I don’t remember exactly what it was that I hoped my grandchildren would ask of me. I don’t clearly recall what dreams I had back in the days when my teaching colleagues used to call me “NonniWannabe”. I know that I wanted my grandchildren to love and trust me. But I’m not sure that I had a really clear idea of exactly what I wanted the kids to want from me.
Do you know what I mean?
But I think that today showed me exactly what I’d hoped for.
It was a typical spring morning in New England. We live far from the coast, so the mornings here are still cold. Our son-in-law arrived, as usual, with his two kids in his arms. They came into the house dressed for the sixty degree day that was forecast, but the morning was frosty.
The kids came in and sat down for breakfast. I had put out fruit, as usual, but also made nice warm toast. I offered oatmeal or waffles. Both kid wanted pineapple, clementines, milk, and nice cold grapes. By the end of the meal, our Ellie was shivering.
“Snuggle me, Nonni,!” she asked. “I’m freezing!”
I held my girl, wrapped her in a blanket, snuggled her as she had asked.
“I’m so cold!,” she told me. “I need your warm snuggles.”
My heart started to melt. I had intended to vacuum the floors, but I was forced to sit still and hold my sweet little girl in my arms. Her french braid tickled my chin, and her bony little bottom wriggled on my leg. It was heaven.
As we finished our breakfast, I told the kids that I had some leftover chicken to give them at lunchtime.
“No thanks,” said Ellie. “I want some nice hot soup for lunch.”
I blinked. I answered honestly, “Honey, I don’t have any soup ready.”
She turned her head and gazed up at me with her deep brown eyes. She put one hand on my cheek.
“Nonni,” she said sweetly, “Just check your ingredients. I bet you can make soup!”
Holy trusting child.
She was cold. She had the shivers. She was trusting me to warm her with my loving arms, but she was also telling me that she was completely confident that this old woman could whip up some homemade soup in no time.
Naturally, I pulled out some frozen chicken stock, added some garlic, onions, salt, pepper and bay leaf, and let it all simmer. Of course, without a doubt, Johnny and I pulled apart last night’s chicken and added it to the pot. We let it simmer while we played all morning, and then I cooked up some ditalini and added frozen peas to bring down the temperature.
I served it to the kids, who were starved after an hour outside playing in the cold, wet yard.
“Oh, yum,” said Ellie. She slurped up a big spoonful of hot broth, and smiled at me. “See? I knew you had some soup around.”
And now I know.
THIS is what I wanted my grandchildren to think about me. I wanted them to think, “Nonni will keep me warm. Nonni will be able to cook up the best food to keep me healthy and warm and safe.”
I wasn’t even sure what I wanted them to think, but you know what?
THIS is it.
It’s about soup.
Other Grandmoms, do you get it?