I can’t go back to the midwestern house I grew up in, but I can go to my parent’s condo for dinner every week in Wallingford. Which is sort-of the same, only without the our-house smell, and without my well-preserved old room, and without a yard.

I’m certain my mother has read more about my pregnancy than I have. Being a mother, she’s also very aware of anything that might not be good for the baby. Like booze, for example. But the thing is, I tell her, when you cook with booze for an hour or so, the alcohol cooks out and the flavor sticks around.

“But you can never be too careful,” mom says.

She went to the store after work recently and bought ingredients to make spinach lasagna for our Tuesday dinner. Everything was assembled and saran-wrapped in time for the 10:00 news. But before she could sit down, the story goes, she gasped.

“I used vodka sauce for the lasagna,” she told me over the phone. She started imaging the baby drowning in a saucy, eye rubbing mess. So it was back to the store, then up until midnight making another lasagna with plain red sauce. She never baked the vodka lasagna.

I can see my dad plopping this perfectly good casserole in a trash bag, then holding the hot plastic at an arm’s reach and grumbling all the way to the trash bin.

Even so, I think my mother has a good shot at being a better mother than I’m ever going to be. Because she thinks of everything, in case. Even if it’s ridiculous.

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