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Measuring Milestones in Pasta

When I look back on the first years of our marriage, it seems like a life that belongs to someone else....

We were living an hour's ferry ride from Seattle. Jason was in the Navy, and I had a great job in retail management.

Seattle. On two incomes. Unlimited access to fresh Pacific seafood. Gourmet groceries. Cutting edge microbrews.

Even though our galley kitchen was roughly the size of a mini van, we loved cooking together. We seared meat and bumped into each other and roasted vegetables and danced and tried new things. Jason filled every corner of that tiny kitchen with his voice, drinking whiskey and singing along to songs from our wedding. It was perfect.

Fresh, homemade pasta was one of our favorite indulgences.

Comfort food with a hearty serving of humor, as we scrambled to find places to lay the stretched dough on counters the size of postage stamps. With wine glasses covered in starchy finger prints, we filled raviolis with in season wild mushrooms, fresh Dungeness crab, local cheese....

Then the twins were born.

Their nursery was right off that little kitchen. If you've ever had a new baby, you know the value of sleep. And if you've ever had two new babies, you know you would willingly sustain on stale bread and dusty water for days if it means keeping them both asleep. We literally didn't even use the microwave when they were napping.

Tip-toeing replaced dancing. Whispering replaced singing. The microbrews were pushed aside for bottles of breastmilk. And the pasta attachment for the mixer was carefully packed away. Pasta making was much too hands-on for parents with two new babies.

We laughed when we moved that pasta maker from Bremerton to Moses Lake with two busy toddlers. Someday. Maybe.

When we moved from our rental in Moses Lake to the Pink Door House, with two busy toddlers and a new baby, I cried a few tears over that same pasta maker. Someone else's life, indeed.

Last week we reached a milestone in parenting.

The kids are finally self sufficient enough that Jason and I could make pasta together.

Sure, there were interruptions.

I lost my glass of wine four times.

And while we thought the kids would be fascinated with pasta-making, they were actually far too busy being superheroes.

Apparently Batman can't be bothered with the fact that spaghetti starts as flour and eggs.

My friend Katie was the first one to tell me, the days are long but the years are short.

Mamas and Papas, I know you're in the thick of it. You're changing diapers and wiping noses and picking dried macaroni and cheese off the floor.

But one day'll realize you have time to make pasta together.

A few weeks ago I was sketching at the dining room table during Eli's nap. I looked up and watched the girls playing in the next room. London noticed, and waved her little hand at me. Just go back to your project, she said.

Look, I know I am getting ahead of myself. Eli's not even potty trained yet. I have many more days of No Projects ahead. Many days of falling exhausted on the couch after they're all tucked in...before realizing the dishes are still waiting. The days are long.

But the years are short. Jason and I are making pasta again.

Before we know it, there will be homework. The orthodontist. Camping trips. Driver's Ed!

And as much as I sometimes want to fast forward the tough stuff, even more so I want to slow down the good stuff.

Because when it's good, it's So Good.

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