There Will Always Be Porridge
I’m sitting in the kitchen as the house is fading into slumber, sipping on some cocoa, eating left over oatmeal. As I was prepping my oats tonight, I just felt the urge to grab that lime on the counter and grate some zest on top. I then grabbed sugar and sprinkled some on top. For the final touch, heated up some milk and added it to the bowl.
This may sound mighty insignificant, even a bit weird, but to me it was a trip back to simpler times. Even though I almost never drink dairy, and no longer see the need to add sugar to what I eat these days, it felt right to make the exception in this moment.
As I grated the lime, I thought of my childhood kitchen. Warm cereal steaming on the stove. Cinnamon sticks and milk right in the pot. Topped of with nutmeg that my brother and I would grate ourselves. Or on other days, lime zest and a bit of sugar.
Home. Love. Fullness. Warmth.
To this day, oatmeal is still one of my favourite foods. It inspires nothing but warm, comforting thoughts and emotions.
It is interesting how something as simple as grating a lime can make me feel 10 again. Safe and secure in the midst of insecurity. Peaceful, in the midst of chaos.
I don’t think back on those days enough. The cursory look I often give it with my “adult” mind and eyes, tends to oversimplify the obvious and disregard the minute. But truly the duality found in the innocence of childhood is something we should never grow out of.
My childhood wasn’t perfect. In fact, much of it was chaotic, uncertain, confusing, hurtful and left scars that carry on to this day. But in the midst of all these things were bowls of porridge — warm, hearty, plentiful and comforting.
Never in my childlike eyes, did I interpret the oats in my bowl as a reflection of class, status and culture. Not once did I sneer at the sliced hotdog in my spaghetti. (It’s actually pretty good, I promise, we Haitians know how to get it done.)
Grown up Rose understands incomes, inflation, food costs, and nutrition. Today, I would never default to eating a lot of what we grew up on. That being said, young Rose saw strength, abundance, a full belly and tasty meals.
Young Rose knew that love, care and provision. Young Rose knew that in the midst of difficulty, there would always be porridge.
In the era of Trump, Aleppo, and post-truth. In the wake of Walter Scotts and Eric Garners. In the midst of absolute chaos. In the crisp, dark, heart of winter. In the waiting we find ourselves in during advent.
We look on. We mourn. We fear. We wait.
Begging for healing. Craving for justice. Hoping for resolution.
Let us take a page from my younger self’s book. Let us find the bowl of oats in our lives. Those glimpses of life and hope. Those moments of comfort. The friendships that give us life. The day we chose to forgive and love again. While we are not to be willfully blind to what is around us, we can’t let go of these small reminders that humanity is not all death and sadness.
There is more. So much more.
So tonight, as I look at the bowl that I am eating from, I remember my mother. Imperfect, but fully called to motherhood. I remember being 10 years old. Nutmeg, lime, and cinnamon. Creamy, warm, hearty and comforting.
Hope is not lost. I am not abandoned. Deliverance is coming.
And in the meantime, there will always be porridge.