Birthday soup (revisited)

little bear birthdaylittle bear party tableMy youngest daughter had jaw surgery recently. She’s on a liquid diet for 6 weeks. Needless to say, I can’t let the kid starve. I’ve had to figure out what foods she likes and can swallow easily with no chewing involved. Initially, I assumed the milkshake, ice cream, jello route would be the way to go. However, she pulled a fast one on me and went in the savory direction. Chicken broth was her first “like”, followed by pureed ham and bean soup….lots of fiber and protein in that one. That was the ticket for several reasons. With the return to school came the necessity for brown bag lunches and the discovery of a modern, microwaveable version of chicken & and stars, a childhood favorite from the past, finding favor once again.

Going into week #3, she’s asking for rice pudding (after my first attempt at making my husband’s, mother’s homemade recipe which required two hours of vigilant, non-stop stirring.) The trial batch turned out more like creamy, rice soup, but she ate it and enjoyed the cinnamon/egg/sugar creamyness. (My husband didn’t care for it….not enough like his mom’s, but, if I tried again, he reassured it would “get better everytime and pretty soon, would be perfect…just like mom’s,…. but might take more than two or three more tries, eventually, it would be edible. Just great.)

Recently she’s requested instant mashed potatos with gravy, moved onto mushy rice with butter and loosely scrambled eggs with melted cheese. Not bad, I say, what with three more weeks to go, we’re working this out and she hasn’t really complained yet. But, my dilemma is with tomorrow; it’s her birthday. I gave thought to the menu and it’s going to start off with “birthday soup.” What else? As I reflect on that title, my mind immediately returns to years gone by, a special nighttime story book and a different birthday soup. Thoughts of Little Bear, Cat, Chicken and Duck making their special soup for his birthday party. Each character brought a special item to contribute to the pot. They all were so proud of themselves and loved their celebratory soup while sitting around the table together. The best part was when Mother Bear brings in the birthday cake glowing with lit candles. I have the ice cream cake all ready to go. I’m sure my little bear will be so pleased.

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“Surgery is now in progress”

My "baby" and her friend.

My “baby” and her friend.

I read the words on the message board and take a deep breath. My baby is in surgery. She’s only 16 years old, going on 26, but still my baby. She’ll be just fine. I repeat that thought in my mind. Already visited the chapel, said many prayers, had several cups of coffee and a bite to eat. Settling in for the several hour wait. Recalling a time similar to this, years gone by, when only an infant, the waiting and praying also took place. So tiny. So scared. Listening to Mommy’s voice and songs, through bandaged eyes and covered head, the little soul inside hung on bravely. My voice and attempts at lullabies the only form of communication she knew. The pinky finger I offered her to hold onto was the lifeline between the two of us. I remember her tiny little fingers, a few of them, holding onto my pinky. Curled around mine tightly, afraid, but safe with Mommy nearby. She survived that day’s experience and grew beautifully in life. Now, another stepping stone to be crossed over before moving forward again. Just as scared. Just as brave. She’s in good hands again today and everyday in God’s good hands. So blessed to have her in my life and proud to be her Mommy humming the lullabies in my head.