I found myself staring at my plate during lunch today. The sight of my meal triggered some memory in me.
It wasn't an exciting meal, but it was a very familiar one. I had a scoop of this macaroni-tuna-egg-salad-type-thing and two slices of banana bread spread with cream cheese. Don't worry, it doesn't offend me if that sounds unappetizing to you. I know. It's kind of a weird meal.
I have no name for the type-thing I was eating. I just know it was this concoction that my mom brought out frequently during the summer growing up on our family's dairy farm. I think maybe she made it up. She probably kept making it for two reasons. One, everyone ate it. (Even my ridiculously picky older brother Dean, which is saying more than you know.) Two, it is served cold and therefore could be easily transported to the field in a Tupperware container to meet Dad or whomever on the tractor for a quick picnic lunch.
And the banana bread with cream cheese on top? Yep, another combination my mother always ate. You should try it - it's tasty.
It's funny how much I unconsciously find myself doing the very things my mother used to do. And how missing someone changes and morphs through time.
I still miss my mom. Maybe even more now than I have before. But it's different. It's not the hungry, devouring everything in its path sort of grief that the early days held. It's a more subtle sorrow.
I'm sad she doesn't know my children.
I miss her godly perspective and her gentle reminders of where I have been that always encouraged me to be patient when I wished my children were...somehow farther down the path. (Particularly one teenager I know. How I long for those gentle reminders that I too wore clothes of which my mother disapproved and listened to bands that were not her favorite. Loudly. And often.)
But there's so much joy in the remembering as well.
C.S. Lewis said, "Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history."
I love to tell my children stories of growing up in Virginia. On a stinky cow farm. And playing with my brothers. Sharing a bedroom with all SIX of us for four long years. (You think I'm kidding.) Hiding in the cornfield. Camping by the pond. Sleeping in the feed room. Playing with matchbox cars in the sand. And eating macaroni-tuna-egg-salad-type-things in the shade with my family.