Wednesday, April 4, 2012

She loves General Tso's: A Book Update

This is totally going on the jacket of the book. At least that's done. 
Lily is sort of a vegetarian who eats chicken tenders. The breading, apparently, makes them seem less meat-like. She won't, however, eat Morningstar Chick Patties, because they are not real chicken. Other than chicken tenders, the kid will consume just about any fruit or vegetable (minus potatoes), provided there are not any fancy sauces, other than garlic and olive oil. I've seen her house a plate of raw lima beans. I've also watched as she has eaten an grapefruit and then asked for some kale chips. I've caught her eating raw basil and oregano and even lavender, straight from my garden. She adores Miso Soup, the way other kids eat cheeseburgers.

I would like to say that she is making a political statement on the karma of eating animals or protesting against processed-vegan-fake-meat products (that defy vegan logic) or is simply a plant-eater in the making. But, alas, Lily is a fickle eater. In a house where we could have anything ranging from burritos to seared ahi tuna on a Tuesday night, Lily often ends up with a plate of frozen mixed vegetables and pasta with olive oil.

It is maddening.

The day she demanded General Tso's chicken, extra spicy, I was shocked. And then when she ate it; I fainted and tweeted about it to my 3 followers.  Yes, General Tso's is very, very fried. And yes the sauce is filled with sugar, oodles of it.

But, finally we had a child who was eating an actual "dish," a food item that is made with an actual recipe; something with a sauce--a sauce!!! It felt like a miracle. It still does. Maybe someday we will convince her that marinara sauce is not poison.

I never would have predicted this startling turn of eating events.

Just like I never would have predicted that my daughter would have a brain tumor.

And that is the book I am writing. My memoir, about being Lily's mother. Not that I think I am anything special--just the opposite. But Lily is special and so are the 46 children diagnosed with childhood cancer everyday.  The 46 families--mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and best friends--they are special. The world needs to know and since I have a big mouth and fast typing fingers, I know, in my heart and my soul and in every vein, that it is my job to do it.

Since September, I struggled with this self-study. My Dad died and I felt a shift in my course and became distracted with the notion of writing a book about growing up with an old man dad--a grandfather dad. That subject was and is extremely attractive: after all I know how that story ended. My Dad died.

I don't know how Lily's story will end or in some ways, the various beginnings it will have. I haven't a clue how my motherhood tale will go--how being Lily and Chloe's mother will change the outcome of my own life and the lives of those around me. I have no idea how cancer will continue to be an enormous portion of our life--both its absence and its former presence.

The uncertainty of it all became a distraction and briefly, very briefly,  tossed me off course. But here I am, eating General Tso's Chicken for 12th time this month and writing my story.

It is always startling around here.


P.S. Remember my original deadline of Chinese New Year? Well, since I am my own boss (don't tell my children) and make my own calendar, I've decided that Chinese New Year is a floating holiday. I'll just use it when it is convenient. If you are completely confused by my Chinese references,  here is where I began with the book:

Egg rolls, an agent and a book (February 2011)

Update on Chinese New Year and other chaos (April 2011)

It's been a while since I had a good eggroll: the book  January 2012


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