Tag Archives: #fridayreads

The only family without a microwave

microwaves 2

The pang in my chest caught me by surprise as son three said after school one day, kids at school had been laughing at him.

‘Why?’ I demanded. I was ready to rip into the school for allowing those kids to laugh at my gorgeous guy and into those mocking tweeters, and anyone else around me that dared say a word.

‘Because we don’t have a microwave,’ he smiled and half rolled his eyes. ‘They want to know how we heat up food.’

My mouth dropped. I didn’t know how to respond.

‘My friends laugh at me too,’ said son two. ‘Because we don’t have a microwave. We’re the only ones that don’t!’

‘And we still have a T.V. that has a big bulge in the back,’ chimed in son one, stealing my attention from son two. ‘My friends laugh at me for that! And my grey runners. Everyone else has coloured ones.’

I looked at the three boys sitting around the dining table, peeling the melted dark chocolate that coated the fruit cake I’d baked on the weekend and eating that before the cake. They seemed happy enough. I didn’t think they were too concerned.

‘And one kid in class wanted to know why I was eating two apples,’ said son three, licking his chocolate. ‘I could eat three!’

‘I want to know when we can go on a holiday and relax on a beach, like in a resort.’

Poor kids! What have I done to them? But no. As a parent, I’ve done what I believe to be right. ‘Well, microwaves are no good,’ I said. ‘They kill off all the good stuff when you heat things up.’

The nurse’s voice resonated clear in my head, telling me when I had son one to never use a microwave to defrost and warm stored breast milk from the freezer because the microwave would damage the milk. She gave me research to read that outlined how a microwave changes the milk’s composition and causes a loss of nutrients and important immunological properties found in it. I deduced from that, that if a microwave can alter breast milk, it must change the properties of other foods too and so I never bought a microwave.

The three boys looked at me, smirking while eating, as if enjoying seeing me squirm at their interrogation.

‘And the T.V., well, it still works doesn’t it. Why buy another one if this one still works? That’s just a waste.’

‘We never get to have tiny teddies or shapes for school,’ said son two. ‘I haven’t got any good stuff to trade at lunchtime! No-one wants sour dough bread for lunch, except for Ticky. He loves it. But I haven’t got anything else good I can trade.’

The way he’s scoffing into the cake now that he’s finished the chocolate coating, I don’t think he’d want to trade his cake with anyone, that’s for certain! ‘I give you brain food,’ I said. ‘You know that. You all studied the brain at school and understand what it needs.’ They’re smart enough to know that.

They begin talking about a teacher at school and I drift into my own thoughts. They’re not bothered by not having those things and I think in a way, they like standing out as not being the same or one-of-the-crowd. They reek of individuality, in their sourcing of clothes from nonstandard shops like op shops and in their confidence to say no to their friends at a time when peer pressure is at its greatest. They’re not afraid to have friends from all walks of life.

As a parent, I do the best I can to raise my children and give them opportunities to experience, such as to travel around Europe and Asia as backpackers and not as tourists, or grow plants from seeds to pick their own beans, mandarins and apples, and to collect fresh eggs from our chooks. All parents give their own opportunities to their children. And our parents did the same for us.

It’s just that my experiences for my children happen to include learning to cook and heat food in a pot or in a conventional oven, and sometimes over a coal fire while camping.

Transition II: Nurturance

Find yourself

Nurturance: emotional and physical nourishment, support and care given to someone; the ability to give such care.

Transition and nurturance go together. The two are like the rain and sun, night and day. The rain comes, dampens, sometimes floods us and brings the wind with it as its partner to wreak havoc and destruction. Then suddenly, we’re out of the storm and wake to the sun emerging, peering over clouds as if arriving with careful consideration of what’s gone on before. It slowly expands in shine to help grow life again.

Occasionally, that sun bursts past clouds as if to say, ‘Enough is enough!’

With life as a string of constant transitions, nurturance exists as the ability for us to care for others, as well as to care for our own self. But when we’re deep in transition, how do we find or summon that nurturance?

Sometimes that nurturance appears when we feel a small progressive step towards a goal we’re striving towards and which we’ve taken great chances on, or at the senseless passing of a another human who may seem to be a stranger but whose passing strikes so much more in us.
It can manifest in the simplest of grounding forms, as three children home from school crowding around me with two dogs mingling in between, at the ‘Aha, you did it!’ moment of one of those children’s impressive school report after years of struggle.

As I gasp for air while swimming my laps at the pool, I’m appreciative of my powerful breathe when I’ve just heard family news of a grandmother suffering with emphysema leaving this planet. I’m groundingly grateful, albeit in water, for the ease she has once again, and for what I have.

Ultimately, nurturance finds its way, just as Daphne flowers emerge to bask in the day-after sun of a winter solstice to permeate every molecule of air. Poet Rumi sums it up well,

Your heart is the size of an ocean.
Go find yourself in its hidden depths.

However sometimes, it’s not as easy as those simple words reflect and when I’m in deep transition and struggling for nurturance, I use KISS – Keep It Simple Sweeties. Following, is an earlier blog on KISS …

Sometimes life is about keeping it simple sweetie

Sometimes, KISS just doesn’t work. Life is supposed to be about keeping it simple stupid. Yet today, a drabness overcomes me and mutes me to make me question whether my heart exists.
I know what to do though, to connect with my heart and open that love channel again. I’ve learnt how to do it.

So I sit, albeit a squirmy still, close my eyes and ‘be’ in the quiet. I blank my mind and bar thoughts from entering, and begin searching for my heart. To my surprise, I can’t see it or feel it. I know it’s there though, pumping this muted life through me.

I look harder and see nothing but darkness. I glimpse a mass of black, thick tar that has dried rock hard over where my heart should be beating. At least I found where my heart should be.

I begin to visualise breaking through the crust of the tar, but not a budge, nothing. I can’t see my heart, yet I know it’s there suffocating, unable to feel and give, unable to care. I know I must uncover it so I can breathe again.

I squint and squeeze my eyes to envisage my heart beating under the shiny crust.

More, stronger, forcefully …

And there it goes, a pump bursts through to shoot off shattered black pieces of rock-solid tar into forever.

Streams of light begin to pump in and out as a light show of sunbeams blazing. My chest collapses. Relief.

I’m open again, breathing.

Now to the next step of being able to feel and give again.

Our hearts can shut down and our love can be battered and cloaked from time to time, but it’s an energy that never dies. It can become scared and vulnerable, and can go into hiding. It can be so easily hurt and smothered and sometimes feels too hurt to recover. It wants to shutdown forever. And why not? It would save a lot of pain that sometimes, can be too great to acknowledge, let alone overcome.

Yet I refuse to believe that the heart and love can be restrained or stopped, or lay dormant for too long. Love never stops and is endless.

One day, I asked a mother of thirteen how she could love all her children so equally, how she could have that much love for so many. ‘I just do,’ she said to me, calmly and reassuringly. I didn’t understand the concept until I had my own children.

Listening to one’s heart and love can hurt and send us into a black hole. The trick to recovery is to be gentle and understanding, to allow time for recovery even in the face of a gloom and smother greater than one can imagine.

I think a wise friend understood this when she said to me that maybe KISS should be Keep It Simple Sweetie.

Maybe that’s the secret, to be compassionate to one self as well as to others. Love is two-way after all.