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Slipping through my fingers

I am going to have a first grader the next school year!

When I told my family that we have received Becca’s class schedule for school year 2021/22, Anton, my brother, asked me if I started singing the Abba song “Slipping Through My Fingers”, referencing a scene in Mamma Mia when Meryl Streep was reminiscing when her daughter, played by Amanda Seyfried, was a small girl leaving for school and her growing up into an adult.

I didn’t even think about that song until he asked, but that song is really applicable so I don’t even want to wallow in it because it will just make me sad.

When Becca started going to daycare and subsequently to kindergarten, all I felt was relief that I could have some small amount of time for myself. As a stay-at-home mom, I feel that most of my waking hours go to them, especially when they were smaller.

And now, Sarah is going to daycare. Once a week only, but the full day, so once a week, on Wednesday mornings, the house is quiet with no kids.

I won’t lie, sometimes I miss them, but I am always looking forward to Wednesdays now, so I can write or paint. I promised myself I won’t even do household chores on Wednesday mornings, that time is for myself, and myself alone. And it’s only two hours! From 9 to 11, because at 11, I would need to start preparing our lunch and at 11:30, I need to pick Becca up from kindergarten. She is still not ready to walk home herself, but I don’t mind because that is 2,000 steps back and forth.

Here, in Switzerland, driving your kids back and forth to school is discouraged. When Becca started going to kindergarten, we received a letter stating that she must walk to school, either with a parent or classmates, if she is not confident enough to go on her own yet. We should inform her teacher how she gets home so that if somebody has to pick her up, like a parent or a sibling, the teacher knows, or if that kid walks home alone, the teacher can also see if the kid is walking in the right direction of where they live. The kids are assigned their school by the city administration and it is usually within walking distance.

Of course, there are some parents, who still drop off their kids via car, but they are the exceptions. And I also do it, sometimes, usually when I have been out and I don’t have enough time to drop the car off at home and walk to kindergarten.

With the kids all walking to and from school, their faces become familiar to me and most times, we walk with Becca’s classmates, who live near us. One of them has become her current best friend and they are always playing together. With the weather becoming warmer, we have started allowing Becca to go outside on her own to play with her friends. Most times, Sarah would want to tag along, so I need to go out, too.

And, on those days, I need an easy dinner. I will often make Salmon Teriyaki. It is sweet, so the girls don’t complain when I serve it to them. I buy frozen salmon fillets (fresh salmon is hard to come by here in landlocked Switzerland) and they defrost quite quickly.

Any leftovers can be used as a filling for homemade sushi, or onigiri, too!

Salmon Teriyaki

(double or triple as needed)

2 salmon fillets, 125g each

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp sake

For the sauce:

Mix in a small bowl the following:

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sake

2 tbsp mirin

½ tbsp brown sugar

Roasted sesame seeds for garnish*

  1. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a pan with some cooking oil over medium high heat.
  3. Sear one side of the salmon for 2 minutes then flip, and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the 1 tbsp sake and cover and let steam for a minute.
  4. Remove the lid from the salmon and pour in the teriyaki sauce. Let it bubble and cook until reduced and quite thick. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle sesame seeds.
  5. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables.

Note:

* Give unroasted seeds a toss in a small pan over medium heat for 3 minutes until golden and fragrant.*

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