Mary gave me a watermelon today. I put it on the front seat, stopped at the stop sign, and it bounced onto the floor, bruising all to *#!#. That means one thing: watermelon agua fresca.
Mary is the backdrop to my life--so much so that I hardly mention her. One thing I love about our relationship is that we are always giving each other little things. Today, when I picked up Milo, she gave me a Ziploc of blueberries and a mini watermelon. And she gave back a casserole dish that I had delivered food in last week. We like to debate about who has it harder. I say she wins hands-down. They just adopted a third child in January with a lot of medical needs, and she's a hospice nurse, often working the graveyard shift. She looks at my crazy days of meetings and Yancey gone so many nights and decides to do things for me, which I usually don't know I need until she does them. We have been chatting almost every day, in some form, for over seven years--picking Oscar and Wyatt up at the bus stop, rocking each other's babies to sleep. I know she's the reason I haven't been up in the middle of the night reading parenting books. She makes me feel normal. She tells me Oscar has an everlasting cough, too, and that I'm not a horrible mother if my kids still aren't sleeping through the night at 20 months. I can't count the ways she has kept me sane these parenting years. Mothers need co-mothers.
And, when the day is done--books littering every square inch of the living room floor, laundry still not folded, UNO cards permanently separated from their brother and sister UNO cards and soggy on the wet front steps--maybe you can sit down to a swig of this. It tastes like summer in a glass, you'll have the satisfaction of rescuing a mushy watermelon, and you can take a minute to collect yourself before it starts all over again in the morning.
Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca
"Aguas Frescas" are "fresh waters," often found in Mexican restaurants. Like juice, but much lighter, less sweet, more refreshing. I like to make them with cantaloupe and strawberries, too. Take whatever leftover watermelon you have lying around. Chop it into big chunks, not worrying about seeds or mushy spots. Fill a blender 3/4 full with the watermelon chunks, and add about 1 Tb. sugar (or to taste) and 1/2 c. water. Puree. Pour puree through a fine sieve into a pitcher, discarding solids when done. Repeat for remaining watermelon. Add fresh lime juice to taste to the watermelon juice--I juiced one large lime for two blender-fulls of watermelon. Serve with thinly sliced cucumber rounds and fresh mint, and maybe a shot of vodka or gin if you happened to slip on those UNO cards.