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About A Day

About A Day

Because it’s therapeutic just to journal about the day.

Because in the thinking back, we can let go and find the beauty in our mundane.

Because, in an effort to find significance where I am right now. It’s that place where kids are small and messes are big and none of us know what we’re doing.

This morning, I woke up to a seven-year-old who had to go the bathroom and was eager to read The Boxcar Children. He said good morning to my sleeping eyes and then he went to my closet to read alone. It’s a big closet, with the light and space for this boy to spread out.  One corner even holds a pile of his books. I wonder just how many books he has in there, but I have never taken the time to count them. Instead, I often remind my boy that it’s not his closet. I ask him to stack his books neatly. I ask him if he really needs that many books in my closet. He always tells me that he does. I don’t believe him, but then I look at my nightstand which holds at least twenty books. I read them all.

This morning, I stayed in bed with Susan (almost three weeks old now). We snuggled. I went back to sleep until the next child awoke. Then I left Susan to dream, and I showered.

The morning was more hectic than I would have liked. The mornings almost always are. This morning, Susan woke up and and wouldn’t be put down. We were all starving by the time she did. As soon as my hands were free I made oatmeal. I cooked it with maple syrup while my middle two children stood close, blowing holes into the steam that rose above it. I scooped the oatmeal into four bowls and listened to everyone’s requests for toppings. Milk. Honey. Brown sugar. My oldest cried. He didn’t want honey but because I was feeling rushed I had accidentally put it into everyone’s bowls. Screaming rose like the oatmeal’s steam had earlier, but the screaming could not be blown away. The child said he didn’t like honey but I know that’s not true and I told him so. We argued, though I knew that was dumb and futile. I am an adult and these are children, but I often forget about our age gap.

Susan woke up. Eventually, everyone was fed and we were trying to get everyone ready for a play date at the Splash Pad. I was annoyed.

“Seek first the kingdom of God” kept playing in my heart, but my annoyance won anyway. I gave my kids opportunities to listen but they kept failing my expectations. I made sandwiches while Susan lay in a basket of clean laundry and screamed. Her siblings stood nearby trying to calm her with sweet songs and well-meaning kisses. We were an hour late to our play date but we had fun while we were there.

Water shot up from the ground and my kids knew exactly what to do with it. They explored. They played. They laughed and climbed and made memories with their friends. I chatted with my friends–the other moms–making my own memories.

Where are my eyes throughout these days? Am I looking at crumbs or at the tiny hands who made them?

After dinner, after bedtime, I washed dishes and wiped the counters and now I am sitting at the table writing out the day, looking for the meaning, knowing that meaning only sometimes comes how we think it will.

Haiku the Day Away was never about advice or how-to anything. Haiku are small image-driven poems with big punches. Though they seem to be about the images, haiku hold unseen treasures. They show what is in front of us but they are about something deeper. They are like metaphorical x-rays, begging us to look beyond. Again and again, they ask us to seek and keep seeking and they almost always, in the end, reveal more within those things which we have allowed to become mundane. In a haiku, the mundane can actually hold so much beauty.

Fun With Food: C’est Parfait!

Fun With Food: C’est Parfait!

These little treats have been my favorite breakfast food lately, and most of my children also love them (all of my children love them, except for the one who won’t believe me when I tell him that plain Greek yogurt + jelly/honey/maple syrup is the same thing as those little cups of Fage yogurts he eats, except without the tiny tube of jelly you get to fold over and squeeze. Sometimes it really is all about the packaging for him.)

It started one morning when the same old foods just weren’t going to cut it for me. I needed a new combination. Often we eat oatmeal for breakfast. Sometimes I spruce it up with mid-week eggs or an hour of pancake making. I’ve tried all kinds of pancakes: sourdough, banana, blueberry, chocolate chip, peanut butter and flax meal, orange-buttermilk with orange butter and maple syrup, but in the end, I think a pancake is just a pancake and on this morning, usual just wasn’t going to cut it.

Of course, my kids would have eaten cereal. Or they would have eaten oatmeal, especially if I had let them sprinkle their own brown sugar. They would have eaten Craisins and dry cheerios. They would have loved pancakes. This day, it was me. I needed something different.

That’s really what my Fun with Food series is all about. I want to have fun with our food. I want to taste new things and use my creativity in mundane ways, when it doesn’t really matter if I mess up. I want to experiment, to shake things up, to push on the buttons of our lunch and breakfast menus.

I went to the fridge and glared, like I so often ask my children not to do, standing with the door gaping open like my recently conscious mouth, the interior of the beloved appliance staring at me with it’s collection of hodgepodge, leftover foods cackling at my almost-surrender to The Usual.

Then I remembered the yogurt. My eyes darted toward the blueberries, plump and crisp and in-season. Hmmm…

The word “parfait” means “perfect” in French (it is also a dessert over there) but it has been Americanized to just mean a dessert, or a breakfast meal, consisting of ice cream or yogurt, with fruit and nuts or granola, sometimes with a syrup added, often arranged in layers and served in a tall glass so that each layer can be ogled like the great depictions of Degas ballerinas and the picnic people of Manet. When it is served, we immediately anticipate. The top layer is delicious, but we know there’s more waiting for us as we use our spoons to discover the tastes of what lies beneath the surface. This is the beauty of layers. It’s why art is so beloved.

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Our parfait started with these things: Greek yogurt, honey, blueberries, and crunchy rice. These are the things we had. Parfaits, though, can be made with any variation on these things. Any fruits. Any cereal/granola/nuts. Any kind of yogurt/ice cream/custard. Any sauces/syrups/honey combination.

Mine was a simple wish: that my children and I could discover something beautiful together in the early morning, when the sun was just peeking out and gracing us with its lovely, life-giving wonder. Though the horizon, and therefore the complete sunrise, is hidden from our windows, I knew it was coming. It always does. Each new day, whether we notice or not, is ushered in by a mixture of colors all blended one on top of another to create the very best reason for early rising.

We missed the actual sunrise, and we didn’t have tall glasses or long narrow spoons, but we made do.

C'est The thing about French words is that, once you start saying them you can’t stop. Kind of like tasting these little breakfast miracles. So here we go again…

C'est (1)

(For those who don’t know “c’est parfait” literally means “it is perfect.” So if you chose to add the parfait to your weekly menu, teach your kids a little uplifting French phrase while you’re dipping into the delightful combinations that this day has brought.)