The Care & Feeding of Zebras

An A to Z Look At The Ironies Of Life

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Life is Like . . .

Life is like a bowl of oatmeal!

Yes, oatmeal! oatmealsm

   This very morning, the dawn of the first full day of fall, the chill in the air gave me a craving for hot oatmeal. That was a 6:30 a.m. but as I stood stirring the oats into the bubbling water the clock was reminding me that three hours had elapsed before I begun to feed my craving.

Pouring the oats as I tried to gently continue to stir, keeping unwanted lumps to form, I was totally lost in memory of standing stove side and making the same motions as a young child ready herself for school. The mornings, in this replay, were as crisp as today’s, 39 degrees and hopes of reaching the mid to high 60’s.

The conversation was so clear. “Mom, can I wear my shorts to school today?,” came the clear question of hope from this small feminine child with the rough and tumble “tom-boy” edges.  “We are playing soccer at lunch and I want to be able to run,” she added with stronger hope that this explanation would get her the positive reply she was in need of hearing.

Not even looking at the window thermometer do confirm a rise in the chilled air and being a hall of fame member of the “Meanest Mother Club,” my response was of course to the negative. Handing her a clean pair of jeans and allowing her choice of t-shirt cushioned this blow a bit, yet the pout could still be seen when looking into her angelic face. Soft brown eyes, slightly rimmed with a light mist almost soften my cruel mother’s heart but quickly my attention was drawn back to the bubbling brew on our stove.

What was only seconds of exchanged opinions and lost concentration of the cooking meal managed to produce some unwanted lumps.  Adding an extra dab of butter and reaching for the whisk a futile attempt to beat the lumps to a smooth more acceptable bite.  Resigned to a less than perfect bowl of gruel and adding milk in a continued hope that it would aid in smoothing out unwanted lumps.

Spoon and bowel set before her, encouraged to eat up so we won’t be late, I grab the hair brush and quickly pulled two symmetrical pony tails (pig tails) high above her ears and grab the keys for the car. “Hurry, we can’t be late,” part of every mother’s morning mantra, gabbing book bags and lunch bags out the door we flew.

Silent morning ride until within sight of school. “Hope you have a great day,” I meant this from my heart, I always want her to have great days.

“I will mom, even with the lumps!,” she imparts her unrealized knowledge of life to me. Humbled by this reply, I try to apologies for any trauma getting the clothes right for the early fall weather that can go from chill to burning heat in just a New York minute, but how I need to keep her as warm and healthy as possible.

“I know mom, I was talking about my oatmeal, it was really lumpy today but I eat it and it was still good!”

Lesson 1 learned: Life will be full of unexpected lumps. Like chilly mornings, when you want to continue wearing summer’s threads, having a plan B that can support the coolness of pre-dawn and see you through the heat of mid-day sun.

Lesson 2 learned: As smooth as we wish to make life for out offspring, it just comes with lumps sometimes and nothing we do can beat them smooth. Releasing them to taste the lumps of life to see which ones will be bad and which ones can be a mouthful of delight and knowing it is their taste buds and not ours that need to decide the future palate that will flavor their life, is a hard lump for most of us moms and dads to learn.

Seeing her today, 30 some years after the memorial lumpy oatmeal, I see a woman full of grace, able to decerne bad lumps from good lumps and not to panic when on some of the oatmeal days the lumps may seem bigger and not so good tasting. The next batch just may bring you a bowel of a smooth and creamy delight to fill you soul with a warm dose of love.

Yes, some days, life is just like a bowel of oatmeal. Lesson learned!


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