Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Good Gift

I trace my hand along the top of a warm loaf of Ciabatta, not long out of the oven. I pick it up and examine it, raise it to my face and breathe its aroma deep, my eyes instinctively closing as I experience it.

Suddenly wondering if I should feel silly, I ask Steve, "Is it okay to feel reverent toward bread?"

"Sure." he answers. "It's a good gift."

I smile, thinking over all that God has brought to my heart lately, all the awareness of all these good gifts.

"Yes." I plunk the loaf back onto the parchment and grin. "Yes, it truly is."

Quiet in the Chaos

I bustle about my morning, the aroma of maple bacon wafting through the house for only the Rose and me at the moment. In a while, Steve will be back from taking Matt to work, then gather up Rosie and stop by for her friend and take them to dance rehearsal.

Today I bake bread all day for tomorrow, the celebration of our son's 30th birthday with friends and family and red, green, and white, and meatballs with sauce to dip the bread in and stories told and laughter ringing and memories woven with bright future-hope.

The dough is ready for shaping, and I shape it into four pieces, each a small uniquely-shaped loaf to rise. I snip along the skin sides of the next round of bacon so it doesn't curl vexing in the pan, thinking back over a thousand mornings making breakfast for my family, each morning a gift of its own. Every few years, there is one less to cook for. Some mornings even now it is just Steve and me. I miss the bigness of our family being here at home.

I miss the crazy schedules and Little League and high school football games and park days and driving Jeff to work with gobs of kids in tow, everyone singing along with "This Beautiful Mess" on the radio at the tops of their lungs. I miss the chaos.

I haven't forgotten how tired I felt then, how unnoticed. How futile. How some days it was all I could do to push myself forward and do what came next. I didn't think my life would ever calm down. Now it has, and I feel lost.

So I write. I word the everyday, ordinary things of life as though they might mean something to someone in some time and place. And every few lines I stop to turn the bacon, or shape the bread, or find my apron, or bring out the cream cheese for the Chocolate Supreme that a far-older-than-he-should-be boy prefers as his birthday "cake". I would make him a cake of the moon if he asked.

Steve breezes in, exclaims over the aroma, picks up some bacon and the daughter and they breeze out. Phone rings, middle son, "Mom, I need a power strip for the gig I'm playing. Got one? Can I come by for it? And can you test it for me? You're the best!" and all is quiet again, save for the hum of kitchen appliances.

Coffee mug steams from the candle warmer on my desk, and I sip and I thank and I remember.