Monday, September 28, 2009

Autumn and the Rudimentary Mother (For My Mom)

So. Hi.

It's been awhile I know but we're all still here alive and kickin'. Fall's settling over the prairie in just that soft, gentle, quiet way it does every year this time and the FriedOkra family's also settling in - into a different rhythm that's a little busier, yet busy with activities of the cozier and comfier variety, so it seems like we're speeding up but slowing down, all at the same time.

I'll be making up a batch of homemade chicken soup later today for Al and me and the kids, as these four little bodies have played host over the past 5 days to some nasty cold germs, a stomach bug and a deeply unpleasant bout of teething. We're all worn plumb out, a little cranky, a little dopey, really just not our normal chipper selves.

We're in need of a bit of that magical maternal medicine.

I've got a couple of quarts of frozen homemade stock thawing in the sink and half a rotisserie chicken in the fridge to which I'll just add some carrots and celery and onion and a bay leaf and some good old fashioned egg noodles, the wide kind that get labeled "dumplings" e'em though they're NOT dumplings. Least not dumplings like any I've ever seen before. You?

And I'll simmer all that up together and ladle it out into earthenware bowls for my family tonight and watch them eat it and relax in the knowing, with that deep-down mother/wife intuition, that it really will make everyone feel much better.

Because it really will.

Then I'll lay my tuckered babies in their beds with bellies full of goodness and simplicity and warmth. I'll pull soft flannel over their shoulders and kiss them and stroke their cheeks. They will rest well.

And I'll sleep better myself, too, the soup having worked wonders on my body, the simple rudimentary service having done wonders for my soul.

The totality of motherhood is so vast and complex, isn't it? But in the very day to day of this life, my heart also delights to find it so beautifully uncomplicated and humble and to discover and cherish a bit of my own mother's wisdom and know-how planted inside myself, and to think of her and miss her but embrace ever more closely the parts of her that made me this woman.

This simple, humble, faithful Mama.

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  1. I'm sorry to hear you guys haven't been feeling well. :-(
    But I'm glad you've got a plan to soothe your bellies and your souls. I think we could all use a little of that this time of year.
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  2. It's good to be the mom. :) hope the soup does it's warm maternal magic. :)

  3. Thanks for the dumpling comment, b/c I've been pondering what happened to the big fluffy mounds of yumminess that I've always known to be dumplings. Those other things are "noodles" people.

    Great post as always, Megan. I hope you're all on the mend soon.

  4. I am in a season of motherhood that is, well, insane. It wasn't that long ago for you - my daughter just turned 3 and my son is 4 months old. My days are a blur of questions and diapers and bottles and owies and Snow White and swaddling and...insane.

    But last night, a couple of hours after bedtime, my Girlie woke up with a nightmare, sobbing, "Mommy, oh Mommy, Mommy!!!" And of course, I ran to her room & comforted her. I am sorry and sad that she had a nightmare - but what a gift, what a blessing, to be the one she yearns for when she needs comfort! And it gives me an opportunity to minister to her, too, with cuddles, kisses, tucking & patting & mother-clucking.

    Times like that, or like what you described, are really glimpses are what motherhood is all about. Sure, there is the laundry, the cooking, the bottom-wiping, the squabble-refereeing...but more important than that is the soothing, the strengthening, the comforting and growing of our families.

    Hope you all feel better soon!

  5. Hope everyone is done with the yuck for a good while. Don't you love knowing you're the one who makes it all better? Stay well!
    -- Nancy

  6. What a beautiful post on motherhood, from a wonderful Mama!
    PS - I hope you are all feeling better tonight.

  7. Hope that chicken soup does wonders and ya'll are better soon.

  8. I like how commenter Di described dumplings as big fluffy mounds of yumminess. Obviously a southern gal :-)

    Now you have me wanting to make good old fashioned chicken & dumplings! I'm going to make my dumplings using this recipe:

    2 cups of white flour*
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    4 tbsp. soft margarine or butter
    1 cup of milk (or more)
    1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
    2. Cut in butter that's been kept at room temperature or use soft margarine. [NOTE: using butter is important! Do not substitute with lard or Crisco.]
    3. Stir milk lightly into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and adjust amounts to make sure that you have a moist dumpling dough.
    4. Drop dumpling dough into the liquid by teaspoonfuls or for larger dumplings use a tablespoon. Cover your pot with a lid so that the dumplings can steam.

    [*I will flour and baking powder because I do not have access to White Lily. Sad but true. South America has not discovered the joys of White Lily flour.]

  9. This was such a nice story. I can just imagine you (even though I don't know you) cooking your chicken soup. I was just thinking of making chicken and dumplings myself...but I don't have any chicken. And no, noodles are not dumplings. Not even close.

    Get well.

  10. I am sorry you all haven't been feeling well, it is just nasty with the weather change.

    I having stock defrosting to, only my purpose is preventive.

    Many hugs my dear!

  11. This is beautiful. Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well. I, too, have chicken soup in my menu plans today. :-)