A Hibachi Moment


March SOLC–Day 20

Hiss! Sizzle! Woosh!  Flame leaps off the grill and the nearby diners gasp and applaud. Two of our three children, Connor and Lydia, are heading back to school tomorrow and we wanted to spend the last evening together. We opted for Hibachi–a delicious, sensory explosion.  Flaming grills, juggled eggs, flashing blades, volcanic onions and vegetable missiles equal guaranteed fun.

imgres-1.jpgThe downside of hibachi is the noise of the grill and the potentially encroaching volume of the conversations of the assorted groups seated around it.  On the periphery of our group, I tried hard to focus, not wanting to hear the admiring Trump comments on my left (especially with sharp implements close at hand), and unable to fully hear our group’s conversations. With my son’s girlfriend with us, we were a group of 5. That seemed odd to me.  5 is our family number. Countless reservations, tickets, and orders for 5 at countless places over countless years. How can we be 5 when Adeline (my older daughter) isn’t here? She’s been studying in England since January and to me, her absence is palpable. Our group is incomplete: tonight 5 doesn’t equal 5.

“I miss Addie right now,” I said to Lydia, then paused. “Actually I miss her whenever I breathe,” I added, somewhat melodramatically.
“Well, then, don’t breathe,” suggested Lydia, helpfully. We both laughed and a quiet moment passed.
“I’m going to miss you, too,” I said.
“I know,” she said, “I don’t feel like I’ve had much time off.” She rested her head on my shoulder and tucked her arms around me. I leaned into her and kissed her forehead, relishing her affection, her proximity. I looked across the grill at my son, sitting between his girlfriend and his father. I couldn’t hear what was said but I watched him as they chatted, saw the expressions flit across his face. This was his final spring break. He’s graduating in May and won’t be living at home this summer. Possibly not ever again.

Hiss! Sizzle! Woosh!  The flames leapt into the air again, a bit blurry now. I blinked and deliberately shook off the mood, the melancholy. I leaned back into Lydia, into the conversation, determined to enjoy the time I had right now and count each moment as precious.

There will be plenty of time for missing later.


16 thoughts on “A Hibachi Moment

  1. Thank you for sharing this precious moment with us, Molly. You’ve written about it beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janie Fahey says:

    Missing is hard. It took me a year to prepare myself before my son went to college. I knew once he left, he’d never really be back – only a short stint here and there. Now I’m preparing for my daughter to leave. One more year then off she goes. Does it get any easier?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I am so thankful for today’s technology that bridges distances so easily. I’ve also been fortunate that my kids are all at a college relatively close to home and have chosen to spend their vacations here–up to this point. The moving out forever deal is tough…


  3. jennieb says:

    Beautifully written! My son is only ten, but your post makes me miss him already!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kimberley says:

    This broke my heart a little. Luckily I have a while before my littles are off and I know it will be completely bittersweet. I love hibachis, but they make for difficult intimate meals.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cindy says:

    Oh Molly you choose your words so carefully and it makes your readers feel your melancholy right with you. I love you how describe how time seemed to stop as you reflected on these moments at dinner. My favorite part is your last line- there will be plenty of time for missing later which is a good reminder to be present in the moment. Sending you a hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rita K. says:

    I love the way this story circled back using the same sound words at the beginning and end. Our five children have been out of the nest for a while now. How well I remember the heartache…so much so that one of the reasons we downsized was that I couldn’t stand the view of all the empty bedrooms. The good news is they all live within twenty minutes and now, they have great spouses for me to love and nine wonderful grandchildren that light up my life. Full circle!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. emily1103 says:

    Growing up is hard–I only ever thought about it from the kid side (the only perspective I’ve ever had,) but this is so poignant. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Melanie Roy says:

    While I was pregnant a Brad Paisley song came on the radio about a son leaving for college and I burst into tears. My husband said, “We haven’t even had this baby and you’re already crying about college?” We cannot help it. They are ours and we want them near us. You seem to have a really loving family. I can see how you were missing your daughter and dreading the thought of the others going away. I’m glad you were able to shake yourself out of it to enjoy the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amy says:

    I’m glad you could deliberately shake off the mood, even though the night wasn’t exactly how you would like it. I’ve been there too. When Addie arrives home celebrate your time with her, which I’m sure you will. And, I hope there wasn’t any hibachi drama with anyone getting doused in sake. The noise is a challenge in itself!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I miss my daughter in every breath if I think about it. She writes in the Slice Challenge, and I love the glimpses into her world. When we are all together, and our number is 6, every moment matters! I hear you! Love the juxtaposition of the flames and the story. Also, I would have been right there handing you sharp objects. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Melanie–I love that your daughter writes in the Slice Challenge. What a wonderful thing to share together. Also, thanks for offering to pass the sharps. I’ll keep that in mind!


  11. Linda Baie says:

    You wrote this so beautifully, like some wonderful part of a memoir, Molly. I just said goodbye to my son and daughter-in-law Friday. They are in another state now, & I always try to memorize the time with them, am so grateful they get to come often. It doesn’t get easier, yet there are good times ahead for you as your children become adults. I’m happy that you had this time together, and there will be others with your “missing” Adeline.

    Liked by 1 person

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