Being a single parent can be difficult. However, what is sometimes almost more difficult than being a single parent is telling someone you are on your own.
Last weekend the kids and I went to a party. I met the nicest woman and we were having a lovely conversation. But, as often seems to be the case, she inevitably made reference to my husband. When this happens in a conversation, I have two choices:
- Nod and keep up the friendly conversation without ever mentioning that I’m divorced. It’s not a lie, just an omission, right?
- Try to casually (and cheerfully) mention the lack of said husband, then make mostly futile attempts at continuing the conversation.
Option one is best when it works, but all too often it leads to a more awkward moment later in the conversation when a direct question, like “So, what does your husband do for a living?”, is asked and I am then forced to acknowledge my divorce while the other person wonders why I’ve been letting them ramble on about marriage for the past ten minutes.
Option two, however, almost always leads to an immediate halt in the conversation as the other party struggles for something to say and I try to deflect the awkwardness with optimism – see, it’s okay, I’m happy, don’t worry, it’s fine, no big deal. The conversation generally ends at about this point.
There really just isn’t a good way to sweep past the subject, especially when I’ve got my four kids in tow. It’s almost as big of a problem as who is going to take out the trash every week. Trash is not my job. And yet, I’m the only one here.
It’s a real problem, but not so real that it can’t be remedied by a good bowl of noodles. These Asian Veggie Peanut Noodle Bowls are the best because I taught my kids how to make them. Now, it’s almost like going out to lunch! They’ll even serve it up for me if I ask really nicely.
The kids like this recipe because they get to pick and choose which veggies they want in their bowls. They also enjoy all the chopping- they will even lobby for more vegetables if it means more chopping. Unless you’re Ada who would rather stick to safer kitchen activities like shaking up the dressing in a jar.
This is our favorite lunch lately and it’s a big step up from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s one thing that is working well these days.
Unfortunately, I will probably keep having uncomfortable conversations about my marital status. I will probably also keep eating these noodles that my kids like to make. So, it all kind of evens out in the end.
Now, if only I could remember to take out the trash every week . . .
- 12 oz. soba noodles
- 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 5 cups chopped veggies, like red cabbage, snow peas, radishes, cucumber, bell pepper, broccoli slaw, carrots, bean sprouts
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- Cook noodles according to package instructions. Reserve ⅓ cup pasta water. Drain noodles and set aside.
- Combine the oil, tahini, nut butter, honey, tamari, vinegar, and pepper in a jar. Shake until well combined. Using the reserved pasta water, thin the sauce, adding about a tablespoon of water at a time, until the sauce is about the consistency of heavy cream. Toss cooked noodles with the sauce until well coated. Stir in the veggies of choice, then top each bowl with a sprinkle of cilantro and nuts.