"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing, but what you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself." — Alan Alda
In my mind's eye, snapshots of my daughter's life quickly race by—from the joyful moment of Maddie's birth to the celebratory activities associated with last week's graduation ceremonies, and everything in between. A life is sewn by piecing together tiny fleeting moments. Our Nana used to say when our family was together, "Stop the clock, stop the clock." As we all know, time keeps marching on anyway. It's up to us, then, to capture the meaningful moments and store them away. Occasionally, like I did last week, I dusted off old picture albums and browsed the pages of my family's life. It's a bittersweet activity to wander through the past, meandering down memory lane. I have come to believe that to live a happy life one must focus more on the future than what has transpired in the past.
|We arrived early for the Catalina Foothills High School graduation ceremony.|
Within 90 minutes every square inch of available seating was claimed.
|Hold on to your hats, ladies. Significant changes are waiting right around the corner.|
|After the ceremony Maddie celebrated with her class at the New York-themed Grand Night Party.|
Meanwhile, Jay and I grabbed a late night dinner and toasted our daughter's accomplishments.
Although I will miss Maddie deeply when university starts, my next important step as a mother is to let her go. From afar, I will continue to encourage her to follow her curiosity and pursue her interests and passions. To use a cooking metaphor—to stay curious is the spice of life. To be curious about the people and the world around us, is what drives new understanding and keeps us moving forward. And that goes for me, too. This a new chapter in my life, as well. What interests will continue to drive me in new directions? What creative paths will I pursue? Will I finally make it to yoga classes? Only time will tell.
|We prepared three Agua Frescas for the party: Pineapple-Ginger, Watermelon and Horchata.|
In the days leading up to the party, Maddie and I prepared the food with assistance here and there from Jay. Maddie's special request was that we serve refreshing agua frescas to accompany the Mexican-themed menu. The day before the party we prepared a trio of agua frescas: Watermelon, Pineapple-Ginger and Horchata. We also made Linda's "Not Too Girly" Strawberry Margaritas that seem to be everybody's favorite margarita these days.
I relished watching Maddie work in the kitchen, slicing and dicing like a pro. She effortlessly whipped up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, exacting in her measurements and portioning the dough for consistently-sized cookies. We took turns playing lively CDs, the music helping us to maintain our pace over the course of a long day. We cooked and baked and talked and laughed. Our cooking day finished just before midnight and we were more than ready to throw in the proverbial kitchen towel and rest our aching feet in our comfy beds. While Maddie truly enjoys baking and cooking, she knows for sure that her future career will not be found in the culinary arts.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
For the party, I decided to make flavor-infused rich sugar syrups for the agua frescas instead of using a honey syrup. To sweeten the watermelon agua fresca, bring 2 cups granulated sugar and 1 cup filtered water to nearly a boil, stirring often, until the sugar is liquefied. Turn off the heat and add one handful (about 2 ounces) of mint to the sugar syrup. Let the mixture marinate until the sugar syrup reaches room temperature. Discard the mint and transfer the sugar syrup to a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Chill.
The Agua Fresca can be made up to two days ahead. Keep chilled in the refrigerator. I purchased the big glass jars with accompanying lids from Target®. I found reasonably priced canning ladles on Amazon® which happily fit the jars perfectly (it's the small things in life...).
1 large seedless watermelon, rind removed and discarded, flesh cut into 2-inch cubes
about 2 cups filtered water
freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste (we added about 1/3 cup)
honey simple syrup or flavored sugar syrup, to taste (we added about 1/12 cup)
2 to 3 liters chilled club soda
Adults might want to add a shot of vodka or tequila to their serving
fine meshed sieve
|The fast and easy way to prep a watermelon.|
2. Stir in chilled club soda, to taste and garnish with slices of lime. I add enough club soda until my taste buds can just detect the effervescence of the carbonated water. Serve over ice. Yield: about 6 quarts.