Yes, I'm the mom of an adopted son from El Salvador. He was two years old when this tiny little person came off a plane, and into our arms. Adorable was the word to describe him, sweet was another. I, the woman who never wanted to have children, was now a mother...a mom...and I didn't have an instruction manual, so I winged it. Every day, I let William know how much I wanted and loved him; gave up working outside the home for eight years to be a stay-at-home-mom. I only went back to work when he started going to school full-time, and being at home was no longer beneficial to anyone.
We weren't rich, but did better than most of our friends. We provided him the best we could afford, and refused to buy those expensive trendy clothes and toys. The most important thing is that we taught him values, manners and morals; not something a lot of parents do anymore. So many times I was stopped by a person and told, "He is such a well mannered boy; you don't see that much nowadays".
My first husband wasn't in the picture much; he loved having the title of "father", but that's where it ended. He was mentally, emotionally, and many times, physically abusive to us both. I filed for divorce the day after he tried to strangle William with his bare hands. Instead of growing up and older with his son, he felt he had been replaced as the center of attention, and that was too much for this man to handle.
William had many goals as he grew older, but his main ones were to be an architect and an artist; when it came to artwork, he was very good. So enters Roy, a graphic artist, and he was able to help William with his artwork. Unfortunately, a young girl with severe personal problems came into William's life also. Drinking, drugs and sex were her lifestyle, and endorsed by her own mother...like mother, like daughter.
But she wasn't the only cause of William's downfall; he had established many a friendship with boys who lived on "The Hill".
Living in half million dollar homes, parents making six figure salaries, country club memberships, housekeepers and cooks...how were we middle class parents to compete?
And so, all the values, morals and manners taught to William went out the window, and were replaced with lying, stealing, staying out all the time, and making sure he couldn't be reached. His goal to go to college was replaced with, "you have to finance an apartment for me, buy me a $30,000 car, and give me free access to your money." He wanted to party all the time, and be bankrolled by us. Surprise!!!, ain't gonna happen little boy.
I haven't really had much contact with William since I've moved to Utah. We asked him to move with us, start a new life out West, but he stayed in Pennsylvania to be near his friends and girlfriend. The girlfriend? She moved to Michigan, got herself a new boyfriend, of course, after cleaning out William's bank account. His friends? They all went to college, didn't have much to do with William, except if he had booze and pot to share.
Now William works two food industry jobs, shares a house with three other young men, and is basically learning how tough it is in the real world. He'll be 21 on February 9th, and be considered an adult in every way, shape and form. Now the question is, will he really become an adult, take responsibility for his own actions, and stop blaming his family for "all his problems and losses"? Good question, wonder if I'll ever find out the answer?
I still love my son, am sad for him, but am sadder still that what was allowed to take place was the death of a close and loving mother-son relationship.
Which brings me to today's recipe, "Funeral Potatoes"; "say what?!?", you might ask. I received the recipe from a friend and coworker named Heidi, who explained that it's a dish that usually shows up at any meal related to a funeral, hence the name. It's a Utah thing.
7 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet)
½ cup butter, plus 8 additional ½ Tbsp pieces
1 can Cream of Chicken soup, family size
½ can milk
1/3 cup onion, minced
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 pint sour cream
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
*optional: real bacon bits
Boil potatoes, skin on, till fork tender (slightly firm); let cook, peel off skin and grate.
In a large saucepan, combine cup of butter, soup and milk, on medium heat, till hot; do not bring to boil. Whish in onion, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper till smooth.
In a 9 x 13 baking dish (spray with non-stick spray), layer potatoes then sauce (there will be 3 layers of each). Top with an even layer of corn flakes; dot with the 8-1/2 Tbsp of butter. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight.
Next day, preheat oven to 350F. Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 8-10 servings.