I started this post 2 days ago – I had planned a pizza and salad dinner and was in the midst of prepping and taking pictures when Mike called. He was out with Noah and thought Noah was having a seizure. They were waiting on an ambulance and I was to meet them at the emergency room. Noah wound up having a second seizure and was admitted to the hospital that night. One CAT scan (normal), one EEG (same) and 2 long and exhausting days later…………and apparently the quick but severe virus Noah caught over the weekend had also caused the seizures. The test results confirmed this and we were sent home, no follow up needed. In fact the neurologist looked at me and said, “Just go home and live a normal life”.
And so tonight I once again found myself tearing greens and slicing cheese, except I couldn’t stop thinking about what we had just been through. And not the we’re-so-lucky-really-dodged-that-bullet kind of thinking, but about the other families I saw while we were there. Families that had – judging from the rooms that looked like bedrooms or playrooms you’d find in someone’s home – been there for quite a while. And probably weren’t leaving any time soon. I purposely brought as little for us as possible, denying any possibility that we would be doing anything more than just passing through.
And that’s just what happened for us. But what about those other families? At what point did they realize that they were going to be there for a while and better start bringing in toys, dolls and games to make their little ones feel more “at home”? Because this hospital – yes with its amazing playroom, aquarium, murals and real fire engines, but still – was now “home”.
But not for us – we really did go home. Noah took his nap as usual in his own crib and I got to make dinner – as usual – listening to him watch “Sesame Street” with Mike in the next room. I felt so lucky, but also a little guilty – as if I was somehow squandering the moment by making dinner and not sitting with Noah in my arms, squeezing him tightly all the while. But I have to say that the totally ordinary act of making dinner – enjoying a glass of wine and knowing everyone I loved was safe and sound – was an indescribably gratifying experience. I paused briefly before calling everyone in, closed my eyes and gave thanks.
This salad is so easy and delicious that I hope you make it soon. If you do, I also hope that you’re able to share it with the people you love the most. Like I did this evening.
adapted from Bon Appetit
1 head of escarole, washed, dried and torn or cut into bite-sized pieces
6 pitted dates, halved and chopped
3/4 c. cup shelled toasted walnuts
4-5 bacon slices, cut into strips
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 T. red wine vinegar
Combine dates and walnuts in a salad bowl. Cook bacon in a 10″ skillet till crisp – drain on paper towels and add to bowl with dates and walnuts
Wipe out skillet and add oil – heat on low and add shallot – cook till softened, 3-4 minutes. Take pan off heat and whisk in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add escarole to salad bowl. Pour dressing – while still warm – over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver