The twirly and twisty noodles of a teriyaki salmon noodle bowl remind me of the complex feelings one feels when releasing a loved one into the world to fly on their own.
I suddenly got a bit of a nervous stomach and felt that sweet-sorrow type of flutter in my heart, that quickening pulse, when I heard the flick of the light switch as it was turned off in our son's room.
As his quick-paced and full-of-intention footsteps came down the hall and approached the living room where I was sitting on the couch, he gave a shout out to my husband and I, “OK guys...I guess I'm gonna get going then!”, and I quickly rose to my feet. At that point, my hubby came into the living room too.
The scent of our son's cologne suddenly filled the room.
“You've got everything? Your phone charger? Laptop charger? You got your wallet?” I asked. I'm all mom, I can't help myself.
“Yes, I've got everything”, my son replied to me with that very specific mixture of excitement and also slight nervousness that, though being masked, a parent can still detect.
“Well...Ok then. Listen: God go with you, and please be safe; and please, please text when you arrive!” I added as we each gave our final farewell hugs and smooches before my hubs and I were left standing alone in our living room sans child (well, man-child), listening through the open window as his car door shut and he started up the engine.
As I peered through the blinds trying not to be seen, I turned to my hubs and quietly mumbled, “I hope he doesn't forget to turn his headlights on, he's only got his parking lights on right now”—that very moment, the headlights came on.
I looked at my hubs and smiled, sheepishly.
We wanted so desperately to come out on the porch and wave at him like those parents you see in some made-for-TV movie or commercial, tears in our eyes, a pair of sentimentals, watching our son drive off with a trunk full of supplies he gathered from home—paper towels, toilet paper, room heater, bath towel, clothing, etc., etc.— on his way to his new “home” for the time being, his barracks at his permanent duty station for the next few years for the Marine Corps; but we held back as not to embarrass him and possibly make a sensitive and poignant moment that much more difficult for all of us.
Our bird had officially flown out of our nest. Well, mostly.
Truth is, he's only about an hour and some change away from us, and we'll get to see each other most weekends unless he's training; but there was something unique about this particular moment, this departure, and it felt like the beginning of a new chapter in our book.
This was a moment that I recognized as the first step toward a certain kind of real autonomy for our son, and the beginning of the rest of his life.
The emotions twisted in me like the noodles in this sweet and savory teriyaki salmon noodle bowl I'm sharing with you, partly excited for him and oh, so very proud; and yet slightly melancholy over the fact that “the moment” was finally here for us.
It was now our turn to release our child into the world, and whether or not I was ready for this didn't matter—he was ready.
But I knew that our home would probably never be quite the same, and I think we were experiencing a sort of mild “mourning” of that.
We felt joy and excitement for him to get the chance to experience living life and making decisions on his own, and even having the freedom to make his own mistakes, learn from them, and grow.
This was now his chance to live life.
It's not emotionally easy to release the ones that we love into the world to fly on their own, and to have full freedom to do as they wish, but it's an amazing and necessary part of life.
Releasing our loved ones and allowing them to fly, to find out who they are, what they are made of, and what life holds for them, is the best way to experience an authentic relationship.
We all want freedom, and we all want to be able to learn how to fly.
And if we have freedom, we choose whether to come back or not; we choose what we want to do.
And relationships forged in freedom—whether parent/child, husband/wife/, or even friendships—these are the relationships that bring the most fullness to our lives, because they are authentic.
And speaking of...
Just as I'm finishing this post, but who would I get a text from? You guessed it.
“Installed that new shower head you guys got me, and it's awesome!” Glad we could be of help, son!
Life is something special.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Teriyaki Salmon Noodle Bowls with a Sesame-Ginger Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 2
• 2 skinless salmon fillets (about 1 pound total), cut into small, bite-sized cubes
• ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
• Pinch black pepper
• Canola oil
• 8 ounces uncooked brown rice noodles (I use spaghetti style), cooked according to package instructions and held warm
• Sesame-Ginger Sauce (recipe below)
• Scallions, for garnish
• Sesame seeds, for garnish
-Place the cubed salmon into a bowl, and drizzle over the teriyaki sauce, plus sprinkle in some black pepper, and toss to coat well; allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight if making ahead.
-Place a non-stick grill pan (or even a skillet if you don't have a grill pan) over medium heat, and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of canola oil; once hot, add in the salmon cubes and sear just until cooked through and slightly caramelized; place onto a plate or into a bowl to hold.
-Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and pour in about half of the Sesame-Ginger Sauce to start with; once warm, add in the cooked brown rice noodles, and using tongs, coat the noodles in the warm sauce, adding more sauce as needed.
-Add the warm noodles to a bowl, and top with about half of the grilled teriyaki salmon, plus some scallions and a sprinkle of the sesame seeds.
Sesame-Ginger Sauce Ingredients:
• ¼ cup soy sauce (you can use low-sodium, if preferred)
• 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
• 2 tablespoons canola (or vegetable) oil
-Add all ingredients to a jar with a lid (or, if you don't have one, use a bowl) and vigorously shake until well-blended and emulsified (you can whisk everything if using a bowl); use immediately, or keep in fridge until ready to use.