Despite all that could have gone wrong this weekend, nothing did. Tiny white specks wafted leisurely at the car’s windshield as we drove to the airport. It was not until we had landed in New York that Richmond became slathered in depths of white snow.

While en route to class in the morning, tiny floating flakes chilled my face, and by the time I left school that evening, the city streets were coated in inches of grey slush. My son spent the day with my sister seeing just how alive New York remained when other cities would have found good reason to hunker down and rest. Buses and taxis kept pace with the snow and storefronts tracked wet footprints as people grabbed take-out and laundry detergent. By the next morning, the snow lining on the sidewalks was replaced with salt crystals and the hum of morning traffic gave no hint of a slowdown.

We finished our lessons in module two cooking crepes, waffles, and French toast and then moved onto salads and sandwiches. We ate brunch all day and took home breakfast dinners. On Sunday afternoon, we had our practical exam, which I had forgotten was this weekend – a reflection, not of my memory, but of how far I have come. This module marked a milestone all too familiar with the one before. Weeks ago, as I completed module one, I was remembering my father’s passing and this week marked the same for my mother. Although the vision of her short uneven sprouts of grey hair and sallow skin is in a chapter in my mind, the page I turn to each day is of her vibrant in the kitchen reaching out to hold me.

I prepped my station. The green beans brightened in boiling water and froze in color from the shock of ice that followed. In a sauté pan, blanched potatoes crisped, adorned with minced garlic and parsley. The pan for my steak was blazing hot. The meat sizzled as the outside crisped like autumn leaves with the inside still warm red. In the hour that passed, I crossed over another culinary threshold. The peace within me as I reached this juncture was, though, more significant.

We flew back home that night despite the storm that preceded us. When we arrived, I scraped the ice from my car in the late night hours, getting it ready to take to work in the morning. It was eighteen degrees outside. I wore my mother’s winter coat, and under her protection the first trip of the year moved us further than I had known we could.

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