Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

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via google

As I wrap presents, write out menus, email to find out who’s bringing what to the holiday feast, I can’t help but think of my mother. She was NOT organised, nor was she an organiser. Tell her what to do, and she did fine. But I don’t remember her ever taking on…projects.

We had holiday dinners elsewhere, for the most part. At one of my grandmothers’ houses, or even at her elder sister’s a couple of times. I don’t remember special holiday dinners at our homes — all the many of them we had as we followed my father — or even breakfasts.

Mother never wrote out a menu, to my knowledge. At least not for a party. The one time she told the cook to make macaroni&cheese&applesauce, we ended up with exactly that: macaroni & cheese that had applesauce carefully blended throughout.

I do remember eating out, unusual for my generation. We went to the officers’ club regularly. The one in Bangkok served a wonderful dessert: Coupe Vanille: scoops of vanilla ice cream between two pale & perfect meringues, slathered w/swoops of whipped cream. Decadence in a silver dish.

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via wikipedia

I was an impatient child, probably inherited from my mother, who also hated waiting. I would fidget. She would press her lips together and sigh. Sometimes loudly. I grew up thinking impatience was pretty normal.

Over the years, I’ve learned to make menus. Learned the skills my mother must have mastered eventually, as I know she told various cooks in various countries what to feed us. I learned to cook, as well — but not from my mother. From my great-aunt, and my mother-in-law, both excellent cooks. I even learned patience, on a small scale, but still. It’s a necessary element of beginner’s heart.

Today, as I wait for the two parties that mark this holiday season, and the arrival of my perfect and adored grandson (and his wonderful parents, as well!), I try to remember that patience is another word for anticipation — that lovely tingly feeling of something wonderful juuuust around the corner. And the axiom my old ladies taught me: anything worth having is worth waiting for. Even if it seems to take FOREVER.

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