Pie #2: The sweet and tart

Pie #2: Strawberry-rhubarb tart
After my crust debacle, my next foray was going to entail my old, standby Martha crust whipped up in the food processor. I visited the farmer's market out at the community college in town to see what was ripe in the middle of June. I was ecstatic when I found rhubarb and fresh strawberries! I had never attempted a rhubarb pie....another new experience. When I got home I found this strawberry-rhubarb tart recipe in my Pies and Tarts cookbook. Score! This, unlike the cherry pie, was simple and straightforward. The filling was just strawberries, rhubarb, cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice. No simmering and cooling for hours....just mix, pour into chilled tart shell, and bake. The tart pan was another purchase from The Culinary Arts store. After the pie baked and cooled, I just slipped off the outside shell. It's beautiful! See? The fabulous part was, though, that it tasted as good as it looked. Yum!

The best part of this pie was that my youngest son was home for the weekend and deemed us worthy of his presence for dinner. So after a lovely meal of fillets and mashed potatoes, we all dug into this wonderful concoction of sweet and tart flavors. This got me thinking about the challenges of parenthood, our grown children, and how these beings permeate our lives even when they aren't around. 

The sweet taste of when they were young still lingers in my memory: the smell of their skin after bath time, the songs and stories they begged for at bedtime, the sound of their laughter, and the heartbreak of their tears. I loved summer pajamas, time at the pool, hearing them play in the basement, and the knowledge they were tucked safe in their beds. Sweet.

The tart was more of a challenge. My boys were close in age, so they fought....a lot. I often sent them to separate corners to cool off. As they got older, school was a struggle for both of them. Before and during report card time, I often thought I was suffering from some type of rare nervous disorder. The teen years brought late nights and frustration and anxious worrying. Tart.

Now they are both grown...or almost grown. I still taste sweet and tart, but it has a different sensation on my tongue. They have evolved into these wonderful men who are kind and smart and considerate. They love and laugh and argue.....and they still fight, but it's different now.  They know when to draw the line. Their relationship has matured as they have. Sweet and tart.

I guess I did something right, just like with pie #2. I rolled the dough, filled the crust with fruit, baked, and then sat back and admired my handiwork.  I gave my boys a warm and safe home, surrounded them with books and music and toys, guided them along the way, and now I gaze with wonder at what they have become.

"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." - Anne Frank