Creamy Mini Shell Pasta Salad With Bacon and Peas is a kid-friendly, quick and easy dinner. It comes together in just 15 minutes, so it’s a perfect meal for busy weeknights!
It’s that time of year again, baseball season. Parents in the area are dusting off cleats for their kids and playing catch to get ready for player evaluations and the first team practice. Boys and girls of all ages will be sorted and eagerly anticipate what team they will be on. Some just want to be on a favorite MLB team, like the Reds, while some just want to be on a team with their friends.
For the first time since my oldest son was 3, we will not be playing baseball this summer. I don’t know who is having a harder time with this, my son or myself. When I think of summer, I think of warm nights under the lights listening to the chatter of the boys in the field and the ping of the bat. Double headers on a Saturday afternoon and hamburgers at the concession stand. Buying drink tickets to hand out to thirsty players after the game and being the Team Mom. The Little League parade up Old Meridian and getting ice cream at Mrs. Curls after a big win. I have enjoyed every minute of this over the years and even though we have spent countless hours at the Greenwood Little League fields I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I knew the day would come when he decided that he didn’t want to play baseball and swim at the same time. It seemed like the natural thing to do. Every January we get the enrollment form, we fill it out, he gets evaluated and he plays. Same routine every year. We never stopped to think that maybe it all was a little too much.
Last summer my son swam 3 mornings a week at the Greenwood YMCA with our swim club from 7-8:30 AM. He then had evening practice from 5:30-7 PM and sometimes after he had a baseball game at 8:00. This made for a busy day but I thought, this is summer vacation. We can sleep tomorrow, right? Combine this with Saturday games and weekend long swim meets out of town and the weeks go by in a flash. I never wanted to see what was probably very obvious to everyone else….we had over scheduled our child’s life.
In August I asked both of my kids what their highs and lows of summer break were. I got the usual response from my youngest child. My firstborn looked at me with a weary expression said “Mom, my break is over and all I did was go from practice, to games to meets and back home again.” That really hit home with me. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt that I had robbed him of a break. Everyone needs to “disconnect” every once in a while, children are no exception.
I don’t know if we were afraid that if we sat out a year of baseball that he would never go back or if I felt some responsibility, for some reason, to expose my kids to anything and everything I could in that 2 and 1/2 month time period. It’s not like he was the next Derek Jeter. He is a good ball player and he loves the game, but over the last few years the increased activity level of our “vacations” were taking a toll. Summer should be about lazy days by the pool, catching lightning bugs, fishing in our pond and trips to state parks. Not maintaining a schedule, bags packed for long days at the ball fields and missed opportunities to have fun.
The decision this year to skip baseball was an easy one and we aren’t looking back. We will miss the families that we have gotten to know over the years and we will certainly miss the game. But what I won’t miss are the smiles on my kids faces when I say we have a day with no plans. No errands to run, no places to go. The biggest choice we will have will be what I make for dinner. Sidewalk chalk or bubbles, go to the lake or sit by the pool.
We will get to have lots of highs and hopefully not many lows. I will do my best to respect the fact that they, like us adults, need a break, providing more “down time”. As my kids get older, my favorite times are when they sit at the table, watching me cook. We have long, rambling conversations, full of laughter and smiles. Without knowing it, they tell me about their day and what is going on in their lives. They fill me with happiness and I listen to them, love them and nourish their hearts and souls. This pasta salad is a quick dish, and a favorite in my house. The best part is that it can be made in 15 minutes.
Creamy Mini Shell Pasta Salad With Bacon and Peas
Peas, bacon and pasta are a child friendly combination.