simple twist of fate
I’m listening to the clock tick as I gaze out the kitchen window. I remember the day I found it in a shop in Soho back in 1999 when I started my personal chef business. I put those plans in motion while still working my day job as a video producer—yes, I’ve had a few careers in my short lifetime. While taking a stroll during my lunch break, hanging right there on the wall of a store who’s name I can’t recall but is now long gone, was a clock that read Time to Eat, the same name as my newly formed business.
The retro image of a June Cleaver-esque woman serving her family dinner is emblazoned on the minty seafoam background of the clock. It’s a scene one will often find of me in my own kitchen. I’m never without my apron, even when I pack the kids’ lunches in the morning. It’s complusive, and part of my uniform as both mother and cook.
The throbbing thrust of the second hand on the clock reminds me of Mikey. When we first met he never wore a watch. It was part of his punk asthetic, I suppose, and also because he had a good internal clock. I not only wore a watch, I also checked it obsessively. One day he handed me a book of short stories by Harlan Elinson and suggested I read “Repent, Harlequinn! Said the Ticktock Man”. I stopped wearing a watch shortly afterwards, realizing that obsessive time keeping is a prison of sorts.
The same can be said for tracking the days since August 7th, 2011. I’m tired of counting the days, and yet to stop counting them feels like a betrayal. If I loved him that deeply shouldn’t I count every day until my last breath is taken?
The clock continues to tick as I think about this. Time keeps moving forward, whether I want it to or not. And really, I want it to keep moving. The waters are so uncertain, yet the view ahead is a promising one. There are just so many little goodbyes to be said, and really, who likes to say goodbye? So, for now I’m going to try and remember that every goodbye to my old life means there’s a hello waiting in the wings to the possibilities that lie ahead.
No matter how we try to plan this lifetime, the simple twists of fate are the real time keepers. Some are traumatic, knocking us to the depths of pain and loss, requiring two hands on the steering wheel to keep control at every sharp turn. Then there are the twists that bring joy and happiness at the most unexpected moments, and for those all you need is an open heart, not a perfectly wound clock to remind you of the inherently fleeting nature of this lifetime.
Virginia literally stopping to smell the roses at Olga’s wedding.
i love that you let her wear the tee shirt under the dress 🙂 it was awesome. i’m so glad you and the gils were there. lovely post. xx
What a beautiful piece… You have a way of making me feel like I am sitting in the kitchen next to you, listening to the clock tick.
A beautifully written post and a beautiful outlook. I will continue to Pray for you and send you hugs.
MUCH much love.
beautiful post. so true!
Beautifully written….I have a lump in my throat now.
I hurt as I read your words. For you. For the truth that you write. May the promises of happy tomorrows keep you moving forward.
Thinking about you and sending virtual hugs your way, Jennie. I’m so happy you and the girls are going to Paris, what an incredible adventure. Stay strong and have an amazing time! xo
Rose D., Frenchtown, NJ
May there be an abundance of beautiful hellos waiting for you…
Good Afternoon Jenni
It is a constant reminder, the little things and the big things. I don’t think that will ever go away, it will just become less. I remember after my mom and Tom died, the time was just so endless.Also, at the same time, I realized time on earth is so short. We always think that we will go on and on, but at the same time we could leave this earth in a blink of an eye. That in itself is a painful reality. I counted the days too.After awhile though, I couldn’t do it anymore.It made me tired and also I felt so helpless. God bless you and the girls,
I just found your blog after looking up virgin drinks for me to bring to a 4th of July bash. Your writing is beautiful, honest and flows wonderfully. I feel like I am listening to you, curled up on a couch as you tell me stories. Whatever you do, I just want to thank you for your honesty and for your strength.
p.s. Your daughters are darling!
I have been following you since the fall. I just wrote this poem today for my nieces 24th wedding anniversary. I love your writings and your muffins are beautiful.
Take– my hand.
Shall we lead?
A new way to
roads not traveled
to be explored.
Yet, hand in hand
We will persevere
Adversity, shall not deter us
Happiness will only inspire us.
Pain, a temporary condition.
The clay upon which we stand
Is blue from our sincerity.
The sun which warms us,
Reminds us of endless
We know our promises
Made as vows.
Spoken words, wields
A power, strong.
Nothing, can be challenging
To make us
Do not waiver Jennie.
what a wonderful blog!!! I follow you! kisses 🙂
My son died in a traffic accident when he was 15. I adored Josh – always did and always will. October 19 will be 14 years and the heartache never goes away, nor would we want it to. You count those days as long as you can and one day, you won’t. That doesn’t mean that you love Mikey any less or miss him any less. To have the kind of love that you two have/had is such a blessing and THAT will give you the strength that you need. You will always miss him, but I promise that the pain will lessen in time. My heart hurts when I read your blog, but I am thankful that you can find the words to express how you feel. You have a lot of love behind you coming from people you have never met. Hang in there. You will survive this … whether you really want to or not. ♥
Robin (Hippo Flambe)
Jennie, I would not worry about counting the days, because naturally you will lose your desire to do it, probably not suddenly, but as a gradual thing.
As someone looking ahead to the 30 anniversary of my mother’s death on August 6th I wanted to tell you to pack the 7th with positives. Make sure you are surrounded by love, and food your children will eat without complaint.
A Canadian Foodie
You are such a blessing to all of us that read your beautiful words…
I can always feel your pain but then again your hope and love as well.
The day you stop counting is probably the day you really start living your future not that you will miss or love Mikey any less and not that it will hurt less but just that you feel like you can go forward without time limits.
I have to say that in the photo of Virginia she looks so much like her handsome Daddy:)
Promise and hope, that’s what it read to me.
You are a source of strength, and a gentle reminder to cherish what we have, mourn what we don’t, but move ahead no matter what.
You write absolutely beautiful, what talent you have! I am excited to see your new cookbook. Have fun in and enjoy yourself and your girls in Paris. Life is precious and so are they.
Thanks for your inspiration.
I just found your blog…wow – your writing simply overwhelmed me. My heart breaks for you – a perfect stranger in this virtual world. But you made me feel so fortunate to have had my Mikey for 36 years while promising myself to never let a moment go by without appreciating my life with him. Thank you.
Love how you wrote this: “for now I’m going to try and remember that every goodbye to my old life means there’s a hello waiting in the wings to the possibilities that lie ahead.”
So poignant yet also full of hope.
“No matter how we try to plan this lifetime, the simple twists of fate are the real time keepers. Some are traumatic, knocking us to the depths of pain and loss, requiring two hands on the steering wheel to keep control at every sharp turn. Then there are the twists that bring joy and happiness at the most unexpected moments, and for those all you need is an open heart, not a perfectly wound clock to remind you of the inherently fleeting nature of this lifetime.”
Beautifully said. My husband and I both stopped wearing watches the day our first son died. I have only worn one a few other times, and only because they were presents and I wanted to honor the giver. I think of your family often
Nice post, I love reading it. Truly moves me.
Jennie, I’ve just found your blog and am a big fan! I am enjoying your writing so much that I wish I could pre-order your cookbook right now as I’m sure it will be fantastic.
I hope you and your lovely girls are enjoying your time in Paris!
P.S. You have a bread cutting board in one of your Instagram pictures that has a small little white olive oil bowl.. Where did you get this?? It’s the perfect board to serve bread at the table!
almost a year, you have survived and done so well. Your girls are sweet, cant wait to hear about your trip. Peace.