вторник, 22 марта 2011 г.

A Pot of Soup

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms

BY: Catherine Ring Saliba

Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.
~Auguste Escoffier

There I was, sitting in a shabby chair in a shabby apartment on a shabby street in a shabby part of town. The apartment was the upstairs of a shabby... all right, rundown house located across the street from an extremely odorous dairy. "Shabby" is the most accurate word that comes to mind when I think back to that time and place, and it also describes my state of mind.

The year was 1963. I was a brand new mother, having given birth to my first precious child only a few days earlier. The birth was difficult, including forty hours of labor and the use of forceps. Cesareans were rare back then, and paternity leaves were nonexistent. Thank goodness changes have been made in that regard, and fathers now share equally (well, almost) in the joys and terrors of this grand adventure.

On this particular day, my husband was at work and would leave for one of his frequent business trips the next day. I had no family nearby, and since we were new to the area, we'd had little chance to make friends. As I sat there holding my very cranky baby, I felt so sad and exhausted. The stirrings of hopelessness began to creep into my soul. Postpartum depression was not a household word then. I looked around the tiny room, then at my beautiful little daughter, and wondered how on earth I would be able to care for her, be a good mother and wife or even cook dinner later that evening.

When a knock sounded at my door a few minutes later, I was just preparing for a good cry, but managed to stifle the tears in order to answer the door. There stood a smiling young woman close to my own age, carrying a gigantic kettle. She stepped inside, placed the kettle on my kitchen table, and then introduced herself. She lived in another shabby apartment in another shabby house nearby, and somehow had heard that a new mom lived here. She, too, had a new baby, just a few weeks ago, and knew that I would undoubtedly be too tired to cook. So, she brought me a big pot of homemade soup.

I am convinced that her kindness saved my sanity that day. The soup lasted for many days, and it tasted like caviar, steak and crème brûlée to me. Our friendship lasted for years until we both moved away and, sadly, lost track of each other.

My baby girl grew up to be a brilliant and fabulous young woman, earning two master's degrees, an MBA, and a PhD, and then to marry and have four beautiful children of her own. She accomplished all of this with a severe hearing loss, and eventually had two successful cochlear implants.

Despite all of that, I haven't forgotten my early distress, and the wonderful gift of the heart given to me at my lowest time, by my caring neighbor. I have continued the tradition and have given a pot of soup to many new mothers among my acquaintance along the way.

Wherever you are, my lovely friend of long ago, thank you!


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