the spices of life

The kids have been sick for a few days now, just the gentle sickness of fall and school starting; mildly uncomfortable and reasonably fun. I isolate myself in the house with them as low fevers ebb and flow and tummies and heads ache and keep them near their beds. I bring chaomomile tea with real maple syrup sweetener and glass upon glass of lemon water. We indulge in root beer for our tummies and pizza to go when we feel like eating. We read endless stories together, watch netflix much more than usual and in-between, of course, they must imagine as best as their sick bodies can manage. What are books and shows for if not to stimulate their endless pretendings. . . . .

Tonight all are feeling better and we rallied to cook dinner together. Chilli, by Quinn’s request, with beautiful mild chile peppers, pinto beans and beef. Naomi and Quinn’s favorite part of cooking in the seasoning. Once I pull out the spices they both magically appear by the stove, arguing enthusiastically over who will get to add the curry (the spice of the month around here!) to whatever we are cooking. ( I have been surprised to find how much curry adds to many, many dishes. Curry chili is very good as is curried homemade chicken noodle soup – our new standby dinner! ) After seasoning, I pull out yogurt and fresh cilantro from the fridge while Naomi sets the table super-pretty, as she always does. We add garnish to each bowl of soup and bring to the table David’s whole wheat cornbread straight from the oven. David and I are instructed to wait in the hallway to appear for dinner at the restaurant (we decide to name it “Hot Mama’s”). We kiss in the hallway while waiting and walk hand-in-hand into the “restaurant” where Quinn shows us to our seats and Naomi pours our drinks. As our delicious meal is devoured the kids get up to take periodic “bathroom” breaks from the table during which they reappear as waiters to serve us.

After such an amazing evening we cannot help but tip our kind staff . . . . they are amazed and delighted when a few crisp dollar bills show up on the table as they come back to clear! David and I watch with glee from the couch – how fun to bring such joy into each others lives through the simple acts of service and imagination.

I wash up while David reads an amazing library book find, The Story of Salt, which has us all surprised and enlightened. Lively discussion continues as we all head up for early bedtime.

Not every evening is nearly so perfect but each one special and beautiful if we can only stop to remember gratitude, sense joy, add our own quick creativity and most of all, do life together.

And a side note . . . . I do think it’s wonderful to pamper sick children. Our kids almost look forward to being sick because of all the extra fun and comfort. And I think that’s just how it should be.

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