Skip to main content
On Mothers and Meals featured img
Category: Global Sisterhood

On Mothers and Meals

February 29, 2024

I met a mom last week, my son told me, his voice crisp and clear despite the distance, despite the terrible connection, despite the length of land, the intervals of time, and the width of oceans between us. 

I met a mom and she invited us for dinner, he continued. She made Mexican food for my friends and I. It’s been a long time since we had good Mexican food, he said. In England, it’s hard to find good Mexican food, he reminded me. 

Photo credit: Leighann Blackwood via Unsplash

I met a mom, he said, and she had four kids and a couple of dogs, and a cupboard full of too many mugs and on the couch a pile of pillows. It felt like home, he said. 

And I can picture him, in my mind, this youngest child of mine—grown tall and broad and confident, with a sunny smile that reminds me of a gap-toothed scruffy haired blond boy with dirty hands, for kids always have dirty hands, don’t they, no matter how often you wash, how often you scrub, how often you remind them to clean up before lunch before dinner before snacks, and I can see his face and his earnest expression, the one I have not seen in person for eighteen months, the scattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose, the way his eyes crinkle up when he smiles, and the tiny white scar he got when he fell off a stepladder when he was three. 

I am grateful for this stranger, for this woman, for this mother I have never met, who lives so far away, who folded my son into her home and fed him—for boys, no matter what their age, always seem to need to be fed.

 I am grateful for the food, yes, it would not do to have him fade away from hunger so far from home, but more than the physical sustenance I am grateful for the touch of kindness, the warmth and shelter and comfort of knowing that although he is away from his own family, from his own mother, from his own place in the world there is somewhere he is welcome, somewhere he is known, somewhere to find a sense of the familiar wrapped in good guacamole and crisp, salty chips. 

I hope I can do the same for some other mother’s son. Mutuality, it is called.

I like to think of it as love. 

From our television screens headlines blare, full of stories filled with trauma and tragedy and terror and crime. The lessons being taught by those that position themselves as experts emphasize our effort, our work as an exchange, as an interaction, as a status quo. It focuses on returns and revenues, on gains and greed. This, really, is the problem at the heart of our modern society. We yearn for connection and find only empty spaces where once vibrant neighborhoods thrived. That is not the way I want to see the world. I have a more optimistic view of the impact we can have, and the ways in which our daily labor is more than a selling of ourselves for short and solitary satisfaction.

I like to think of it as hope. 

We have listened so long to the narratives that teach us to fear the unfamiliar that we forget that we are bound by a greater good. We forget that each action towards another person chases away loneliness and alienation and solitude. We forget to have faith in what we can change, no matter how ordinary, no matter how small, like a child who finds wonder in the most minuscule of miracles, like flowers and rocks and ragged bits of colorful string. We forget to nurture a deliberate and joyful intentionality in the way we spend our days.

If we buy into the narrative that only those with great power can create great change, what do we lose of ourselves? What of our essential nature do we surrender if we are convinced that our modest means, our everyday lives, our generosity with what we do and what we have makes no impact? What do we give up if we decide that we cannot change our world through small and simple interactions with other people’s lives? 

If we do not make the effort to consciously connect to others, what will replace our common spaces, the ones we have lost, the ones like the sidewalk, the supper club, the sewing circle, the bowling team, these groups of women gathering in their own communities to meet the needs of their families, their friends, their neighbors, and sometimes even the strangers they meet along the way? What happens if we allow ourselves to be convinced that the most important labor we do is in pursuit of profit over pleasure and participation and peace? 

Photo credit: Sincerely Media via Unsplash

I like to think we are wiser than that.

I like to think that the wisdom of women is found in the compassion of a helping hand. That the wisdom of women is rooted in knowledge and in nurture and in wonder—in the recognition of who we are, of where we came from, and the ways we are all interconnected. That the wisdom of women is woven into the way we look at one another and see sisters and mothers and grandmothers and daughters, the way we can see echoes of the familiar in the eyes of a stranger, the way we see everyone around us not as competition, but as comfort. I like to think that the wisdom of women can be found in leading and advocating and in creating cohesive communities, for how often are we responsible for creating the environments that help others to thrive?

Photo credit: Alex Jones via Unsplash

We are nurturers. Creators. Designers. We write the language of connection into our interactions and our communications, and the way we shape the spaces around us in mindful, meaningful, miraculous ways. We live simple lives, most of us. We work and play and cook and garden. We dig in the dirt and we dream and we make—food and homes and places and relationships—and sometimes, we simply cook a friendly meal for a young man who is thousands of miles from home. 

 

Impact Questions: 

 

How do we get involved in making the world a better place?

Generative, long-lasting change comes from small steps in our own communities. As you get involved, ask yourself what you value. What are you passionate about? What are your areas of expertise, and how can you apply them in your own home, neighborhood, and communities?

What are the areas of need you see around you? 

What are some small actions you can take to begin to make change? 

How can you amplify the voices and actions of others? How can we work together to increase our impact?  

Lead photo credit: Tai S Captures via Unsplash