Matzah Ball Soup

My fifteen year old is home sick today. For the most part she stays in her room and rests, but I know she appreciates me coming to check on her from time to time. When I went in a few minutes ago, she asked me to make her some Matzah Ball Soup. In our mixed faith household, matzah ball soup has become a comfort food. Even though my mother never stocked matzah meal in her house, I always make sure to have some on hand in my pantry.   It is not hard to make matzah ball soup, it is just time-consuming. My husband will make fresh chicken stock, but I usually use grocery staples to keep it simpler. I mix the matzah meal in a bowl with eggs and oil,      

chill it while I boil the water, form it into balls

and plop them into the pot, quickly putting the lid over it.

We used to only have matzah ball soup with holiday meals, but Nana has been with the kids often enough when they were sick that she knew to pick up groceries at the local store and cook up some TLC with her more traditional recipe. For my daughter, the request for this soup translates into a subtle plea for attention. She needs me to acknowledge she is not feeling well and deserves some special treatment. I recognize this need but do not mention it. Instead I obligingly fill my role as mom and caregiver, one that does not come up as frequently in her teenage years. It is a tacit agreement that she needs me more than she cares to admit and that she knows I love her, even though she won’t say it.

The parent-child relationship changes so much over the course of a lifetime. We start as completely dependent on our parents and grow to break away from them. As we mature into adults, we reform our view of our parents and gain mutual respect. While we live independent lives, it is still reassuring to have a parent to ask advice of, or to give moral support when you are down. As our own parents age, we know they may need our assistance too. After a lifetime of pouring out love for us, we want to give some of that back to them.

Now I am in the role of sending that loving message to my own child. By taking the trouble to make her this matzah ball soup, I am letting her know how important she is to me and how much I care. I already know there will not be much of an exchange, other than a brief expression of thanks; but a lecture is not necessary to convey my thoughts. The matzah ball soup has become a symbol of comfort and love. It shows us that we are family and will do what it takes to keep each other well. And I know on another day it will come back from her direction. But for now, this says it all…

Advertisements

Torn in Three Directions

How do you know if you are a member of the Sandwich Generation? When you feel yourself being pulled in opposite directions at the same time.

Like today, for example.  My husband and I had plans to meet with our financial advisor while the kids were in school. After the appointment, I had  made a lunch date with my father and was going to assist my mother with her car battery. I was also trying to keep to my routine of yoga followed by some writing. None of this plan felt outside of my realm. I am very organized and had everything under control. But, as anyone with kids knows, well-laid plans can quickly change.

This became apparent when  my son woke up with a migraine and nausea and has needed my attention.  Instead of putting him on the school bus, I have been trying to soothe him and give him medication to ease his pain. In a few minutes I will bring him some warm broth to drink. All the while he is so apologetic for causing me trouble. How do I answer that? Isn’t caring what moms do best? I just want to be there and make him better.

But now I am torn. I feel badly leaving him on his own when he is so miserable, but I have already rescheduled with our planner twice; and my father is leaving for his winter residence in another week so it could be one of the last chances to see him. How does the middle generation keep it’s head on straight? Talk about multi-tasking…. I’m even trying to squeeze in this blog. Finding the right balance in life is complicated. I care so much about everyone and I love my family deeply. It so hard to take a deep breath and step back,  line up our priorities. And how do we do that? How do we choose which tasks are more important? Are they the ones that involve caring for people or accomplishing things? And what do you do when there is a time limit?

It all comes down to choices and doing the best you can. You can’t give your all to everyone, but you can strive for quality over quantity. So how is this for a solution? I’ll care for my son until I have to leave (he’s asleep right now so I can do my blog); I’ll head to my meeting (which I do not want to cancel for a third time), and then keep my visit with  dad short but sweet. If I don’t get to the battery, I can probably find another day to do it. I’ll feel better getting back home to check on my child.

A New Year for Growth and Change

   My kids have been back to school for almost a week now. They are getting adjusted to their daily routine and I am trying to find my own rhythm. For the last 9 years, I have enjoyed teaching pre-school. Four and five-year olds can be so inquisitive and eager to learn new things. It was a great experience for me and I occasionally run into a student or parent who remembers me. I love to hear how they are doing and think that I played a small part in their lives.
    Every September, I started out with a fresh crop of students-all of different personalities and levels of readiness. By the end of the year, they were very comfortable with themselves and ready to move on to kindergarten. I was proud of my accomplishment.
    However, this year I decided to step back for a time. I feel there is something else I want to do, more people I want to reach. So here I am blogging my thoughts on this webpage as I attempt to determine what the next steps in my career will be.
    I decided to name my blog the Middle Generation, because like many of you I am a mom with older parents. My kids are now teenagers and my parents are very active in their own lives. However, I feel as if I am juggling my attention between the needs of my kids and the obligations I feel to look after my parents.
    My parents are dealing with cataracts, knee replacement, insomnia, arthritis and weight, as well as some nerve-wracking blood tests as they age. At the same time, my kids have reached a stage where their grades actually count. My oldest one will be driving in a year and looking at colleges in two. My younger one is gaining his independence on his bike or online (I’m not sure which is more dangerous).
    I plan to use this blog as a way to talk about subjects on both sides of me, and figure out how to find time for myself- both  physically and emotionally. Thanks for joining me on my journey.