Food… Can it be more than nourishment?

So when I was recently blessed with my second daughter, born January 24th 2014, and the time for the next few months has been a blur.  A beautiful messy wonderful blur of ups and downs.  I keep telling myself that without those dark moments juxtaposed how would I enjoy the wonderful moments?  And my heart feels the infinite perfection of all the wonderful moments and the humanness of all the dark ones.  And for that I am so grateful.  So grateful for the connection that feeling these opposing feelings provides to all other people.  The situations may be different but everyone has these feelings, and it is a gift when you can connect over this shared experience.

As a new mom of two (which- holy heck- is much harder than one), the biggest lesson I’ve been hit with is to reach out and ask for help.  Take help whenever it is offered.  Don’t feel bad about asking or taking the help- just do it.  My husband is so helpful when he is home but he constantly travels for work so I am now outnumbered by children most days and nights.  One of the hardest times of the day is dinner-bath-bedtime- yes, these two hours between 6pm and 8pm are usually a train wreck.  My daughter AM has her specific menu requests and Baby T is still constantly feeding which leaves hardly any time to feed myself.  So by the end of the the day I am tired and ‘hangry’ (hungry/angry: when you are so hungry that it actually makes you angry and then you are not sure if you are more hungry or angry), and I must summon all patience to get kids fed, bathed and to sleep.  This process did not bring out the best in me to say the least.

This is where asking for help comes in.  My local family and community reached out and for most days in the month of February and part of March, I had amazing home cooked meals delivered.  Why is food so good when someone else cooks it for you??  If people get intimated cooking for a chef, they shouldn’t.  We love eating food made by others!  In these three plus weeks of meals, I had some beautifully simple and nourishing meals delivered to me each night with enough for leftovers the next day.  This meal delivery allowed me to ease into mothering my two girls on my own while feeding myself food that was literally made with love, support and shared feelings of “I’ve been there!”  There were neighbors that I’d never met who signed up to bring me food.  They kindly reached out knowing that those weeks post-baby are an emotional roller coaster and we were now bonded in this shared experience.

One of the reasons I am passionate about food is because you can say so much with it.  Pouring your time and effort into a home cooked meal and bringing it to someone is a wonderful point of connection.  Whether the meal is for the weeks post-birth, bereavement, recovery or anything else, it is a true gift.  What other gifts these days do we give each other that are home made anyway?  It’s like the meticulous macaroni necklace from a child- priceless.  When someone cooks a meal for you, they put their own individuality into the dish and are thus giving a little expression of themselves.  I got notes from people saying that this meal was their family’s favorite or that they modified part of the dish with me in mind.  Food is an expression and can be so creative.  When someone tries a new dish it can awaken a new taste or spark interest in an old favorite and inspire the eater to try something new.  When home made food is gifted, the creativity passes to the eater and inspires them to create their own dish or recreate what was just eaten.  Talk about a gift from the heart!  Next time you want to do something nice for a friend, co-worker or family member consider a home cooked meal as it can connect and inspire.

Rose McGuire