A Mother Is Much Like a Casserole. It’s All In The Recipe

A Mother Is Much Like a Casserole. It’s All In The Recipe May 10, 2024

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“Try not to be a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”

Albert Einstein

Mother’s Day is fast upon us. Some people dread this day, perhaps because of a difficult relationship. Others dread he day due to the loss of their mother. Or, their relationship with their mother is strained in some way. To those who struggle, may you find peace on this day. To those who long for children, my prayers for you. I have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day. Personally, I find that one day does not really equate to a good mother. Rather, relationships filled with love, mutual respect and friendship should be celebrated on a regular basis. But I digress. Why do we have a Mother’s Day?  

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Mother’s Day Has Been Around For A While 

Mother’s Day has been celebrated in many different countries. In Britain the celebration started in the Middle Ages. After the 4th Sunday of Lent, the children traveled to their family homes on what was called, “Mothering Sunday.” In the modern age the holiday was created in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a woman named Anna Jarvis. Anna’s mother had organized many groups for women to learn to read, to promote friendship and foster general camaraderie. After Anna’s mother passed, she held a memorial service to commemorate her mother’s memory. Within 5 years just about every state was celebrating Mother’s Day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day a national holiday. Over the years the celebration extended to aunts and other people who had stepped into the role of mother for someone.

Motherhood Has Been A Blessing and Bittersweet

I am a mother of six, 4 boys and 2 girls. When I was younger, I never would have dreamed that I would have so many children. When I think back to when they were little, I breathe a little emotional sigh. At one time my husband and I had 4 in diapers. A 3 year old, twins that were 1 and a new born. My husband and I often say, “How did we have the energy?” To be honest, a lot of that time our energy was sheer love for our little humans. Now that all 6 six of them are grown, it is a little bittersweet. There are times when I walk in their empty rooms and just feel gutted. The noise, the mess, the food consumption. We miss all of it. Yet this is all part of the cycle of life. We have our children, teach them to  be good humans, they repeat the cycle. Hopefully better than we did as parents. It is a blessing and a curse. As this Mother’s Day rolls around, an idea came to mind. What was and is in my Mother’s Day Casserole?

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What is in Your Mother Casserole?

Casseroles. A communal dish that is shared with people all around. Where did they originate? They started in France. The dish was simple pasta sheets with cheese and spices. Thomas Jefferson brought a pasta press home from France and shared it with his daughter. After that, casseroles became a part of American culture. As time rolled on, casseroles were shared from people of other cultures. During the Great Depression, casseroles were a tried and true way to stretch ingredients that were hard to find.  Fast forward to today, casseroles are a  staple of the south, particularly in the church.  Recently my husband and I attended a funeral for a family member who had led a very long and fulfilling life.  After her celebration of life service, we were invited to come to the buffet with the family.  We were welcomed with open arms by a group of gray haired delightful church ladies.  When I use the word cornucopia of casseroles, that would be an underestimation of just how much food was on the buffet table.  Chicken casseroles, green bean casseroles, corn casseroles, macaroni casseroles, potato casseroles to name a few. Oh yes, and hand fried chicken.  On another table there were homemade desserts that were a sight to behold.  Fresh Georgia peach cobblers, cake, cookies.  To top it off there was southern sweet tea.  As I was sitting and enjoying the absolutely delectable food, I got to thinking about casseroles.  A lot of recipes for casseroles were passed down for generations.  Much of the preparation for the casseroles was in the similar situation that we were in.  A funeral, a sick family member, a new baby, or just to give a blessing to others. 

Casseroles are Important in the Recipe of Life

As I continued to ponder casseroles, I thought about my mother casserole. What is my recipe? How did I show love to my children? Did I show my kids God’s love? Did I yell too much? Was I too strict? What part of the recipe did these ingredients contribute to the finished casserole? Was is 1/4 cup of love, 1/2 a cup of patience? A heaping tablespoon of grace? There are times I look back and think I winged it a lot of the time. Prayer was definitely at the base of the casserole and the sprinkling of bread crumbs on top. Now that they are grown, I can judge some of the fruits of their raising. They have gleaned their new and better ingredients to add to their casseroles for their children. On the whole, they are continuing to be quite alright. That is the blessing of motherhood. 

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We Can Be Mothers, Friends, and an Inspiration for Other People

As we navigate through life let us contribute to the recipe of others.  Some people need some salt, others may need some sugar.  In Christianity, to be salt to others is to deliberately seek to influence the people in one’s life by showing them God’s love.  Our world is in need of more casseroles.  More folks like the church ladies who with a lovely smile invite perfect strangers to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  This not only tweaks the recipe that is working in the lives of others but yours as well.  To all mothers, whether your children are biological or they are in your lives because someone needs a mother. Critique your casserole, write it down and share it with others. I leave you all with the profound words of Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.”

A little Poem I wrote about Casseroles

A pinch of this, a pinch of that.

A tablespoon, a teaspoon, a cup, and a pint.

A smattering of different spices that add to the recipe.

A heaping cup of cream to give it depth.

A stir of love to help the recipe develop. 

Some salt, some pepper, and maybe some hot spice.

To make the dish taste very nice. 

That is what we can be, to add to the recipe of life.

Be salt to some, be sweet to others, be spicy when the recipe needs a little kick..

Be a savory delight when someone is struggling. 

Be a bonbon or a sweet meat to someone who needs some tenderness.

Be patient, be forgiving, keep tweaking the recipe of life.

With time and fortitude, eventually the recipe will become a luscious delight for all to behold.

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