A little syrup on your olive branch?

My son made me pancakes for dinner tonight.

I was feeling a little under the weather (it was really just an excuse for being lazy), and so my eldest son made me bacon and pancakes and brought them to me on a tray to eat in bed.

Frankly, I was surprised as all get-out! There are days when the Covid restrictions get to us all, and he and I have recently been like ships passing in the night. There’s just too much ‘togetherness.’ The offer itself seemed to be an olive branch—not exactly the white flag I was looking for, but it would do.

Now, I’m not a lover of pancakes or bread, and since trying to avoid most gluten, that generally includes anything made with flour. But just like the mother of a child who makes overcooked eggs and burned toast, I was prepared to eat them. And like it.

He’s really a good cook, even though he is highly picky about cutting off fat and making sure nothing is pink inside of any meat. He lowers the temperature on cooking instructions and bakes things maddeningly slow. But if he’s eating, he’s entitled to do it any way he likes.

So I picked up the fork and took a bite. Honestly, they tasted just like every other pancake I’ve had in my life—I always think of them as cooked library paste. But I took a second bite and then a bit of bacon. It was delicious, and as I chewed, I noticed… and remembered.

There was something really tasty in it that had nothing to do with flavor. In my mind’s eye, I heard my mother’s voice talking to me: You cooked this with love, didn’t you? I can tell.

Mom had a sixth sense. I don’t know about the eyes in the back of her head, but she sure could tell when something was done out of obligation, anger or love. She was like a radar detector and picked up vibrations in the air. She was able to walk into an empty room and ‘feel’ what had taken place there before her arrival.

I realized what I was savoring was the love he poured into making that meal. It surprised me more than a little, and when he returned to retrieve the tray, I said to him what my Mum had said to me.

He can often be gruff and usually shakes off any kind of compliment, but he did a double-take when he looked at me.

Was it my imagination? Or did he smile?

Love, the magic seasoning. Use liberally. You can’t use too much.

Author: Hillary Volk

I started writing when I was seven, and my ultimate goal was to become a published author. I've partially satisfied this desire by keeping a journal for most of my life. After graduating from Rutgers University, I worked in a large accounting firm as a knowledge manager, which honed my research skills on the newly developing internet. The study of Natural Health and Hygiene has been a passion of mine for over 40 years and I have a particular interest in the connection between behavior and nutrition. This knowledge was immensely helpful during the time I cared for my mother at home until her death in 2016, when I discovered a relationship between ADHD and dementia. I'm currently retired and writing Bread Madness, a book which I hope will help to change our institutionally driven culture into one that is more supportive and compassionate toward the elderly.

8 thoughts on “A little syrup on your olive branch?”

    1. One of the most important lessons I am learning as I age is that I have to stop and listen more to what is being said – and sometimes NOT being said.
      Because my mind goes a mile a minute, I’m often thinking about what I want to say. Racing to talk about the next shiny thing invalidates the speaker. I wish I had learned that lesson earlier in life. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, it’s true. I notice that with my children, they want me to listen to their thoughts, stories, etc. If I try to share “my stories,” it ruins the mood…. of their wanting to share, because they want it to be about “them.” It’s almost like they are 5 years old coming home from kindergarten and we need to be smiling, hugging them and wanting to hear what they have to say. I have noticed this too. Parenting — even when they leave, we still need to be fine tuning our communication skills. Happy Thanksgiving!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Duncan. The Fine Art of Listening – I think I slept through that lecture.. I’m having to go back to make it up. I always thought my conversations were fast-moving because I was engaging with the other person, and that may be true for some. But I didn’t understand that to others, I may have been steam-rolling over their comment. Thank you for yours!


      1. I believe the problem you faced while at school was that the course on true communication was never taught. I know I never saw it on the syllabi of my core courses, nor mentioned in any electives offered.

        It wasn’t until I met my mentor that I learned to sit still and listen, or in my case, walk and listen! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

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