It’s Maybe Simpler Than I Thought

“Mom, that dinner we had tonight was so fancy!” She speaks it as if I whirled her into a stately chair with arms and antique needlepoint upholstery only to eat (um, what is fancy, these days) bear claws or oysters. As if I set the table with mother-of-pearl inlaid knives and gleaming spoons of gold. You know what it was? Take-out sushi from a place I frequent near the station, 280 yen for the tray of six, that sort of thing.

“The real trick”, she pointed-out when I probed her about all that fancy talk, “was the bowls”. I used oxblood-colored lacquerware with a bit of gold spray-design across the top. Our individual miso soups were sequestered in these orbsl, domed lid keeping them steaming until it was time. This was FANCY to both kids. And the thing is, they were aren’t breakable. I keep them in the cupboard, but never really use the set. Tonight was it. It didn’t take much, but that little breakout of effort more than did the trick. I also placed each maki zushi (sushi roll) on a great big round ceramic platter, dotted with clumps of that candied-pickled ginger. To each child, I gave a mini bowl for their oshoyu/soysauce.

It didn’t take much, but…I may hear of last night’s fabulosity again at breakfast. And maybe I will just experiment with putting really crap breakfasts, like monotone-boring oatmeal, no topping stuff in fancy dishes and see what happens. Stay tuned.

It doesn’t take much, hey?




“Tell me a story about when you were a little girl”. This is her favorite prompt. She’ll ask anyone and should one day write a book. I’ve stopped editing myself so much. Now I just tell whatever comes out. I just make it fun to share and that’s that. Doesn’t take much to be a good storyteller, I think. Because the story just has to be real, enjoyed again in this moment. It may now resonate as silly or terribly delicious, or painful, and you still can’t believe you’re telling. But it will come out, now, again, in these moments with this daughter who is terribly hungry for memories and truth and she will gobble up every word, make you feel hilarious or serious, able to remember great depths. It doesn’t take much to win a heart when you’re in love.

It doesn’t take much to make a puppy happy, or turn a rainy night, coming in wet, to cozy and established. We’re all glad for the moments that spill by, glad for the way being present, really really present is a way to suspend the time. I’m learning, I’m learning as we go, what makes the telling and recalling fun. The sprinkles, the squirt of chocolate syrup added to banana pancakes, the affected British waiter-voice I took-on when serving their mini milks. It’s more tickles and less stressed-out reminders. It’s a whole lot of patience in brushing teeth, but also enjoying, relishing, putting on the crazy cat glasses and acting weird. We all take turns requesting dance parties. Acting fun to have more fun. Challenging and listening and gardening and kissing. It’s simple when you remember joy.

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