Identity. It’s the word of the hour in our household. My little one has staunchly claimed ownership of hers. Her sweet voice belts out “It’s mine!” in clear tones that vibrate between the walls of our home. During a tickle-war timeout she’ll softly repeat after me “pretty girl” with a shy smile. When after several failed attempts, she manages to stack her blocks just so, she simply states “try again good girl.”
Each day brings with it new jokes, expressions, likes, and dislikes. I am often in awe of her developing confidence and the beauty of her personality. I thank God that I have the opportunity to be her mother and am humbled by that privilege.
My changing identity on the other hand, has been causing me some confusion lately. Moving back to Texas from Israel has put me in doubt of my social graces. I find myself replaying conversations in my mind, questioning whether or not I gave my opinion too freely, interrupted too much, or spoke too loudly; all tactics which were necessary for surviving a conversation on the streets of Tel Aviv.
Then again, it could be motherhood that’s brought out a stronger, more direct side. There’s nothing like breastfeeding in public, or a screaming baby in a grocery store to rid you of most social anxieties. Once you’ve stood in line for an elevator in a crowded mall as your baby catapults spit-up over your shoulder, there are really no niceties left to worry about.
There’s also the evolving question of motherhood and career. It’s a constant ticker running through my mind: How will the profession I choose, for how many hours a day, effect her positively or negatively?
I haven’t figured out the answers to most of these questions yet, but what I do know is that I want to live honestly, joyfully, bravely, and wisely, so that my daughter will have the confidence to do so as well.
I decided that the versatility of tofu perfectly characterized the mood in our house. I’ve served my little foodie dishes with tofu before, but never as the main staple. She tends to name the tofu whatever vegetable or flavor it’s served with. Whether she proudly calls it a potato, cauliflower, or pasta, she always seems to enjoy it as she stuffs it into her little mouth.
I made Tosca Reno’s tofu fajitas and they were yummy! My sweet girl ate a deconstructed version, inhaling each ingredient separately, rather than as a wrap, but she loved it all the same. I added a red bell pepper, nixed the sour cream, and stuck in some slices of avocado. I served it with roasted sweet potato wedges, or what my daughter refers to as “sweet fries.”
While I may still be trying to figure out my new role as a mother, trying to fit in again in South Texas, and while my daughter stakes her claim in just about everything that she can, tofu at least will be whatever we want it to be, no questions asked, without judgment.