The morning sun arose and the door cracked open. One son sneaking out and the other awakened by the stirring about. I rolled over to look at the time. 06:30. Time to begin the day.
Monday. A day off work and home with little boys. A follow up appointment with the ENT revealed more fluid and negative pressure leading the doctor to recommend surgery. As the date was scheduled, my curious self decided to ask, “what will the cost be for the doctor?” She responded with an amount followed by the reminder that it did not cover the surgery center and all the additional costs that could be incurred that day. “Of course,” I gently replied.
Gently was not the feeling that was rising up from deep within me. Again? How will we do this? The cost just feels like so much.
As I was laying the boys down for naps, the phone rang. Moments later the phone alerted me that a message was waiting. It was simple, nineteen seconds long. “Hey friend! I’m just here, making your mom’s brown rice recipe, thinking about you. Hope you’re doing okay. Give me a call when we can talk. Love you.”
I smiled and rested knowing that I was loved and remembered even though I didn’t have the energy to talk.
When I think of some of the recipes I love the most, I think of the people I love even more. I think of my mom, her brown rice, green chile chicken enchiladas, cheese grits and pancakes. I remember my mother-in-law, her chocolate chip cookies and Grandmother’s pie crust and angel biscuits. I see Tracy, and her sour cream and cheese enchiladas, banana’s foster cake, and baked brie. I recall granola bites and tortellini soup from Letty. I remember Sarah and her tortilla soup, Lory and her chewy chocolate cookies and Lane with her crowd-pleasing chicken croissants. Over time, most of these recipes have evolved and also become mine.
I love how food connects us to memories and moments in time. Food comforts; it’s how we show that we care. Food is celebratory, sensual, and nourishing. For me, the food and the people are so closely tied that they become hard to separate and I love it that way.
In Shauna Niequist’s book, Cold Tangerines, she tells a story of “becoming” when she shares about her professor. She says, “Heather gave me another image of how to be a woman. I needed my mother’s image, but I also needed a few more images with which to piece together a future self.” Yes! As I have let those words marinate, faces and scenes have flooded my heart, validating that this has been true in my own life. There are parts that I try on for a time only to realize that they don’t really fit me. Then, there are those parts that fit just right, marrying the woman I am becoming with the one God designed me to be.
Part of that design is deeply threaded in my beliefs and my actions, in the way I honor what is true in my life as I hope for what will be. This week, I had the opportunity to try on another recipe as I continued in a tradition that began last year. My littlest turned 2 on March 14th, 3.14, “pie day.” I got to use my creativity as I tried Grandmother’s pie crust for the first time to make a delicious french silk pie for my chocolate-loving little guy.
In the midst of what feels like too much, it is sweet to remember those I love, to create rich and flavorful moments for my family, and to continue my story of becoming.
Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here.