Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

What is Good Enough

I have Zee here cooking with me, the great delicacy known as Rice Krispies Treats. I have made them once before, just once. It was when GK and I were dating, and it was for Valentines Day. I am sure I put more effort into the card & the packaging than the actual treat. I know this because I burned them. It is virtually impossible to mess up Rice Krispies Treats, but I found a way. I have those kinds of skills.

There are parts of motherhood in which I must decide that I am good enough. I am a good enough cook. I am pretty sure that whenever I put my mind to a dish, it turns out delicious. (There have been a handful of failures, of course.) The thing is, it takes so much effort for me to cook. The shopping list. The recipe finding. The coordinating of which meal on which day, and the decision of what time to make each portion of the meal. I feel inadequate serving a main dish without two sides (vegetable & starch.) Oftentimes, I cook a main dish, and forget to start the side (like roasted cauliflower which takes 60+ minutes.) Or there are the days when my kids eat whatever I can piece together, because I don’t have the energy to do more than play referee all afternoon between them and the furniture.

I think I recently talked about laundry. And here I am talking about another ongoing task of household management. Cooking. I remember when cooking was more exciting, after first being married, and then having the chance to get a handle on how to really do this thing. To eat, and eat well. And after two years of marriage, I was sort of there. Then I had an internship for three years that wiped me out. No spare time. And cooking was gone.

Then kids arrived. It only gets harder with more mouths to feed. And my mom lives here now also, and portions are harder to figure out. Three adults, two kids- often I am short on the one hand, and overflowing on the other. Then again, she made dinner tonight. Thank God. With her making dinner, I had time to de-clutter sightly so that we can do our Christmas tree. We have guests coming tomorrow from out of town, old friends of GK’s. Thank God that I have two meals and ingredients that have been waiting in the wings for days, or I’d feel really overwhelmed. Marinated Caribbean salmon, and then baked potato with roasted grape tomatoes topped with feta cheese. Thank God, because I usually need an extra boost of inspiration to make it through what feels arduous: preparing a meal. I’d rather sleep.

So, being good enough. I wish it really felt like enough. And what is good enough. Is our little family of four good enough? Right now it’s hard to have to process that I am at a place where I have to re-evaluate if we can have a third child. I don’t know if I can do it. I actually don’t think I can. I could be wrong. But I have been angry at the outside circumstances that have changed my estimate of myself and have lessened my internal strength. The outside circumstances that made it so that I don’t have the strength… I’m angry about it. Why did things have to turn upside down for me? I liked it better before, when long ago happenings were left in the past, and where I had nothing but the future to look forward to. Now, I’m not there. GK assures me that this will pass. Maybe But, I don’t know if my embracing of a growing family will return. I am just tired now. And every break I have, I treasure. I am not sure I can invite another little person into our lives. I wish I could. We’ll see.

So This Adoption Story is now The Adoption Question. It’s a question that we have put off thinking about until after the holidays, but about which I think almost every day. I am wondering if I have to be okay with not being one of those moms who can do this thing of raising kids with gusto. Maybe I am a wimpy mom. Wanting more kids, but just not up to the job. Maybe I would be no good at having more kids, but I am good enough for the two that I already have. Or maybe also good enough for one more kid who needs a good family to take her in. Or maybe the family I already take care of, this good family… maybe this is enough for me.

It’s hard to let dreams go. But I don’t know if this dream will let me go.

We’ll see.

(written last week, posted now)

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