Friday, February 22, 2008

Food for the Soul

[*Edited to add: I wrote the following post over the course of two different days, and neglected to revise all the tenses and whatnot when I hit "publish." Sorry if I confused any regular readers! I fixed it, below. I meant that THURSDAY I was glad I looked presentable, and TODAY (Friday) I went to an all-day conference. Sigh. The foggy mothering brain strikes again.]

Late last fall, after a string of very trying weeks of at-home mothering, a local fellow parent--a writer who lives in my town, an at-home dad to two boys (now in their teens), and someone I didn't even know--began reading my blog and one day wrote a post on his own blog in which he, in my honor, linked to one of his published essays, a lovely and funny account of, well, the efforts and absurdities of parenting--and nourishing--young children. And he wished me a better month to come, and hoped we'd meet sometime in person. After all, we live in a small town; our spouses work at the same college. But at the same time, our children are far apart in age, so we don't move in the same parenting circles; we don't run into each other at library storytime or the playground, because Rob's era of parenting toddlers is long past--which is exactly why I cherish his occasional comments on my blog. Those times when I'm losing my mind, it helps for someone who's definitely been there and done that--who really knows exactly what it's like, and who has survived it all!--to simply say, Yep. I remember that. It was RIDICULOUS.

Yesterday afternoon when I was wiping the remains of homemade berry smoothie off two tiny faces, there was a knock at the door. And Rob Hardy was outside with a loaf of homemade bread in his hands. Someone I'd never met, but who reads about my life online and sympathizes, who read my post yesterday and knows I'm at my wits' end these days with all this 18-month-old tantruming, who made me a big gorgeous loaf of homemade bread, looked up my address, and brought it to my door, leaving the girls and me open-mouthed and awestruck in his kindly wake.

And things suddenly seemed a whole lot more tolerable. Because is that not just about the nicest thing you've ever heard? Do you know what it means to close the door and smell the bread and think, Someone who had never even met me before this moment cared enough to offer this compassionate gesture of support and nourishment! It boggles the mind.

Thank you, Rob. The bread is delicious. I ate so much of it at dinnertime that I gave myself a stomachache.

Today I am off to an all-day conference in the Cities to earn some licensure CEUs, and while it's one of those dreary gotta-do-it endeavors, a day of professional presentations on a topic I'm not even interested in, but which I registered for because it fit my budget, my location, and my gotta-get-home-in-time-to-nurse schedule--well, this morning all I can think is, At least today I will be sitting peacefully in a baby-free environment, sipping coffee, and NOT changing diapers, wiping noses, or listening to anyone scream "MAMA!" At least, I certainly hope not.

And can I just add one thing? That I am very glad yesterday was not one of those days I was running around in dirty yoga pants and with uncombed hair? And that I was actually wearing makeup, which artfully concealed THE BLACK EYE I GAVE MYSELF WHILE GROCERY-SHOPPING the other week? Oh, didn't I tell you about that? Well, next time, then. But people! You never know when your Internet guardian angel is going to show up on your doorstep! Dress nicely!

See you next week.


Anonymous said...

Having now seen the last of this bread down the hatch here, I have to repeat, "Thank you, Rob!" and say that this was *fantastic* bread - some of the best I've ever had, and I'm a guy who's been around a loaf a few times.

Mom said...

That bread looks good enough to eat, all right. I wonder if it is the first loaf ever to be so featured in a blog?! What a sweet thing for Rob to do.

Anonymous said...

plans for a bakery, rob?

donna said...

Sounds like the next best think to having your family there. Northfield sounds like a wonderful place to raise a family.

Shan said...

Donna, it really is. It's hard to truly describe what a family-nurturing town it is. We just love it here.