Gratitude Day 9: Cibo Felice!


(Photos of my dad and me from childhood)

I’d like to apologize to everyone for taking so long to check in and blog for today’s post. It was my 12th and final chemo treatment today! YAAAAAYYYYYY! But it left me feeling wiped out, so I napped for a bit while my mom (read: zookeeper) kept my little animals (read: children) entertained. I’m still feeling a little on the tired side, but also wired from the steroids that get paired with chemo.

Yesterday’s gratitude moment…..

Over the last ten months, since beginning my cancer journey, my father has been instrumental to my well-being. One of many emotional-soldiers puling me through a, sometimes, difficult battle. Before chemo,  family sit-down dinners were a staple in my home. But since starting treatments,  the dinners with family (other me and the kids) were getting far and few in between.

Last night I had the energy to bake a huge home-made casserole dish of three-cheese, Italian, stuffed shells. My daughter helped me mix up the cheese, egg and other ingredients before filling the shells. Shortly after, she fell asleep watching one of her favorite movies–not even ten minutes into it. My son was with friends, enjoying after-school shenanigans. Once dinner was done, my father and I sat down at the dinner table, uno contra uno.

It was so relieving and relaxing, to sit down at the dinner table with my dad. One of my favorite things about having him over for dinner is how much he compliments my cooking. You have to understand, about six years ago, I couldn’t even boil water or cook a grilled cheese sandwich without burning it.

When my (at that time) husband deployed for Iraq, I knew I had to learn how to cook for my son and I (my daughter hadn’t been born yet) and fast. My ex-husband had done all of the cooking when we were together. When he deployed, I was completely lost in the genre of culinary endeavors. I learned quick, calling his father from time to time for cooking advice since he too was a culinary connoisseur. Once my ex returned home from deployment, he got right back into the kitchen. I think it was probably therapeutic for him. I didn’t mind in the least since he was such a great home chef.

Over the last four years, since moving back in with my mother, I’ve gotten back to cooking meals. Especially after having another child, with very different tastes from our first born. I’ve had to really learn how to make a variety to choose from that everyone is happy with. My daughter will only eat this, my son will only eat that as long as it’s cooked a certain way, as for me I eat everything!

But stuffed shells, everyone loves, especially mama bear over here. It’s in my blood, I’m naturally drawn to an infatuation with Greek and Italian food. Such variety. Flavors that make me want to imitate  an Herbal-Essence-like commercial with every aromatic bite! If it hasn’t already become obvious, I love food. Oh, and eating it.

So my moment of gratitude, yesterday, was savoring every bite of those yummy-in-my-tummy shells while enjoying well connected conversation with my pops 🙂


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