Making Frybread With My Son
In Connecticut, March is a deadpan mother dragging us all like cranky toddlers through the grocery store. On one of these clay-grey days, my 15-year-old son plods down the stairs, a crumpled up recipe for frybread in his hand. He tells me about its history, how on the Long Walk the Navajo made this to endure the 300-mile journey: an attempt to sustain themselves with what little they were given. We make spheres with flour, lard, milk, press them into pans of oil. Halfway through, he adds more flour, then rubs his head. The flour turns his black hair grey, and I catch a glimpse of him at my age. Once the first few are cooled, we bite down, rolling the unfamiliar food around in our mouths. When he declares the experiment a failure, I don’t tell him that any time he comes to me with an idea, it never matters to me how it turns out. Most moms share wistfully about how they miss the days their kids were little, their arms and beds and soundwaves so full, they couldn't remember what emptiness felt like. But I can see ahead to mourning this: standing beside my teenage son with flour-greyed hair, enough space to move, but close enough to touch him. Soon, he's trudging back up the stairs, searching for something else to pass the long hours of March. I finish the second batch and drop in another, then stack tall a tray full of frybread no one will eat, preparing myself for the long journey.
4 replies on “Making Frybread With My Son”
That was a sigh of love, the heart didn’t print.
I love that you have captured the tender dance we do with our teen-to-adult children, wanting them close, giving them space. It really is a journey of two steps forward, one step back!
Such a resonant ending. Whew. Thank you for a powerfully captured moment.