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Lunch with Sophie

30 Jun

This past weekend we drove to Toronto to have lunch with Sophie.  Sophie is one of many amazing children who are in my life, yet belong to other people.  I am a step-mother, and an aunt.  Being an aunt is easy, being a step-mother is not.  No little girl ever grows up thinking ” I can’t wait until I have step-children.”  It is a role that comes with even fewer training manuals than being a birth parent.  Someone should write one, I have a title; What to expect when you’re helping raise other people’s children who have so far been raised with completely different morals, values and expectations (including curfews) than your own.”  I know it’s a bit wordy, but it’s a start.  I’m a step-mother and as far as I can tell, I’m not evil, although at times…it’s not easy.  Often step parents try their best only to have their good intentions mistrusted and questioned by those who are sometimes only able to see through the lens of hurt and disappointment.  And then there are the kids themselves?   if I  didn’t grow up wanting to be a step-mom, they for sure didn’t grow up wanting one. Usually the battle lines were drawn at the table.  I am a cook, a cook who trained at the Stratford Chef’s school my trade is something that I am so proud of; the refusal to eat my food, to even try my food was more painful than a bad restaurant review.  At one time in my life I cooked for people who like what I made and who actually paid for it, yet the kids wouldn’t budge ,weren’t impressed and refused to believe that I hadn’t poisoned anyone, yet.  I was once well known for making “the best lemon tart” outside of California, only to find out that no one likes  lemons, even the sight of them would make them gag, (insert kid gagging sounds anywhere here.)  But somehow, we have all survived. I have toned it down, they have grown up and somehow we have met in the middle.  And now we choose to spend time together, which is why we were in Toronto to see Sophie.

Sophie has moved to Toronto to pursue her dream of becoming a top-notch super talented hair stylist, something that she has wanted to do since I first met her when she was in grade school.  A wrong turn along the way landed her at university in a program that she hated.  Sophie had the courage and the wisdom to change her path before she became someone else, before she lost her passion and her dream.  So now she’s in Toronto at a good school in a program suited for her, and she loves her life.  It’s not easy, she says she “eats a lot of pancakes because pancake mix is cheap.”   Listening to her talk at the restaurant about how happy she is and how she feels she’s really learned so much already, filled me with a sense of awe and a new-found respect.  At nineteen Sophie had the guts to choose her own way.  How many of us were/are able to do that?  How many of us are living an authentic life and are living true to our dreams?

So to Sophie, I want to say I know that you will be successful because this is what you want.  And the next time you come home, I promise I’ll cook you whatever you want, just no pancakes right?

Here’s the food part of this post, we ate at a great wood oven  pizza restaurant on Queen St. East, Queen Margherita pizza, Sunday lunch, three course prix fixe $20.00 per person.  There was a choice of three apps., any pizza off of the menu and a choice of two desserts.  I had an arugula salad, my favorite pizza, the Margherita and a yummy super creamy Nutella mousse for dessert.  Sophie ordered the homemade ricotta has a starter, then had the four cheese.  DJR ordered the salad as well and then a mushroom, spicy sausage pizza.  The food was very good, and the room was fantastic. It was filled with light, the original casement windows lined one wall of the dining room,  and wood fired oven anchored one end of the space.  The floors were paint spattered concrete.  It felt hip and urban and welcoming.  Everything seemed to work; the food, the space, the wait staff, the company.  We had a really good lunch at a restaurant that I can’t wait to go back to with Sophie, who I can’t wait to see again.