These days with you.
We’re in the midst of a really sweet stage. It’s been just the two of us for 14 and a half years, and in four and a half months there will be three of us. We’re halfway through growing our baby. But for now, it’s all about these days with you.
We were school kids when we met. Holding hands and growing up, messing up and studying for exams. And then I moved out of home to go to University and you started wearing a suit. We did grown-up things, like pay rent and cook dinner and go out to concerts. In the holidays I worked at a homewares store and cafes and I learnt how to save money. Some days when I wasn’t at uni I’d catch the train into the city with you and work from the library. We’d meet for dumplings and spicy pork noodles during your lunch break. Over the summer holidays when I was 21 we went to Paris and Prague and it snowed. We became adults together.
We survived when my big brother died. Mum, Dad, my younger brother, you and me…we survived it together. You picked me up from work and told me David had had a seizure and was on the way to the hospital with mum. You were in the room with mum and I when they told us he wouldn’t wake up. You were there with us when they kept him breathing for hours, hooked up to machines, waiting for his organs to be donated. You took Jackson and I home to my apartment to get a few hours sleep and then took us back in the morning. You waited while I screamed at the top of my lungs in the car outside the Alfred Hospital. You sat beside me outside his room when I didn’t want to be held. And now you reach for me whenever someone says his name, and when we see the colour orange you smile at me. You hold me when I want to be held and tell me you miss him too. You helped me survive.
We left the country after I made it through University and we travelled to Paris and Prague and it was sunny. In Marrakech you gave me the good bits of meat off the skewer and in Madrid, when I was sick, you made me spaghetti bolognaise in our hostel. We volunteered in Thailand and decided to live more intentionally and lighter. You asked me to marry you at the end of that trip. You blurting it out with sincerity and surprise. You didn’t have a ring, but I had a family one and it was perfect. After that trip we came back and settled into a tiny apartment in Bentleigh with cheap rent. You went back to work in your suit and I started my private practice, along with another job with other Dietitians. I started writing this blog and made you pancakes often. We were twenty four and twenty five and we felt grown up.
A year later we moved into a bigger, nicer apartment, swapping shaggy green carpet for floor boards. On the weekends we’d get coffee and the paper. I loved our life. We planned our wedding and our honeymoon. Ours jobs were the same though you were also working on a business with two friends. At the end of the year you applied to a start-up program thinking you wouldn’t get an interview, not realising how our lives would soon change. At start of 2013 I moved home to mum and dad’s and you moved to Sydney for this program to work on your business. Being away from you was hard but I knew it was the right thing. During those three months in Red Hill I made pancakes for one, watched Country House Rescue in bed at night and counted the days until I could leave my job and go to the USA with you to raise money for the business. We saw Silicone Valley and stayed in San Francisco and ate tacos and barbeque. We were so hungry and happy on that trip.
After the USA we came home and found a new place by the beach. We were both working on our businesses full-time and navigated the world of self-employment and unstable incomes. I made a lot of oats and beans and rice that year. You fell in love with vegetables when I started at the farm and on the weekends we’d walk along the beach and have friends over for games and wine and food. But the cold, old house got a bit much and so we moved to a different, brighter beach and into a new, clean, comfortable home. Every week one of us will look around and say “I love our house.” Twenty nine feels like the best kind of grown up.
Your business is growing and so are your responsibilities. You’re working more often than not and you’re working hard, but every now and then I’ll bargain a Sunday where you’ll let yourself do what you really want and need. Usually that’s lie on the couch and watch a 90’s action movie, before getting a souvlaki or cooking a steak. I see you, I see you giving so much to your work and yet still being present with me… supporting me and asking me how my day was and how my clients went, listening to my indecision about whether to make tuna casserole or tuna pasta for dinner, or asking whether you feel like a brownie or muesli bar, because you know my way of showing you love is to pack the precise baked good you feel like from the freezer.
This is the life we’ve lived together. And in four and a half months our notion of “together” will change…
You hear people saying they can’t remember their life before kids, and I get that, I do. But I won’t forget the the way your room looked when you were sixteen. I won’t forget you holding me and then not holding me when we lost my brother. I won’t forget you carrying my backpack that week I hurt my foot in Croatia. I won’t forget us figuring out how to be the best people for each other, even when we’re tired and stressed. Especially when we’re tired and stressed. I won’t forget you asking me if I’ll make us porridge and then stay in bed all day watching movies with you. I won’t forget these moments, these days, these years together. I won’t forget you and me, when it was just us two.
And now, a recipe.
Ben likes his granola plain and simple – heavy on the oats, super crunchy and without dried fruit. This is that.
Crunchy Coconut Oil Granola
3 & 1/2 cups (350g) Rolled Oats
1/2 cup (65g) Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup (32g) Pepitas
1/2 cup runny, cold-pressed, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1/3 cup runny Honey
A pinch of Sea Salt flakes
1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius
2. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, then measure it to check you got 1/2 cup (if you go from solid spoonfuls to liquid, your estimates can be off). Put the 1/2 cup melted coconut oil back in the saucepan and add the honey, stirring and warming over low heat until combined.
3. Add the oats, seeds and salt to a large mixing bowl. Pour over the coconut oil and honey and mix well to combine, ensuring all the dry ingredients are coated with the wet.
4. Pour the granola into one or two large baking trays lined with baking paper. Spread it out so it’s in an even, single layer.
5. Bake the granola in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until nicely golden. Be sure to check the granola every 10 minutes to ensure even baking and no burning. I find that granola made with coconut oil tends to burn quite easily so watch it closely!
6. Remove the tray when it’s ready and allow it to cool completely before storing in an airtight jar. Enjoy with tart Greek yoghurt or milk and sliced banana.