Eight years ago we celebrated my first Mother’s Day, which for me is more important than my birthday. Builder Guy was six months old and he sat on Michael’s lap at the restaurant, trying to grab everything within reach, laughing like it was the best game ever as Michael quickly moved forks, knives, plates, and glasses out to the center of the table. I love the photo of that moment, of Builder Guy and Michael both laughing, father and son together celebrating my first Mother’s Day with me.
The experience of bringing our beautiful children into the world and watching them grow up has given so much joy to my life, to our lives. Even when it’s hard, when we’re dealing with autism and adhd meltdowns, when we get another diagnosis for something else that requires therapy or surgery or another major thing, when we’ve felt helpless and just cried and hugged each other hoping for the best, even then I can’t imagine life without our three sons.
I look into their small faces, their curious eyes staring back at me, sometimes with a smile and sometimes with a tear, and I wonder what thoughts they have that perhaps they don’t yet know how to express. I wonder what they will do and where they will go when they become men, when they set out on their own and try to find their places in the world. I wonder what will inspire them. I wonder how often they will come home to visit and sit around the table and tell us about what they are doing. I wonder when they will fall in love and bring someone home for us to meet.
Looking in their eyes is like looking into the future, and it makes me want to cherish every single moment we have now.
So we’ll have strawberries this weekend, because that’s how I celebrate Mother’s Day with our family, and we’ll enjoy the juicy sweetness of red berries and life together.
STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, serves 12.
9-inch springform pan
large mixing bowl
16 ounces (454 g) chocolate sandwich cookies, filling removed
8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, melted
3 (8-ounce/227 g) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces (227 g) strawberries, cleaned and pureed
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 (219 g) cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) light corn syrup
1 cup (175 g) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
2. CRUST: In the bowl of the food processor, process the chocolate cookies to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few more times until the mixture starts to clump. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, then remove.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° F/150° C.
4. FILLING: In the large mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, strawberry puree, flour, and salt until it is smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and beat for about 1 minute, then add each egg one at a time, mixing just until blended. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are set and the middle is only slightly wobbly when the pan is jiggled, about 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
6. CHOCOLATE SAUCE: In the saucepan, warm the cream and corn syrup over medium heat just until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until they are completely melted.
7. Serve slices of the cheesecake with strawberry slices on each with a drizzle of the chocolate sauce.