Cheese

by , posted on October 8th, 2010 in Red Writing Hood




My bare feet stick to the hardwood floor as I stop in front of the refrigerator.

I look down. Lift one of my feet. Juice, maybe. I love that my six year-old is pouring his own but his aim is about as good as it is in the bathroom.

That floor could probably also use a good washing. I’ll add it to the list. If I had a list. But at some point it stops being a list and just becomes more crap I won’t get done.

I shift the baby on my hip. He isn’t really a baby anymore, his chubby legs carry him everywhere, and yet his favorite spot is “up!”, where the view is better and he can clutch the back of my arm like a security blanket.

I kiss the top of his head, inhaling his scent of warm toast.

The sun streams through the window with the view of our back yard and the houses beyond and then the mountains farther still. The dirty wine glasses on the counter take on a more romantic glow, like they were hastily deposited after a romantic dinner between lovers too anxious for each other to bother with the dregs, instead of being the last resort when all the other glasses were already in the dishwasher.

Anakin Skywalker guides Ahsoka in their latest adventure on the television in the living room while Sawyer and Sage sit, transfixed.

I open the refrigerator. I see it immediately, through the clear top drawer.

Cheese.

A big block of orange cheddar, medium sharp.

It’s time.

It’s time.

I open the drawer. Grab the cheese. Put it on the cutting board. Unwrap an edge.

Then carefully, carefully, with a knife made just for this express purpose, I slice off an edge.

And hold it, cool and smooth, in my hand.

I look at X. He gazes back, his brown eyes serious.

I open my mouth and place the cheese on my tongue.

Close my eyes.

Remember.

It’s more than 15 months since I’ve last eaten cheese. Or dairy of any sort. Also wheat, soy, eggs and nuts among other things because X was sensitive and I wanted to nurse him that badly.

The cheese? That creamy, tangy corner of deliciousness? Still as amazing as ever.

I stand in the kitchen, with the sticky floor and the mountain view and the sun streaming through dirty glasses and the sound of light sabers and a softly breathing baby on my hip, and I roll that cheese around in my mouth and I think about how much I missed something so simple and how I would give it up again if it kept X from cramping and crying.

How this bite of cheddar is enough to make me feel a little bit more like myself.

I plop X on the couch in his second-favorite spot:  between his brother and sister, with the top of his toes poking just beyond the khaki cushions.

And I get out the mop.


This post was based on the prompt, “Describe a meal you loved.”

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71 Responses to “Cheese”

  1. Varda (SquashedMom) Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Just lovely. The details tell the story so beautifully, create such a visceral picture in my head. Nicely done, I love reading you.

    Also? Mmmmmmm, cheeeeese.
    Varda (SquashedMom) recently posted..Blanche- Age 93

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you, Varda. I can’t believe I lived without cheese for so long. It’s inhumane! lol

    [Reply]


  2. Florida Girl Meets the Midwest Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Really well done. I felt like I was there. Everything had a purpose. And the conclusion was perfect.

    Stopping by from the red dress club.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you – much appreciated!

    [Reply]


  3. They Come With Cheese » Cheese at Mommypants Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 9:40 am

    [...] at Mommypants wrote about cheese today: I stand in the kitchen, with the sticky floor and the mountain view and [...]


  4. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Hooray for cheese! Cheese is sooooooo good. I am truly in awe that you gave it up for 15 months. That’s mama love for you.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    That’s the ONLY kind of love that could stand giving up cheese that long!

    [Reply]


  5. Christy Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    so wonderfully written … dud I need some cheese now, lol. I envy your talent in writing descriptions!
    Christy recently posted..Sunday Afternoon Dinner

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Aw, thanks! And yes. I think I might have cheese for lunch!

    [Reply]


  6. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Himself is lactose intolerant.

    *I* don’t have to give it up, but I no longer cook with it.

    Oh, how I miss cooking with cheese.

    Also, my kids don’t like red meat, so no beef, almost no pork.

    This may be why I dream of McDonalds cheeseburgers.

    But to give up TOTALLY? For over a year??

    Oh sweetie…

    That’s love.
    Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points recently posted..Raccoons- 1- Lori- 0

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yep. And when people would say, “How could you do it?” I always said, “How could I NOT?”

    I haven’t eaten red meat in 16 years.

    You would hate being me! ;)

    [Reply]


  7. Salt Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    You painted such an incredible picture here!! I could almost taste that cheese.

    In fact, you’ve inspired me to get something cheesy for lunch!
    Salt recently posted..I’m featured on Fantabulously Frugal!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Ooh! What’d you get? Grilled cheese? Burrito? Pasta?

    [Reply]


  8. Anne Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    You are one dedicated Mama to go without cheese for 15 months. Delicious, tangy, beautiful post. I’m off to check out the Red Dress Club.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Oh! I hope you like The Red Dress Club! Lots of talented writers over there!

    [Reply]


  9. Rebekah C Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    LOVE This. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    It helps that I love cheese and have given up dairy for a nursling before. Oh that first bite of perfect, soft, sharp, tangy cheddar!

