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‘Tis the (cold and flu) season

December 21, 2011

Lemon Ginger Toddy

1 Tbs grated ginger

1 tsp lemon juice (1 quarter of a fresh lemon, squeezed)

2 generous Tbs honey

top with just-boiled hot water

Like so many other moms out there, I have prepared for, attended and documented Christmas events.  I have shopped, wrapped, mailed and shipped, baked, gifted teachers and loved ones, and decorated.  I have asked myself many times, “Am I doing this for someone else? Am I trying to prove something?  Or is this a genuine gift of my time to show the people I love how much I appreciate them?”  I think I’ve pared it down to doing  things because they matter to me, not to uphold some ridiculous standard.  Even so, I have been hit with both a stomach bug and a chest cold.  My body is saying, “Stop!”

While I fantasize about spending a whole day curled up on the couch with a book and a pot of tea at my elbow, the days when I could just focus on my own needs are long gone, and will not return for years to come.  However, I carve out time for myself, even in the craziness of kids underfoot, to reflect on all the effort before it is consumed.

While I’m sure there are men out there who have done their fair share of extra work this season, today I want to honour women, the tradition-makers, home fire keepers, who do so much, selflessly, to comfort and nurture others.   So I’m gifting you a bedtime story and a recipe.

People called my grandma Vivienne a firecracker.  She was tall with red hair and a mischievous smile.  On nights when we slept over we saw her in silk pajamas, which seemed elegant and intimate. She always had a cheeky smile and a twinkle in her eye.  She loved to tease and I never knew when to take her seriously.  My grandma and grandpa lived in the same house my mom grew up in, and she and her sisters still had their own rooms with some of their old books and a few treasures.  My mom’s room had been appropriated as a sewing room, but it still had a huge comfortable bed with sumptuous pillows and a thick white duvet.  One day I was ensconced in that bed, fighting an awful cold, when my grandma burst in with a mug of steaming tea.  She announced that she had just the thing to pick me up, a lemon ginger toddy.  The mug was almost too hot to hold and the first mouthful was scalding, spicy and sweet.  My sinuses opened and my taste buds exploded with sensation.  It was unlike anything I’d ever tasted.  Much stronger than the milky, sweet tea she and I usually drank out of tiny china cups.  I continued sipping with relief and awe.  This seemed like alchemy.  I had read about children in olden days who had to endure mustard plasters for chest colds, and I drank the tea half afraid that if I didn’t she would try that home remedy next.  However, sometimes old ways endure because they have stood the test of time.  Today when I prepared this drink to combat nausea and a sore throat, I thought of all the women over the years who have nurtured, coddled and cared for sick family members, and I felt my grandma’s love across time.

P.S. My second favourite drink is warm apple cider with a cinnamon stick.  Turns out Baby loves to teethe on the cinnamon stick, which bought me a few more minutes of quiet time.  Hope you take some quiet time for yourself!

One Comment leave one →
  1. seethesea permalink
    December 22, 2011 8:30 am

    started to read this over top of my food processor in preparation of my last batch of shortbread for this xmas season….stopped what I was doing and sat down. Savoured the story and the thoughts it conjured of carving moments on a daily basis.

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