I’ve been visiting rehab lately. Something about that sentence has a whole lot of shock value until I clarify that I was going to visit my grandmother who was getting physical therapy/rehab for a broken arm. After a number of weeks and an operation to reset the bones with pins, the powers that be at her insurance company decided they were done paying for her stay at the facility. And that was that.
Yup, my 90 year old grandmother got kicked out of rehab. I can add that to the list of things I never thought I’d hear myself say.
I’m at the point in my life where I’m flanked by life beginning and ending. On one hand there is Miss Libby just starting out on this journey. On the other is my grandmother whose journey is winding down. And both metaphorically as well as mathematically I am almost exactly in the middle of the two. Somehow that feels so very right. I get to watch Libby’s light grow and shine while I also get to see my grandmother’s fade. Both are a privilege but there is sadness in the certainty of knowing I face a profound loss ahead.
I was talking about this recently with a friend and said how unfair I thought it was that after such a long life my grandmother should be facing a growing list of health issues. And my friend said something that really made me think. She reminded me that it takes time for a life to begin. And it takes time for a life to end. The notion of people peacefully passing on in their sleep? It looks nice in the movies, but life isn’t The Notebook. So what I’m seeing, and struggling with, this is part of the process.
That doesn’t make me dislike it any less. But at least I can look at it a little differently now. And in those moments when my heart breaks just a little at seeing my grandmother look so old and frail, I can take comfort in the delight she gets from seeing Libby’s joy and wonder unfold at the world around her.
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
Note: This is all about comfort. I’m not suggesting that you should feed your feelings…well, maybe I am. But there is something reassuring about ground beef, macaroni, and cheese. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the dish. Or maybe it’s just a trifecta of perfection. Mine is not to reason why…yours shouldn’t be either…just enjoy.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
- 1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar cheese, grated
Brown the beef and onion in a large skillet on medium high heat, breaking the beef apart with your spoon or spatula as it browns.
While the beef and onion cooks, combine the beef broth, mustard, ketchup, and salt in a bowl.
Once the beef is no longer pink, drain off most of the grease (remember, there’s a lot of flavor in those drippings). Add the broth mixture to your pan with the beef and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni, give it a stir, and then cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until the macaroni is tender.
Add the cheese, stir to combine, and dig in to a heaping bowl of comfort.