Since Mother’s day is close, and since so many of my readers are special moms in special places, I wanted to send something about being a mother. On my personal Mother’s Day I will speak at a camp. Part of the message is about generosity. Then I found this chapter of Sue Eenigenburg’s newest book, More Screams, Different Deserts, and I knew I had the right thing to share with you.
Maybe Sue’s words will bring back some memories, both sweet and bittersweet, but mostly I hope you find yourself smiling, with maybe a knowing chuckle or two. Enjoy.
“We could find some chocolate in our host city, but not Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Hershey bars or Nestle’s chocolate chips. My parents were kind enough to send us care packages filled with all kinds of goodies. We would ration one bag of chocolate chips to make three batches of chocolate-chip cookies rather than using them all for just one batch as the recipe recommended. We could hardly imagine using the whole package all at once! Rationing became a habit.
My teenage niece was visiting us for Christmas and asked if she could make some cookies. I said yes. I happened to come into the kitchen just as she was pouring the entire bag of chocolate chips into the dough for just one batch of cookies. Before I could stop myself I yelled, “What are you doing?”
She was stunned and stammered, “I’m making cookies. I asked if I could.” I had forgotten to tell her about rationing. By the way, her cookies were amazingly good and chocolaty! Still, rationing remained a way of life for anything that was hard to find—from Ziploc bags to candy from home. (But especially candy from home!)
It was my job as the mother to protect my children from too much sugar, and I took that job very seriously. Therefore it was part of my sacrificial duty to eat most of the chocolate! We would open the care package, and I would dole out amounts appropriate for the children; then I would put the rest away to enjoy at my leisure—usually in secret or after they were in bed. They went to bed happy that they could have some candy, and I went to bed full!
There were other things that were hard to find in our city. Apples were rare, and those you could sometimes find were costly. One year for Christmas I asked for apples and hoped to get some as a gift. On Christmas morning we opened our packages and (yes!) I got a kilo of Granny Smith apples!
As I cut my apples into pieces to eat, I realized I shouldn’t be selfish. I should share. Apples were healthy and children should eat them. And so I asked a question—a question that continues to haunt me long after my children have become adults—“Who wants to chew the core?” And the amazing thing is that there was a chorus of “Me! Me!” I would kindly dole out the core for the designated one to chew on and then discard. Everyone was happy!
As my children grew and care packages would arrive, we would open them and ooh and aah over all that was inside. The day finally came when my oldest son said, “Mom, why don’t you divide up all the candy into piles so we each have our own.” I looked over at my cunning child and primly told him that he could trust his mother.
He replied, “With everything but chocolate.” That ended (for the most part) my selfless sacrifice to protect my children from too much sugar. We began to divide the spoils and, with some supervision, they managed to make it last quite a while—maybe even longer than mine!
I’d like to think that memory has faded into history for our family. However, to this day, whenever someone in my family eats an apple and I’m around, the question will inevitably pop up again, “Do you want to chew on the core?”
Sue thought provokingly adds, “How can we teach our children to share when it is so easy to be selfish?”
Thank you, Sue, for sharing so honestly! Many of us can identify! While we laugh with you about how you were found out, we blush as we remember our own ‘secret’ failings with our children. Praise God for His forgiveness and for our children’s mercy.