Week 15 and the Family Spoon
Family Spoon….not the one I meant. 🙂 Read on….
Hello to another fantastic week of Finding 52!
I am so encouraged this week to head into the topic of Kindness with US, as it seems that I really enjoy any chance to reflect on what directly relates to my family. Even though the past couple of weeks of Kindness with ME and Kindness with YOU have been rough, I push ahead to this week, knowing I will absolutely revisit these tough topics again!
So let’s get started with what will be my icon or reminder of the week. My mum was an avid cook. She loved trying new recipes and quietly beamed when presenting a new dish she was proud to serve. She was also very secretive about certain recipes and ingredients, so if you are hoping this blog might finally reveal the mystery of that one dish you wish you had the recipe for but never got from her, I am going to disappoint you. Mum did not give me those recipes! Not even her own daughter, that is how private her recipes were.
On occasion, I have magically created an exquisite meal, been asked for the recipe, and rather than reveal it was almost 100% a fluke occurrence, I bashfully say, it is an old, secret family recipe. But when mum faced the same question, she would nod and smile, and hope the person would forget.
I once got caught trying to record one of mum’s recipes for a church lady that left our house without her requested ingredients list in hand, so she asked me to get it for her. Thinking nothing of it, I started to write out the famous, carrots and cauliflower dish mum made for special meals, unaware that this lady had been asking and asking mum, who had been avoiding and ‘forgetting’ for many months. Mum’s smile was half delighted pride and half mischief, as she calmly told me not to give anyone her recipes, because then they would stop being special if everyone had them.
So, maybe she wanted to keep that special recipe to feed to her grandkids some day with something she knew they could only get at Grandma’s house. Or possibly she realized that I was not interested in cooking anything other than cheeseburgers and spaghetti at midnight, so what good would a recipe do me? I could start the potatoes and take out the meat from the freezer, but she finished the production, with me peering in to glance at the process.
The kitchen was her domain!
It seems fitting that I use a spoon I saved from the dinnerware set we used as a family, in a week that is focussed on family or US. You will notice it has its tip broken off at the top, which is a true mystery to me how that could have happened. It is a very sturdy spoon, not like any other newer, flimsy version we have in our drawer currently. It is certainly a chip and not simply a worn down patch, as the dip is significantly grooved and not smooth. I am left to imagine what could have made that dent in a solid steel spoon, which conjures up images of seeing it used incorrectly to open bottle lids, or used as a wedge for a random home project.
Whatever caused this chip, it makes the spoon even more dear to me. I can recognize it easily. If it were mixed amongst other spoons, I would find it.
It is the spoon my big brother and I used to stir cookie dough when we were old enough to follow a recipe independently. Mum held this spoon while selflessly stirring up deliciousness for a family she loved. No one else has a spoon like my spoon.
There are likely hundreds of thousands spoons like it in the country, it is not a unique design from a custom made set. It probably was not expensive to buy. This spoon is a run of the mill, 1970’s, factory made product, yet it holds ultimate meaning to me.
I think this is like family. We all have people in our lives that we are related to…..we live with…. or struggle with, we cherish….or avoid, but they are family.
My family is not special, as in we do not have any particular status of fame, wealth or skills, but what we do have, are recognizable dents. This is not a bad thing.
How else would I be able to find my way through foggy, stormy, dark nights of the soul; nights I cannot even recognize myself, let alone see the path ahead. Yet, something familiar appears before me, pulling me closer to it, drawing me into safety, guiding me toward comfort…..my uniquely dented family. No matter how crazy the chips and cracks make me feel sometimes, I know they help to give me an identity, to gain unity or clarity, and to be okay living with imperfection.
My dented spoon does its job. It places no ill effects on those that use it. There are no toxic outcomes due to its marred shape. I know ill and toxic spoons exist. I lived with one for 14 years! I think we sometimes get to choose who we call family, when our actual family refuses to be one.
I choose this spoon. It is not perfect.
Not perfect. That is me. That is my family.
It makes me smile to think about focussing on being kind to all the people I love, as though just that alone were enough to fulfil all their needs, but I know they need more than that….or do they?
This is what I would like to find the answer to this week. Having already discovered that kindness alone would have allowed me to stay in a life of hardship, maybe it is all one needs.