    Now I’m hungry…
    Rebekah C recently posted..Confessions of a Neurotic Social Butterfly

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I’m sure you can completely relate!!

    [Reply]


  10. Jen Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Food is such a big part of who we are. You drew such an interesting parallel between giving up what you eat and the piece of us that we temporarily give up when we have young kids.

    Lovely piece.

    And now I want some cheese.
    Jen recently posted..If You’re New Here…

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    You get me! You really, really get me! ;)

    [Reply]


  11. Shell Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Well done!

    Giving up those foods? Wow. My oldest didn’t do well with tomato-based stuff but that was it.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thanks! All three of mine had it. X was the only one who I got to nurse until he weaned.

    [Reply]


  12. Jen Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Oh, I can just taste it.

    And yup, anything forbidden is just that good. :)
    Jen recently posted..Kindergarten Social Drama

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It was SO good..

    [Reply]


  13. Nichole Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I am crying.

    I know that fierce determination to nurse a child who can’t tolerate dairy.
    I know that ache to nurse that overpowers all else.
    And, I too remember that first taste of cheddar, from the big Tillamook block.

    I love this piece…from the sticky floor to the dirty glasses…to the sunlight streaming in…you brought me in.

    And if I had truly been there, we would have stood in front of your refrigerator, eating slice after glorious slice of that cheese.

    Beautiful job, my friend.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you, and I look forward to our cheese-eating extravaganza soon..

    love you! xo

    [Reply]


  14. Booyah's Momma Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Oh, the things we give up for our little ones! Mine wasn’t lactose intolerant, but I did have to give up tomatoes and anything acidic when I was breastfeeding. And that first bite of lasagna or spaghetti when I was done? Heavenly.
    Booyah’s Momma recently posted..Confessions of a former sports widow

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It’s all the things we take for granted that we miss the most. Like cheese. And bread. And goldfish crackers!

    He wasn’t lactose intolerant (most babies aren’t), he was sensitive to milk protein. And lots of other stuff!

    [Reply]


  15. Cyrene @ Mum In FlipFlops Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Beautiful! The things we do (and give up) for our kids. :) I felt like I was right there with you and I could almost taste the cheese. Love this!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you! I’m eating cheese for lunch!

    [Reply]


  16. The Drama Mama Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not a cold cheese fan, but I could taste that cheese. I love your descriptions and how for that one moment, time just stopped. It’s like you had your own Calgon getaway with a slice of cheese. You can’t beat that! (I’m also giggling because as I was reading I was anticipating the words “I cut the cheese”. Yes, I am thoroughly 12. ;))

    I am going to do this prompt over the weekend. I had a theme this week, and didn’t want to deter from the seriousness of it.
    The Drama Mama recently posted..Raising Awareness- Living with Special Needs Day 4

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hee! I believe I used the word “slice” on purpose! lol

    The linky will be up til midnight tomorrow – hope you have chance to post!

    [Reply]


  17. Kat @ www.TodaysCliche.com Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    THAT SOUNDS SOOO flippin DELISH!! omg… so well written. So proud of you! Miss you!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you – miss too! Hope you are well!! xo

    [Reply]


  18. mommakiss Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I loooooooove cheese. Like a lot. Thank God my kids didn’t have issues w/ dairy, but I only nursed them for 4+mos each anyway. One of the girls who was with us this past weekend, who was pumping and dumping, enjoyed cheese, milk, spice – she said it was like an O in her mouth she missed it all so much.
    mommakiss recently posted..Friday Flip Offs 108

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Oh yes…she got it right!!

    [Reply]


  19. Jessica Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve been following you on Twitter for a bit, but just finally got around to getting to your blog. (One of those things that’s always on my list!) Can I just say I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the design of your blog? So simple and yet so captivating. The theme, the look, your words. Love it all! I’m so glad I finally stopped by.

    Ok, about the cheese. You are superwoman for holding off that long. I love my babies with all my heart, but no cheese? No dairy..which means no ice cream? Hmm…I’m not sure I could do it.

    I’m still browsing through your site, but I’m still trying to figure out why your youngest is “X”. He’s senstive to foods, obviously, but I’m guessing there is MUCH more to his story. I’ll keep looking.

    Have a great day!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Wow, thank you! I really appreciate it. I had it designed and I’m really happy with it.

    No big mystery about X! His name is Xander. I’m just too lazy to write his name so I always refer to him as X in print!

    [Reply]


  20. joann Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Oh my gosh. Oh. My.
    This is my ultimate favorite post of yours in the recent history. Um, I love the words and the word pictures and the poetry of it all AND You are JUST TALKING ABOUT CHEESE!
    which shows how significant everything is. Especially cheese. I LOVE THIS.
    I rarely freak out about how much I love something but I really really really really really love this.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Well, you know, I’m not just talking about cheese. In fact, I’m really not talking about cheese at all, but about getting some of myself back. Which I’m thinking you totally got. Which is why I heart you.

    Also? That goat was ADORABLE! Altho they scare me with those creepy eyes. Otherwise? Cute!

    [Reply]


  21. MommyLisa Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    WOW. That is a long time without cheese…

    And I love it too.

