Today is your due date. It is 11:36 a.m. and you are not here. You have shown no real signs of wanting to be here. That’s ok. I am usually late to stuff too, so maybe this is the first quality that you’ll take from me. Together, we will annoy your dad for the rest of our lives.
I have done a lot in the past few weeks. I have cooked enough meals that if I did not leave the house for a month, we could still eat well. Don’t worry, if you tear my insides up on your way out, it doesn’t matter because I won’t be having to stand up in the kitchen for any length of time. The freezer shelves are packed carefully with lasagnas with homemade sauce and enchiladas and stuffed peppers and other things that are easy to thaw and throw in the oven. Those all sound like dinner foods, huh? Well don’t worry, because we also have roasted chickens and roast beef for lunches and breakfast food too: batches of muffins and pumpkin bread and fresh granola bars. And snickerdoodles and chocolate peanut butter cookies and oatmeal scotchies for dessert. It is ridiculous, but I couldn’t stop.
There are still some things I have not finished, but I don’t know that they’re too necessary. Like I haven’t made the mobile to go above your crib (that your little eyes won’t even be able to focus on for months), and I haven’t made the clock (that you won’t be able to read for years). All of the important things are in place, you have a carseat an diapers and a crib an a beautiful room, and most of all, parents and grandparents and lots of friends to love you.
Today we planned fun stuff to do, in case this day comes and goes and you are not ready to come out yet, so that we are not sitting there, staring at each other, waiting. But really we are still waiting. Anticipating. We are just doing it at a coffee shop surrounded by life. There’s a table of four people next to us learning French, a couple who looks like they’ve just recently met and are getting to know each other. There are people reading and studying and to my left there’s a woman from Colombia writing letters, and today, an old friend is the barista. So, we will wait, and we will mask our waiting with activities and plans and conversation, but really, we are just excited for you to get here.
So when you are ready, we will be ready too. Ready to love you with a love that I don’t even thing we understand yet.
Cranberry Vanilla Granola Bars
Makes 16 granola bars, one 9×13 pan.
2 cups oats (old-fashioned, not quick-cooking)
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut, loosely packed
2/3 cup honey
2 T. pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat your oven to 350. Butter a 9×13 pan and line it with parchment paper.
Pour the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Dump the ingredients into a mixing bowl and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
Add honey, vanilla and salt to the oat mixture and stir until everything is coated in honey, then stir in the cranberries. Dump the mixture into your 9×13 pan and press it into the pan (if you wet your fingers, it’s a little bit easier because the granola won’t stick to your fingers. Get it packed in there as tightly as you can.
Bake about 25 minutes, until light golden brown.
Cool for a few hours, then wedge the giant granola rectangle out of its pan and place it on a cutting board. Use a long, serrated knife to cut the giant rectangle into bars. Put the granola crumbles in a bag for yogurt topping later.
Now, here’s the key. Store these bars and granola-crumb bag in the freezer. They will last longer and be crunchy…rather than awkwardly sticky granola If you want them for on-the-go eating, wrap them individually in foil and put them all in a plastic bag in the freezer. That’s what I did.