When you are holed up in the NICU, you don’t have time to cook because all of your time is spent in the NICU or traveling to or from the NICU. You may not even have much time to eat. Eating is prohibited in most NICUs, so a trip to the lounge or lobby is required for a meal or snack.
Since you just want to be next to your baby, your meal or snack is usually a hurried affair. You quickly exhaust the hospital cafeteria’s menu selection and then scavenge the nearest fast-food options. At the end of the day, the best gift is a homemade meal from a friend.
I enjoy cooking. My mother cooked everything from scratch, partially because our big family lived on a tight budget but also because the food simply tasted better homemade. She learned to cook from her mother, who was a chef at a restaurant for many years before turning to catering. She is now in her 80s and still cooks in her two kitchens at home (one is not enough).
Food has always been my fix, and I often assume it fixes everyone else’s problems. Having a bad day? Let me bring you some good dark chocolate. Coming down with a cold? Hot chicken noodle soup is on the way. Recently had a baby? Here comes a large serving of lasagna for the family, plus extras for the freezer. Feeling lonely? I am on my way with popcorn and clementines.
All right, I know food can’t fix these problems, but it is my way of showing that I care. It is a little slice of happiness for the soul.
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