    Great blog I will now be following!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you – much appreciated!!

    [Reply]


  22. Jessica Anne Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I love how something as simple as cheese can make you feel like your old self and not just someone’s mom. Of course, cheese is a magical food.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It really is magical, isn’t it?

    [Reply]


  23. Candice Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    It’s funny but my friend and I say that chocolate and cheese are on the top wrung of our food pyramid and then the rest comes after. OOOHHH glorious cheese how I love you.
    Candice recently posted..Frying Up Some Love

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    There really is nothing better than those two things. Altho I really, really miss peanut butter..

    [Reply]


  24. Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    LOVE this! I really need to jump on this fiction bandwagon!! Oh and I love cheese too. Like…a lot.
    Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation recently posted..HOLY Theta!!! Check Me Out!!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    YES! You’d better get in on the Red Writing Hood, sister!!

    [Reply]


  25. Carrie Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I couldn’t imagine giving up a food. So glad I’ve never had to deal with allergies while breastfeeding.

    OMG, I so want a pice of cheese now!
    Carrie recently posted..Red Writing Hood- Holiday memories

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yep, allergies suck. The good news is they’ve all outgrown most of them (except for my eldest with his peanut/tree nut allergy).

    [Reply]


  26. angela Says:

    October 8th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    My daughter was sensitive to milk protein and soy, so I had to give those things up until she weaned at 11 months. (And what’s up with some form of milk being in absolutely everything?) I could taste the cheese with you here, and I appreciate the sentiment that you would do every second of it again if necessary. As always, wonderful writing!
    angela recently posted..All Dressed Up

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I know! I found dairy in deli meat, hot dogs and even salsa!! And yes, I would do it all over again if I had to. But luckily he weaned himself at almost 16 months and he’s my last child, so it’s full steam ahead from now on!

    [Reply]


  27. Jill Says:

    October 9th, 2010 at 2:51 am

    I love your writing! And oh, how I feel your pain. I was the same way with Blake. Welcome back to dairy!!
    Jill recently posted..48 whole hours!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you! And I’ve *possibly* been indulging in a little too much dairy!

    [Reply]


  28. Style Maniac Says:

    October 9th, 2010 at 8:27 am

    just … really well written. You capture a whole life in that moment.
    Style Maniac recently posted..PUMPKIN LOVE

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you. I really appreciate it!

    [Reply]


  29. Erin Says:

    October 9th, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    That is love. Fortunately my girls didn’t seem too sensitive to things I was eating. Plus I had twins and by the time they were 3 months old, I’d had enough and quit, switched to formula….

    I can almost feel and taste the cheese. Excellent, amazing job.
    Erin recently posted..Flashback Friday- Channeling My Inner Rockstar-Madonna

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thanks, Erin! I really, really do love my little guy. Temper tantrums and all!

    [Reply]


  30. Minnesota Mamaleh Says:

    October 10th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    what an absolutely amazing post! your writing is divine and your commitment to nursing is inspiring as well! and as for the mop? *sigh* good luck lady! if your apple juice stickiness is anything like ours’– yu-uck! i’m so glad that i came across your blog today! :)

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hee! Juice is a whole puddle of nastiness, isn’t it? I’m also glad you came by. I have a tank top that says “mamaleh” on it which I love!

    [Reply]


  31. Kristy Says:

    October 10th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I was on a special diet when breastfeeding. It was so bland. It was excruciating. What a great idea for this prompt. Being able to indulge in something that you have sacrificed for so long.

    http://www.pampersandpinot.com

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    As soon as Nichole picked the prompt I knew exactly what to write about. It truly was a divine “meal’!

    [Reply]


  32. Stacey @ Entropified Says:

    October 10th, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    You got out the mop? Oh man, you’re too awesome.

    Who knew cheese could be soooooooo good?
    Stacey @ Entropified recently posted..The Cutest Smaller Editions

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Cheese. It’s never bad. Yum.

    [Reply]


  33. Ash Says:

    October 11th, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Ohhhhh cheese. And getting back to “normal.” Both extremely underrated.

    Especially cheese.
    Ash recently posted..“Steamed”

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Exactly. Especially the getting back to normal part. Or maybe the cheese. Okay, both. ;)

    [Reply]


  34. Nancy C Says:

    October 11th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I adore this. I, too, did the “I can eat five things” diet with my first born…cut out dairy for the second. All for nursing. That first sip of real coffee, that first bit of cheese…heaven.
    Nancy C recently posted..Three Meals in the Life of a Marriage

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It’s amazing how much I took “normal” eating for granted. Not anymore, though!

    [Reply]


  35. Natalie Says:

    October 13th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Cheese…yummy. One thing I would hate to have to give up.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yeah. It sucked. But it was SO worth it.

    [Reply]


  36. Jennifer Says:

    July 6th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I am so glad to hear that some one else had to do this! My second child has me on a no dairy diet, and I have a couple of months left. I did the same thing for my first baby too.
    Thanks for writing about this topic

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    You are definitely not alone!!!

    [Reply]


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