmine and Mac ran around playing games with other little wannabe wizards. And of course, how each one of them cried when Sirius dies, didn’t matter if it was in the book or the movie, it still got to each one of them.
As we finished layering the pudding together, Lila grabs a spoon and immediately starts eating hers. Izzy finishes off the cookies and goes to her room to decide if she’s going to print out a Harry Potter fan book or continue to read it on her phone. Lila knows a lot more about the series and the characters than she lets on, but asks the appropriate questions and plays ignorant when given answers. She smiles at me and I realize why this is all too familiar.
The kitchen has always been the center of our house. It’s where we have done projects, homework, crafts, where we celebrate, laugh, talk. And it’s where each of my kids have learned how to share their minds, hearts, interests, passions, and in turn, they learn what each other’s strengths and how to listen. I’ve seen the smile Lila shared with me numerous times over the years as a younger sibling left the room, it’s one of understanding that it’s their turn to help me and to give time unconditionally.
Each one is my kids overlaps to the next, creating a bond of love and respect they don’t even realize by patiently making something sweet and encouraging conversations with a younger sibling, but they will someday.
Delilah McMasters is a local resident and the mother of six. Reach her at BlessYourHeart76065@gmail.com.
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