Comforting Yourself with Turkey and Bacon Meatballs

You had been told that this would happen. This ever-increasing independence. The wings starting to flap. You’d read about it in books. You’d been told, many, many times by all the people who came before you but still, for you, you weren’t quite ready.

No, you’re still back in preschool when she’d cry and call out for you as you turned to leave and you’d have to practically run to the car so she couldn’t see that you were crying too. Or in the first grade when you were the only mother still walking your daughter to her classroom everyday because she didn’t want to leave you. Or, in the third grade, when you skipped out of town for a romantic weekend with the Rooster, and your daughter, back at home, laid photos of you across her bed every night and cried because she missed you so.

And now, when you are with her, her thoughts are a million miles away. She may be looking at you but she’s not really seeing you. No, she’s thinking about what he said or she said. Who’s status update is coming in next on which device. What she’s doing Saturday night.

And you get it. You really do. Because, you were once that 14-year-old girl too. And what she’s doing and experiencing right now is fun. It’s exciting. It’s all the things she should be doing. You remember.

And yet, for the Mom at home, it can be stressful. This increasing independence. This letting go of control. And, it can also be a little wistful because if you are perfectly honest with yourself…it’s not the late hours, the constant texting, or the teenage drama that are the sole source of your angst, no, it’s that you miss her. Miss spending time with her. Real time. When her mind isn’t far, far away. And, you miss her, wanting to spend time with you, too.

You find yourself seeking advice from a very, wise woman, one who knows your own 14-year-old self better than most anyone. You tell her the “I miss her”, the “it’s stressful,” the “she’s never here,” and this wise women agrees with you, “Yes, it’s hard.” Then, she looks deeply into your eyes, a little smile on her lips, and she tells you what she’s always told you about the teenage years, “Just get ‘em through it.”

This wise woman, not being one for pity parties, snaps you right out of yours because, really, she’s right. What else is there to be done than to just “get ‘em through it.”

You find yourself taking a deep breath, knowing that she’s right, and hoping you can do as good of job as she did.

To soothe yourself, you turn to cooking. Your daughter’s thoughts may be far away, and she may want to do anything besides stay home on a Friday night, but she still has to eat. And one of the things you love best about her is that she’ll eat whatever you cook, and thank you, genuinely, when she’s done.

Before a month ago, you’d never actually made homemade meatballs. No. And now, here you are, reaching for that Turkey Bacon Meatballs recipe for a second time.

You set your wedding ring to the side, and dive into the bowl of meat and egg and breadcrumbs, mixing it all together. With your still messy hands, you form the mixture into golf balls and place each one on a cookie sheet.

While you work, you think about your hands in the mess. About how not using your hands would make the process twice as long. About how very tactile it is to make meatballs.

When your daughter was little she loved to feel different kinds of fabric. She was a magnet for sensory tables. The play dough station. Finger painting. And even now, she would be right at home in a country full of people that eat with their fingers.

Your tall, beautiful daughter breezes through the kitchen, moments before you call everyone to the table, and asks, “What are we having for dinner?”

“Those turkey and bacon meatballs with spaghetti.”

“Yum! I love those.”

She grabs herself a bowl and dishes up.

She stays at the table long enough to eat her dinner and share a few snippets of her day and then, she’s off.

And you know it’s brief. This small bit of her undivided attention. But you’ll take it.

Knowing that she still needs you for something, even if it’s meatballs, is somehow comforting.

 

Would love to know how you comfort yourself, or how you imagine you would comfort yourself, as your kids, or kids you are close to, grow more independent in preparation for leaving the nest. Those of you who have already been through the whole process, any thoughts? You know, just in case I rejoin the pity-party.

 

 

Turkey and Bacon Meatballs
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Course: Dinner
Author:
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I happened to see this meatball recipe my friend, Sandy Coughlin, posted on her fabulous blog, The Reluctant Entertainer, and I knew I had to make them…it was probably the word “bacon” that did it. I’ve made these a couple times now, and both times my family loved them. I serve them with spaghetti and jarred marinara sauce. Amy’s Family Marinara sauce is my favorite, but of course, you could make your own sauce if you felt so inclined. This recipe makes enough for two dinners for my family. I freeze half of them to pull out for another night. The only part I’ve had trouble with is that my meatballs tend to brown a little too much on top. I think it’s because of the cheese being so close to the broiler. Next time, I am going to try to bake them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so. If anyone happens to do that, let me know how they turn out. I have a few kids who have problems with “dark brown bits” on their food.
Ingredients
  • 1 med onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6-8 sliced of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ c bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • pasta
  • marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Turn on your broiler.
  2. In a food processor, combine your onion, cooked bacon, and garlic; pulse until finely chopped but not so long that the mixture turns to mush.
  3. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add your turkey, cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.
  4. Line a cookie sheet or broiler-proof pan with foil. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch balls, and place on pan.
  5. Broil, turning once, until cooked 10-12 minutes.
  6. Cook your pasta according to the directions and heat up your marinara sauce.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dig in!
  8. Enjoy…
  9. Yield: Two dinners for a family of five.

 

Thank you to my friend, Sandy Coughlin, who writes the wonderful blog, The Reluctant Entertainer, for letting me share her scrumptious Turkey Bacon Meatballs recipe, here, with all of you!!

 

La Pomme Elsewhere:
The kind folks up at Calgary’s Child Magazine included my article, Cabin Fever Busters – 6 Creative and Entertaining Days Sure to be a Hit with Kids of All ages, in their Jan/Feb 2012 issue, on page 35…should that interest you.

 

Comments

  1. you are such a good mum. *sniff*

    • I try….it’s my philosophy that we don’t really know what kind of job we did as a parent til our kids are in the 30s. I’m almost half-way there. We’ll see how it all turns out then.

  2. What I love about reading your blog is that you have a way of putting your finger on exactly what I’m feeling! Thank you for making me realize that more than anything right now, I simply miss my 14-year-old daughter.
    My new mantra will be “Just get her through it.” Thank you for that.

    (I also have an 18-year-old daughter…and that’s another story. She’s more of a home body….so I know she’s going to miss me when she’s at school next year. That makes me feel better somehow.)
    How do I comfort myself? I read your blog.

  3. I’m not a mom, and I’m not sure I ever will be, because of posts like this that totally scare me! I remember being like that when I was 14, but I did always get lured into hanging out with my mom when she would let me cook and bake with her, take me to the gym with her, or go shopping with her. I’m sure you do that stuff but maybe you can try to invite her to one of those things?

    • Oh gosh, sweetmaddy, don’t let my pity party stop you from having children (and by the way, my party is over now, thank goodness.) If there is one thing I have learned about parenting is that there are many stages. Some more enjoyable than others but the old adage, “and this too shall pass” always rings true. My children are so precious to me. I consider it a privilege to watch each and every one blossom into the amazing adult I know they are destined to be….just sometimes the watching can be a little stressful….because as you said, we’ve all been 14 before.

  4. Hi Carrie, What an honestly written piece. It sounds like you did the right thing by making those meatballs. I made myself a fried egg today, a really comforting food and did it at a medium-low heat in olive oil. I had that with some really grainy buttered bread and peach jam and green tea, to comfort myself, because I didn’t eat Love Crunch cereal with my boy this morning, and because I have the whole day, and every weekday, to myself now. No pity party here, never! Ha ha.
    Thanks for a glimpse of what it’s like having a 14 year old.

    • Shalini, Your breakfast sounds delicious!! I think I may have to go make some green tea right now. Thank you for spending some time here at La Pomme!

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