Inspired by a friend with whom I was engaged in animated discussion on the right way to eat a passionfruit
Placing it on a cutting board and opening it up neatly with a knife, before scooping it out into a bowl and then eating it with a spoon
Ripping open the fruit with one's hands and biting directly into the flesh
It's the end of something.
But the beginning - new and wondrous - of something else.
My first born has now lived half a decade.
And I am trying to get my head around the reality of it all.
Was it really only five years ago that he was inside me, another heartbeat, distinct from my own, and yet so intertwined that sometimes it confused me. When I heard that silent beating of our two hearts, it confused me, whose heartbeat was whose.
And yet on the eve of the fifth year of his life, I contemplate the boy he has become. And I don't do this with the rose tinted adoration of a mother, with the fierce loyalty and the deep biases that come, almost naturally, with my role. I do it objectively. Because I feel I should. I do it with my husband as we sit together on a Saturday night, feet up, with a glass of wine.
And while we applaud him - our little son, just turned five - for his independence, his unwavering moral compass, the sheer strength of his convictions, his ability to know - with such confidence - his own mind, we also shake our heads.
Yes, we shake our heads, and we furrow our brows and ponder ways with which to soften his edges.
"He's too loud," we say. Too rough. Too excited."
"He can't sit still. Can't focus. Why is he so restless?" we ask.
"Jumps headlong into things without thinking. Needs taming. Calming down."
"He's hard work," says my husband, leaning back into the sofa with a sigh.
It seems to neatly sum it up
Because you see, the other two boys in my life are so...easy.
My younger son is peaceful and happy going, social and gentle. He sits still and does what he's told. Calm and predictable. Lovely. A total and complete pleasure.
Sid is measured and rooted.
A man of few words, of little outward expression.
Quiet and deep.
And yet many times, in these years we have been together I am jolted by the intensity of it, this love that he is capable of, the selfless unconditional expanse of it.
Like the sands of the Sinai, burnished gold in the setting sun, uniform - but vast, unending.
Every now and then, there is a mirage, but only I can see it.
To the rest of the world it is just that, a mirage. An illusion...elusive, a trick of the mind.
But to me, it's real. A break from character, an unpredictability - playful, devious.
And I love it. The private mystery of it.
It's what drew us together so many years ago, it's what keeps us together now. Forever.
Our older son is different.
He loves openly and publicly.
He will not hesitate to scream "I love you" from the gates of his school where I drop him every morning, his voice resonating, for all the world to hear.
His kisses and his cuddles - private or public alike - are fierce and passionate, with a roughness that is startling even to me.
His is a different kind of love. Selfish and demanding.
When he gives, he gives his all. He is all consuming - of himself and of others.
And as I write these very words, as they come into my head, I am suddenly overwhelmed. And I have to stop mid-sentece, and find my husband, and tell him. Because - with our son, perhaps...just perhaps...
His trying ways
His quirks and flaws and imperfections
Are all too familiar
And I realise this now, somehow, suddenly.
When I look in the mirror.
And I see him.
Mango and Passionfruit Crumble
Here's what you need:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 6 tbsp cold butter
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 ripe mangoes - peeled and cubed
- 2 passion fruit
- 1 tbsp lime juice
Here's how you do it:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
Mix the flour and brown sugar in a bowl, and cut the butter into the flour-sugar mixture. Mix well together until well combined and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir well.
Place the mango cubes on the bottom of a baking dish, and spoon the passion fruit pulp over the mango. The drizzle some lime juice over the fruit. Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture. Bake in the preheated oven until the top has browned and the fruit is caramelised. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh custard.