It was Carter, of course, my 16-year-old son. And I’d even helped wield the razor on that buzz cut. Still, the sight rocked me back on my sensible mom heels. I blinked – more than once – as if I could “refresh” my vision the same way you “refresh” a website – but nope, there he was, backing cautiously out of the driveway before driving himself to school.
What a week.
In the space of a few days, Carter earned his driver’s license, interviewed for and was offered a summer job (lifeguard), and shaved his distinctive shaggy brown hair into a high and tight buzz. The transformation couldn’t have been more remarkable than if he’d morphed from a black-and-yellow-striped caterpillar into a Monarch butterfly.
In more ways than one, though, I guess he did get his wings – lots of freedom wrapped up in lots and lots of responsibility.
He’s not the only one. I got more freedom wrapped up in even more responsibility, too. On the one hand, having another driver in the household slashes my chauffeuring duties in half. On the other, I can hardly form a complete thought when I know he’s on the road. And I pity the innocent soul who calls when I know Carter is en route. Before I can eek out a frantic “hello,” I’ve already imagined countless “what if” scenarios – none of which bear repeating here.
I’m proud and terrified. Excited and devastated. Thrilled and saddened.
I love my boy. And I need him to know that he still needs me. But then, unexpectedly, I get a text message, “What side of the car is my gas tank on again?”
Sigh. Not exactly what I was looking for, but yep -- he still needs me.
Salmon With Curried Cauliflower Couscous
When Carter was little, his most-requested birthday meal was grilled salmon, sliced cucumbers and steamed broccoli. This meal is somewhat more sophisticated -- appropriate, perhaps for someone earning his first paycheck.
rice wine vinegar
fresh ground pepper
Sprinkle fish liberally with rice wine vinegar (or, in a pinch, squeeze fresh lemon wedges over). Baste with hoisin sauce, and season well with salt and pepper. Grill skin side down, over indirect heat, about 10 minutes, or just until done. Try not to overcook.
Curried Cauliflower Couscous
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
1 (14 ounce) can chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups raw cauliflower, broken into small bitesize pieces
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a lidded saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Stir in raw couscous and sauté 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth, cauliflower, curry, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook 6-7 minutes. Stir, remove from heat, and allow to stand an additional five minutes (or until all liquid is absorbed) before serving with salmon.