You Never Know Until You Try, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest

By Sandra Kisselback

Dear Mom,

Just wanted to catch you up on some happenings. I know it’s been awhile. Even though things are ridiculously busy these days, I have managed to spend a little time in the kitchen trying out a few new recipes. You know I prefer baking over the three-course meal planning, so flour, eggs and avocado take the stage.

I found a handwritten Lemon Nut Bread recipe that was tucked into a 2002 People magazine in the cellar. It wasn’t your writing so you must have gotten it from a friend. Anyway, total success on that one. I shared the loaf with Jim, Brian, and Kathy, and received all thumbs up. It’s always a happy feeling when people like your creations. I’m trying to build up the courage to try that jelly roll recipe you are famous for. Maybe for your birthday.

I’m working on a new story this month. It’s a piece involving food. Food that’s okay to eat, food that maybe we shouldn’t eat and invoking our superpowers to choose accordingly. Meditating on all of this made me think of you. All the meals we’ve shared over the years along with the laughter and rushing to the bathroom from laughing so hard. I mean it when I say this, Mom, those memories really shine. Our laughter fests during mealtimes? The best!

You with the gout flare-ups and me with kidney disease. Hey, lots of fun, right? Remember the pretend cooking show we did? Hilarious!

Did I ever tell you how terrified I was when you finally came home from rehab after the fall which broke your hip? It was a couple days after my 56th birthday.

Before I get to that, I want to compliment you on the James Bond smooth maneuver you pulled off back then. Do you remember? You had nonchalantly asked me for the Busy Day Cake recipe a few days prior. So cleverly sly, yet  innocent, I never suspected a thing. It was my seventh year of home hemodialysis. Running a bit behind, I arrived about an hour late. There you were in your wheelchair waiting for me in the entryway. You had gotten your hair done at the salon. You looked so beautiful. We wheeled our way back to your room and the most wonderful surprise was waiting for me. On the dresser, splendidly decorated, was the birthday cake you had made for me in your occupational therapy session. I still tear up thinking about the special effort you made for my birthday. Thanks, Mom, for that amazing memory.

Now, about that feeling of terror. It was great to have you back home after a month and a half of daily trips to see that you were doing okay. My dialysis treatments were a breeze compared to what you went through.

What made me gulp back anxiety and fear at that homecoming was the knowledge of now being responsible for getting meals to the table. My forays into meal prep were few and far between up until then. After all, between you and my hubby, I was lovingly well fed.

I like to eat; I enjoy learning nutrition stuff and I do fairly well in terms of sustenance for my own body. But would my way of eating fit well with you?

As it turned out, Mom, you were happy with most of our food experiences. Hearing you say I make a mean omelet and the best salads ever was encouraging. A real confidence booster. Thank you.

After my second kidney transplant on April 8, 2014, I know it took a few months for things to settle down. But we melded back to doing our best and continued trying new recipes like that delicious baked egg custard and the chia pudding. I know the kale thing was a surprising success as well. The quinoa experiment, not so much.

Thanks, Mom, for showing me some of your cooking secrets. Especially the beef stroganoff. I’m still mystified at what it takes to duplicate your blue-ribbon meatloaf.

So, this food piece I’m writing? It’s like an essay thing for the Renal Support Network. If the judges like it, I could win a prize. Like you always said, you never know unless you try.

I love you, and miss you lots, Mom. I’ll write again soon. And that jelly roll recipe? Wish me luck. Smiles!

Love always,

la versión en español de Uno nunca sabe a menos que lo intente por Sandra Kisselback aqui

why get a kidney transplantSandra Kisselback has a passion for wood, unicorns, writing and learning new things. There is a magic fairy door, a unicorn in a Little Miss Sunshine mug and soccer playing dogs picture in her vision corner. Kidney transplant in 1994 and 2014. Birthdays should be celebrated with gusto!

More essays by Sandra Kisselback:

Cape of TRIUMPH – 2nd Place Winner, 17th Annual Essay Contest

Squirming Toward My New Normal – 2nd Place Winner (Tie) 15th annual essay contest

Temporarily Speaking – Honorable Mention Winner, 12th Annual Essay Contest

“The Case of the New Shoes” – 1st Place Winner, 10th Annual Essay Contest

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