The first question my mom asks when she hears I’m coming home for a visit is “What do you want to eat?” It has been this way since I left for college, and to her undying frustration, I always say something like “Whatever’s easiest!” She throws out suggestions. “Chicken curry? Matar paneer? Biryani?” and I just annoyingly reply “Yeah, that all sounds good.” I'm indifferent about what she cooks for dinner because everything she makes is always so reliably good that it’s hard to choose one thing over another.
Since the pandemic emerged in 2020, traveling to see my parents has become harder. This past summer, I stayed with them at their home in Michigan for the first time in two years for my childhood friend’s wedding. I had exactly one week, which at first seemed like more than enough time. Then I started to think realistically about what the week ahead entailed and the guilt set in instantly.