When the girls and I were first on our own after I lost Joe, I was working hard to make life as normal as possible. I didn’t feel normal, but my game plan was to act it out for them and life would creep into me.
Everyone knows the key: Fake it ’til you make it.
I’d purchased a new crock pot and found a super easy vegetable beef soup that was actually really delicious*. The girls loved it and I made it pretty frequently.
After we moved from the apartment into the house, I quit making it. Not for any particular reason. I just rotated it out for the spring and forgot to bring it back in. And they never asked for it again. I don’t know why all three of us developed soup amnesia, we just did.
At work, we like a good pot-luck. During the fall and winter we have one every six weeks or so. It’s fun and we all get to try new things. The theme for today’s pot-luck was “Soup and Bread”. My soup recipe barged back into my brain and I had a planned pot for the communal luck. That’s how pot-lucks work; lots of pots, lots of luck.
I got up early this morning to put it together and I was suddenly rushed back to the last time I made it. We were in the apartment and I was trying my best for the girls and the three of us would get home in the winter and eat soup and watch TV and commiserate about homework and the struggles of middle school.
I don’t get sentimental for that part of my life. It wasn’t a great time. It wasn’t even a good time. I’d left everything and everyone I knew and loved in Detroit to move to Grand Rapids. I disliked living in an apartment (even thought it was a snazzy apartment). Life was so… claustrophobic (?). Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I felt it in all of my being.
When we moved to the house, things were looking up. I’d found a different job I really loved, I was stepping into a sort of clarity, I’d purchased the new house all by myself for my family that had been through so much in their short lives. I was starting to accept my role as head-of-household just as the IRS was redefining me as just that.
Maybe we left vegetable beef soup behind accidentally. Maybe my id left it behind because I was moving forward.
I stood in the kitchen this morning making soup for work. I’m back where I was all those years ago in the apartment. I’m starting a new life from scratch. Again. Maybe that’s where the soup belongs in my life and I just didn’t realize it. It took a pot-luck to bring it back.
Hopefully there are healing properties in this soup.
Soup as emotional usher is weird. 0 stars. Would not recommend.
*the secret: don’t use all beef broth. Half beef, half vegetable broth. It cuts the salt and gives the base a complexity that doesn’t quite have a place. Add powdered mustard and suddenly it’s a flavor powerhouse.