I Stumbled But I Won’t Fall

Food coma month began well. The weather turned noticeably colder and I started making hot chocolate for the kids in the morning to warm and spoil them. The trick was making it early enough to lower the temperature to the perfect drinking zone for when they sat down without letting it get cool enough not to be comforting. The slightly melted marshmallows were a bonus of this feat. I usually make oatmeal or cream of wheat a couple of times a week so everyone has a good hot breakfast.

It’s more fun to make dinner when it is cold outside. Pots of stew and simmering soups are my own antidote to the chilly temperatures and making hot casseroles not only makes dinner easy, it’s delicious. And it’s easy to add in everyone’s favorite hot casseroles. This year I started making two casseroles on some days to make it easier to serve dinner on time on class days. I was getting pretty good at this organization thing. Everyone sleeps better with a full tummy.

Chloe shared my love of fall cooking but the casseroles she made had exotic names like gratin and involved more cheese. She had fancier names for stews too. Chloe also shared with me that she drank more red wine in the cooler months. I had never thought about changing wines for the seasons and generally follow the rule for white wine for chicken and fish. Being exposed to foreign cooking had its rewards. Granted, I liked fruity cocktails in the summer and never passed up a highball in the fall, so I do acknowledge the change of seasons in my own way.

I was hosting card party this week, so organizing was a priority. I raced through my cleaning routine and finished the laundry early enough in the week to insure that everyone had the clothes they needed. I ended staying up late Monday night to finish a paper for Lucy’s class and finish Mr. Snow’s reading assignment. The reading was difficult and when I caught myself having to read a few paragraphs a third time, I went to bed. I was quiet at breakfast but every one got fed and took a lunch with them. I packed a couple of homemade cookies in Steve’s briefcase and considered bringing some cookies to Mr. Snow. I wasn’t sure if that was even allowed.

In Snow’s class, I must have looked as if I wasn’t paying attention and got called on. Although I knew the answer, I stumbled a little through my answer. Mr. Snow walked down the aisle towards me. My heart was beating rapidly as he stopped and looked at me closely. Neither of us said anything as he examined my face. I managed a small smile and he turned and walked back up front. I didn’t hear a word he said for a few minutes.

At the card party, we were enjoying some apple cranberry cocktails with a warm cheese dip and crackers. Sarah asked me about school and I told her how scared I was of one of my teachers. Sarah is quiet but wise and should talk more often. She told me that being shy made her feel powerless as a child. Everyone stopped and listened attentively. Good little girls did not make a fuss or grab attention according to Sarah. Sarah went on to let us know how she handled people who scared her. Sarah had learned that if she chose not to let them have power over her, she won the battle. So smart. When we’re afraid, it’s because we don’t have power. Sarah must be as tough as nails inside. Everyone started discussing times when they felt afraid and agreed that someone else had robbed them of something intangible. Sarah’s discosure was very helpful to me and my butterfly-filled stomach. When I prepared for classes, I did my best. I had no illusions about being an A+ student in all of my classes. But I wanted to learn.

It was good for everyone to see Sarah as powerful. It really changed our preconceived notions about how to get the upper hand in scary situations. I poured Sarah another cocktail and thanked her for the advice. Maybe Sarah should be teaching. Sarah summed up her thoughts by saying that her grandmother always told her a stumble might prevent a fall. Sarah thought that high emotions alert us to situations that might result in damage. That’s helpful to remember; I hope I can develop a way to explain that to my children. It is what’s inside that counts.

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