When I was a little kid, I imagined myself to grow up to run a restaurant. I used to open the cabinet doors in the kitchen and pretend they were the swinging doors to a restaurant kitchen. I’d write up fake orders and tape them to the door and pretend to cook up delicious meals to my imaginary patrons. When I turned 9, it wasn’t pretending anymore. Mom had left, so Dad assigned the task of cooking to me. He would plan the menu for the week and tape it to the refrigerator. He’d prep the meals and leave me detailed instructions on how to cook them. By the time he came home from work, I’d have a hot meal on the table for him and my brother and sister. Baked stuffed pork chops for 4? No problem! Not bad for 9. My siblings were 16 and 18. I’m not really sure why they didn’t get this job. Well, I know why my brother didn’t…he was a boy. Boys got treated differently in my family. When mom left, it was my sister’s responsibility to babysit me every weekend. Never my brother. He got to go out and do whatever he wanted with his friends while she had to stay home with me, resenting me. I don’t blame her. It’s kind of a shitty deal, just because you’re a girl. I guess that’s why I got the cooking job. I was a girl and I was home after school. I was a “latch-key” kid. I’d let myself in, make a snack, do my homework, and cook dinner. Every night. Same routine. 9 years old, and I was pulling my weight, filling in for mom. I never questioned it. No one did. Whatever Dad said, was. I mean, if we weren’t going to question why mom left, why the hell would we question why a 9-year-old was cooking dinner every night? At that point, I was so numb, I was like a robot…so it really didn’t matter.
I’m not sure I even know what a normal childhood is anymore….
This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill. The prompt today is “cook” and my job is to write “organically”….no editing. Freestyle blabber….Merry Christmas!