Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On Being Fed (at Write Doe Bay)

Today is my first full day back from five full days away.  My body returned to laundry piles and grocery lists, carpool lines and fixing my eternally clogged sink. But while I do these simple chores, my mind is still processing this experience called Write Doe Bay (or, better yet, check out #writedoebay on Instagram) that happened on the other side of the country, with complete strangers who are no longer strangers.  I'll write about the writing aspect of Write Doe Bay another time, but it is was on the experience of being fed that seems most profound at the moment.

I am a mother of three young kids. I am easily moving, working, cooking in the kitchen half of the time I'm in my house. As soon as I'm done with a draft of this essay, I will make breakfast for three kids and lunch for two of them. After I pick up my youngest from preschool, he and I will come home and I'll make lunch for the two of us, and prep a part of dinner.  After picking up the older two, I'll come home and make dinner for the kids and sometimes me, then hours later for the hard-working man who comes home too late. If there are cookies or a cake to bake for a class party or school fundraiser, you can count on me to reappear in the kitchen after bedtime to make that happen. "From scratch" and "homemade" are part of my kids' vernacular.

At Write Doe Bay, one of the organizers told us, "I am going to cook for you. It is my gift to you." Jesse is a beautiful woman inside and out, and I readily accepted her gift. I was, and still am, so thankful.

And cook she did.  And bake she did. And feed, nourish, sustain me she did and still is doing. Here are some of the wonderful things she cooked for me, for us:
Bacon, eggs, applesauce, granola

French onion soup with homemade croutons, hearty bread

Jesse disappeared into the kitchen and quietly, slowly, built up the simple, straightforward menu with hearty, life-giving food and reminded me of the joy to show up and be fed.

Spending five days away from your husband and kids is a luxury.  An outright shock of a luxury, really. And while my writing career is important enough to me to spend time on, and my life is busy enough for me to say, out loud, "I need to go away for this," I would not, I did not have the insight to also say, "I need to be taken care of. I need to be fed." But as I turn to the weekend and look at it with the perspective that distance has always provided for me, I see that this sustenance fed my soul and nourished me in a deep, profound way.

A woman I never met before said, "Come. I will take care of you. I will feed you. I will nourish you."

Thank you, Jesse!


  1. I enjoyed reading about one of your take aways from this experience. It sounds like it will stay with you for a long time. It's important to remember that even though we *feed* our children, husband and students... that we also need nourishment. Loved this....

  2. Piggybacking onto Vanessa's comment, "we also need nourishment," I'm reminded of the support I receive from this online community. Thanks for reminding me that it's a" joy to show up and be fed" each Tuesday at SOL.

  3. That food looks so delicious! Us women who are mommies and wives... we rarely get taken care of. I'm not complaining, I wouldn't want it another way. But that is why you appreciated the simple, heartfelt gift of someone cooking for you. It's a rarity, no? Glad you got some time to write and to be taken care of.

  4. What a beautiful post about being so grateful. The feeling of being cared for is so needed and that is what you are giving your beautiful little family everyday. Isn't it lovely when a complete stranger does something so simple that it still has us thinking and thankful for days and months afterwards. I feel so happy after reading this post. Thank you for starting my day that way. :)

  5. "An outirght shock of a luxury/" How I love that line! Sounds like you were nourished in many ways on this trip!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing. I live in Washington state and hope to attend one of the island writing retreats one of these days. :)