Every morning, I make oatmeal for Steve.
Not some mornings. Every morning.
I have easily made oatmeal 700 times in the past two years. It’s one of the few things he’s still able to swallow easily and though it’s typically a healthy breakfast, I load it up with brown sugar and butter and half and half, trying to keep Steve’s weight from sinking.
Can I be very transparent and tell you that I loathe oatmeal? Not because I make it so often, just because the texture makes it seem pre-eaten or something. However, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t always enjoy the making of it either. Sometimes I resent the extra chore in an already-full morning. Sometimes, I forget to make it until I’m already late for work and then I’m running around, banging cupboard doors and spilling brown sugar on the floor and wishing for all the world that I had a Fairy Godmother.
But I’ve also had some really sacred moments while holding that box of Quaker Oats. It may sound crazy, but this is what I’m thinking: no matter what happens, no matter where the future goes and regardless of what I do or don’t accomplish in this life, at least I’ll know I did one thing every day that blessed and sustained my sweetest friend. I’ve gotten a lot of things really wrong over the course of our battle with this disease, but maybe I got this one small thing right. And maybe a small thing, done with love hundreds of times, ends up being a pretty substantial something .
I suppose, ultimately, the shift taking place in my thinking is this: what if the little “necessaries” we do every day as we push towards achieving our dreams or finding our purpose or changing the world…what if these micro-blessings like writing the school lunch checks and calling your grandma in DesMoines and picking up your husbands socks for the bajillionth time and forgiving your son for being late again…what if they’re really the big things after all? Perhaps the sheer force of their annoyingly repetitive nature gives them a weightiness that lets love sink in deep. And, love? Is everything.
So, I’m starting to cozy up to the idea that maybe -at the end of all this – my tombstone will read: Here lies Bo Stern. Her oatmeal changed the world.
Wouldn’t that be something?
Seeing with new eyes,