I make a really good meatloaf. It’s moist and tasty (I know at least half of you just got the willies when they read the word moist. Moist meatloaf. Shudder) But seriously, it’s good. I add my “secret sauce” to it (no, I’m not telling you my recipe, it’s a SECRET, I want to remain the best meatloaf-maker in the universe.) By the way, did you know that in Germany we call a meatloaf a “fake rabbit?” My kids get a real kick out of that one; how I ever managed to convince them to eat it is a mind-boggling miracle though.

ANYWAY, why am I telling you about my amazing meatloaf? Because before I discovered writing, my meatloaf was my only claim to fame. OK, maybe not the only one, my chicken and wine sauce is pretty darn good, too. My kids (and my neighbors’ kids) call me the best cooker in the world. Which I am most definitely not.

You know those start-of-the school-year projects kids have to do every.single.year? The “tell us about yourself and your family” poster or essay? Well, when my kids described me, they mentioned my good cooking and, ahem, one or two essays might have mentioned that I like wine. That killed me though. “My dad works in a really big office and he’s the boss of everyone. My mom is a good cooker and likes to drink wine.” I used to be more than that, I wanted to yell at them, I used to be the boss of people, too, before I became a meatloaf-maker and the boss of you short people!!

Don’t get me wrong - I made a conscious decision to be home with my children. I want to be present, I want to cook good meals for them. I consider myself extremely fortunate that our family is able to afford the luxury of a stay-at-home parent. But every time someone asked, “So, what do you do all day?” I died a little bit on the inside.

Until, UNTIL, writing came along and rescued me. I can’t bring myself yet to answer people with a sassy: “I’m a writer, that’s what I do all day.” But I smile, feeling content and fulfilled.

P.S.: I made that meatloaf tonight. The glaze turned out perfect, sweet and sticky, with just the right hint of mustard-y kick.

Rhiannon Navin