This birth was the first time that we did not have my mother staying to take care of us for awhile because she lived far away in Oregon (we were in Michigan). Mr. Dirtywrench stayed home from his business for a few days to feed and clothe the two preschoolers we had while I slept and snuggled our new baby. He went back to work when Neal was about five days old and instructed me to not worry about dinner that night assuring me that it would be taken care of. I had many questions that he would not answer which was endlessly frustrating for me.
When Mr. D. came home that night he brought with him an entire home-cooked meal. It came from one of his customers that wanted to do something nice for him and his family. She wanted to be sure that the meal would come on my first day back on duty alone.
This completely blew me away. First of all, I had never met this lovely woman and I was astounded that she would cook for us. Secondly, she did not just send some food, she sent a complete and lovingly-made meal, from salad and entree to dessert.
My mouth remained open in astonishment as I saw how carefully she prepared this feast for our family whom she had never met. Lasagna with no garlic or onion (thinking of a nursing mother and newborn baby), a fruit salad made with homemade yogurt,as well as a vegetable salad, gorgeous bread AND dessert!
It surprised me so because I had never before received or given such a gift. I know that this kind of loving charity is a common tradition when there is a death, birth or sickness in a family, but growing up my family had never received this kind of gift. I had never participated in the giving of such either. I was very deeply touched at the generosity and love of a stranger.
I eventually did meet the gracious lady and it turned out she was a homeschooler, the first one I ever met. She and her husband were both certified teachers in the public school system but they kept their four children at home to teach them.
Over the years we have been the recipients of other meals, most notably when Mr. D.'s father passed away and our home became flooded with lovingly prepared food gifts. We have also received meals when other babies were born, but that first special gift stands out in my memory very brightly for the feelings that it stirred in me. I still get those same feelings of joyful gratitude and amazement when someone cooks for us. I think it is a better gift then money or even flowers. There is so much love in the gift of food.
I have since tried to pass those feelings on to others by doing the same in kind whenever I have the opportunity, as I did today. It gives me joy to know that the recipients are unexpectedly receiving something necessary and comforting during their difficult times.
Have you ever been the recipient or the giver of this special kind of gift? I'd love to hear about it!
I hope this tradition never dies away.