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Sunday, May 17, 2009

A chocolate chip cookie.......

that's all it takes to make it all better......
I promise.

We're a family of eaters. When the going gets rough, we take to food. Oh, hell, when the going gets good, we take to food. Come to think of it--no matter how the going gets, we take to food. Sometimes we even take to food and booze. But, that's a whole 'nother story.

Friday was a rough night. Carmen was exhausted and stressed from another horrendous week of long hours and impossible work issues. I was emotionally wrung out from my week. My sisters needed a break. The kids were scattered doing what they do. And my dad was slowly beginning to realize things just weren't all that good. Even before I pulled into my driveway from work, things were beginning to unravel.

I was feeling shitfucky

This is the time of the year when I get into gardening mode. I spend countless hours scouring every nook and cranny of nurseries, home stores and random plant vendors to find just the right flowers to fill my planters and all of the flower beds. I've always been completely immersed in the color coordination, the texture, the aroma and the perfect pairings of it all. And, I go full tilt in tracking down every strain of basil on the market. I usually have my front porch scrubbed and dressed for the onset of summer and my deck ready to go. By Memorial Day, I'm usually happily exhausted, sipping white wine, admiring the beauty of my labor.

But, not this year.

What I have is a front porch in need of a good cleaning, empty flower pots and flower beds that are sprouting God knows what. It's all drab and colorless. Just like life feels right about now. My father's color commentary, his beaming smile and his dancing eyes are gone from my days. I'm teary and sullen inside and out. And none of it feels right. And, on Friday night, it felt even worse.

On my drive to the hospital, I could feel my spirits and my energy sink lower and lower. So, I decided to head to Starbuck's for one of my fav pick-me-ups--a non-fat venti chai latte with an energy shot. While I was waiting in line, I spied the big chocolate chip cookies and decided to order a few of them to take along with me to the hospital. Chocolate chip cookies are happy. I needed a good dose of happy. And, I was pretty sure my dad could use the same.

When I arrived, my father was sitting in a chair seemingly watching the Pirate game. When he saw me, he greeted me with a simple, ordinary request--"could you get me some coffee". Those few, lucid words were music to my ears. The thought of giving my father coffee and a big chocolate chip cookie to go with it just felt good to me. So, I headed out in search of coffee. As I did so, I could feel my spirits rise--thinking about the little treat I would soon be giving my dad. Thankfully, coffee was only steps away from his door.

After I put the coffee into his hand and helped him with the first sip, I pulled out the big chocolate chip cookie and tried to get him to focus on it. "Look a chocolate chip cookie!" I excitedly told him. He just stared. I zoomed the cookie around airplane-style, hoping to get him to see it. When he finally did, his eyes grew wide with anticipation as he eagerly and carefully took the cookie and put it up to his mouth and took a bite. For a quick moment, I saw the father that I've always known--eyes twinkling, enjoying his food. And, in that same moment, I was happy and at peace once again.

All it took was a chocolate chip cookie.

Sometimes food will cure what ails you. Even when you are not the one eating it.
Oh, the lessons you learn in a hospital room.


Zazzy said...

Hi, I just found you (trying to find other bloggers with the lap-band) and I wanted to say hi. I haven't had a chance to read much yet but I identified with this post. My mom has Alzheimer's and much of the way I've been able to connect with her is through food. When I was little, I "helped" her cook and then for a while the past few years, she helped me. For a little while, we could have fun and remember some of the good stuff.

Nola said...

Yes...there are lessons to learn everywhere and at's just that mostly we get so damn busy and wound up in our own"shit" that we miss some of them!
I am pleased you had the chocolate cookie moment with your Dad....that was very special. Thinking of you....

Irishembi said...

"shitfucky" is my new favorite emotional descriptor.

I'm sorry your Dad is not doing well. xoxo

Shaggs said...

That was just a beautiful, eloquent and moving post girl! I am choked to the very core thinking about some of the last meals I had with my grandmother and how she never ate except when me and the kids were around and then before we knew it we were spoon feeding her and...... I dont want to dwell on that, all of my best memories are punctuated with food and we still channel my grandmother when we're making her specialities and we make them perfectly every time without a recipe if we just take it slow and do what "feels" right. Thank you so much for reminding me of the magical ways we should share food - its so easy to get bogged down with the abuse and forget its magical medicinal qualities. thank you thank you!

Shaggs said...

oh, and shitfucky is awesome!! And I hope someday soon you feel the inspiration and joy to get back out in the dirt - its a very healing place to be.