By Beck

The phone rang very early this morning, which made me reach for it with that feeling of impending doom. What horror would I hear?

It was my daughter’s best friend. She needed a vegetable peeler for school. Ah.

So after phoning my own mother – I only own one vegetable peeler, which the Girl handily remembered that she needed for school – my child was off to school with her bookbag full of sharpness, ready. And the class spent their day making soup.

My daughter told me this after school. She tells me things in brief installments:

First, I heard that they made soup.

Half an hour later, I heard that it was potato soup.

Later still: homemade cheese crackers.

And just now: homemade cheesecake. Which is really interuppting the lyrical narrative flow of this, I must admit. I would like some homemade cheesecake is what I am primarily thinking right now. I am hungry writing these words, writing potato soup and cheese crackers and strawberry (she has just told me strawberry, whispering the word into my ear in passing) cheesecake.

Today, I read the story of Persephone to my little ones. Hades snatched her away as she was picking wild flowers and took her underground with him and her mother, Demeter, wandered the earth weeping, wanting her daughter back. (“This is an awful story,” said my son, sensibly.) And Demeter turned the world cold and barren and the people were starving as she mourned and raged.

My daughter heads off to school most mornings. And each day she comes home a little bit older, with a little bit more of what she will need to know before she leaves me for good, for her adult life that stretches ahead of her. It snows most mornings now, and I watch her go, feeling hungry for time that will not return. I am also frequently feeling really annoyed, because getting a moody ten year old ready for school is not my idea of fun.

Strawberry cheesecake, she told me, rubbing her stomach happily. And she gave me back my vegetable peeler and skipped away and I thought about Demeter weeping and raging and it was twenty seven below today.

20 Responses to Paring
  1. Stephanie
    January 28, 2010 | 9:50 pm

    Carter came home yesterday telling me about school and somewhere in the middle he said he told his teacher he didn’t have breakfast so she gave him goldfish crackers and I was like- YOU ATE BREAKFAST- and he was all, oh I forgot I did. And so I told him how it made me look like a bad Mom and ugh.


  2. christine
    January 28, 2010 | 11:14 pm

    now i am really hungry.

    and cold.

    and sort of sad as i think of my own growing girl, quietly asleep and warm in her cozy bed upstairs.


  3. allysha
    January 28, 2010 | 11:30 pm

    Now I am really craving cheesecake.

    Also, nice post.

  4. Nicole
    January 29, 2010 | 11:15 am

    Oh. Your boy is right, that is an awful story. Sigh.

  5. Sue
    January 29, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    I think your muse speaks to me.

    Yep, she definitely does.


  6. Michael
    January 29, 2010 | 5:04 pm

    But when Persephone returns, it is summer again; until a few teenage years when it varies between winter and Halloween.

    Eventually, though, you can make it summer again just by thinking about them, wherever they happen to be.

  7. Kat
    January 29, 2010 | 6:28 pm

    I agree with the boy, that is an awful story.

    And now you have me craving cheesecake (and soup) and pining for my growing boys who will soon leave me. Bah.

  8. Omaha Mama
    January 29, 2010 | 7:26 pm

    My girl read to me last night and I watched her instead of the book. I’m in awe of the fact that my wee baby is now in first grade and reading to me fluently. When did this happen? Sometimes it makes me want to keep us all home, FOREVER. Which is pretty unrealistic, I realize. But tempting still.

  9. Kelly
    January 29, 2010 | 9:30 pm

    It’s an awful story.

    But it’s obviously stood the test of time because there’s something of truth there.

    Even if the truth is just that the loss of a child ruins our world.

  10. Mary
    January 29, 2010 | 10:15 pm

    Now I want a story about how to overcome cheesecake cravings please. Otherwise my wii scale thing will mock me (more) and that would just never do.

  11. Veronica Mitchell
    January 30, 2010 | 3:59 pm

    The thing I like about the Demeter story – unlike, for instance, Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet – is that Demeter never gives up trying to rescue Persphone. What Hades did cannot dim her love for her. In a world where so many horrible things happen to young women, that is a powerful message of hope.

  12. Tracey
    January 30, 2010 | 6:54 pm

    The cheesecake sounds great, but I am wanting that potato soup…

  13. Minnesotamom
    January 30, 2010 | 7:40 pm

    You read such interesting things. I just finished

  14. Minnesotamom
    January 30, 2010 | 7:41 pm

    doh! Just finished “The Gentle Art of Domesticity” thanks to you. I may post about it someday…

  15. Susanne
    January 31, 2010 | 11:40 am

    I love how the Girl doles out little bits and pieces of information at her discretion. I love it because it’s to you and you write about it so wistfully, but if it was happening in real life to me I’m a detail girl and I want the details and I want them now! :vD

    My boy graduates this year. It’s shocking to me to write that.

  16. erin
    February 1, 2010 | 3:05 pm

    I love reading your stuff because it gives me a glimpse into my future with my kids. ANd strawberry cheesecake—MMmMmmmMm. Not fair.

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