Monday, October 20, 2014

Chocolate...It Has A Hold of My Whole Being...And I Will Love It Forever

So I'm sitting here at the dining room table eating chocolate chips because I wanted something chocolate. Now, the chips are for some future cookies; however, I'm not sure any of this particular bag will make it into cookie batter. We'll just see.

I've had a love affair with chocolate as far back as I can remember...a serious...I got to have affair. The chocolate doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be the high end made in Europe and shipped over to the states kind of chocolate. Don't get me wrong. I'll not turn down that kind of chocolate if someone were to give it to me, but Hershey's is just fine with me or a Mars bar or Mounds or...never mind. You get the picture.

When I was a little girl, my favorite ice cream guessed it...chocolate. My mother still laments how I ruined many a pretty dress or shirt by the way I ate my ice cream.  My daddy always got my sister and me an ice cream cone every Sunday. He'd stop at whatever ice cream place suited his fancy and come out with big ol' ice cream cones. I was not a neat eater. And I had a habit of biting the bottom out of the cone so I could suck out the ice cream. It never dawned on me that I could suck it out the top. It was more fun to bite out the bottom and do my thing. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I had a lot of sense at that age.

Of course, the ice cream melted faster than I could slurp it up, so I was a mess. Daddy always laughed as Mama fussed at me. The chocolate melting goo even got on my socks and shoes sometimes and, of course on the car seat and floor. My sister would fuss at me too. An animated kid, I would talk a lot with my hands even at six or seven. Sometimes I'd accidentally swipe a blob of chocolate on my sister's dress or her nose. Then, of course, I'd get tickled and that would make it even worse. I think if she had known any curse words back then, my whole being would have been fried by her language.

I'm a caramel fan also, but back in my younger days, the caramel bag always had some chocolate caramels in them. They were wrapped in silver or gold...can't remember which...and I'd steal them out of the bag before anyone else could get any. I told you I had a love affair with chocolate. This was another thing that made my sister mad.

Oh my lord, I remember the first s'more I ever ate. Graham crackers, hot roasted marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate all squished together by the crackers with the chocolate melting as the hot marshmallow sat on top of it. What a glorious combination of flavors and textures. With the first bite, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I am forever grateful to whomever invited this confection.

When I ate ice cream at home, it was generally in a dish and it was vanilla. Of course, Mom always had Hershey's chocolate syrup to pour all over it. I'd mix the chocolate all in with the vanilla until it resembled the consistency of a thick milkshake. Sometimes, I'd pour a little of the syrup on my hand and fingers and lick it off. That seems really gross to me now.

I still eat Tootsie Pops and the all chocolate ones are my favorite. Of course, every Tootsie Pop, no matter what flavor has a chocolate Tootie roll center, so if I don't find a chocolate one, I'm still good.

I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate for most things except Hershey's Candy Kisses. They must be milk chocolate. I will put the whole piece in my mouth and let it melt until it is nothingness. With M&Ms, I crack the shell off with my teeth and let the chocolate melt on my tongue.

Have you ever bitten into a cookie thinking it was chocolate chip and it turned out to be oatmeal raisin? I have, and I have even voiced my dismay publically at functions...and this has been as an adult. Don't get me wrong. A good oatmeal raisin cookie is wonderful IF you know this is what you're eating. But when you are ready to savor a fat chocolate chip and it turns out to be a raisin. Well, that just isn't fittin'.

My favorite cake in all the world is CocaCola cake, warmed with vanilla ice cream on it. I get it sometimes at Cracker Barrel Restaurant. It is all chocolate with this chocolate fudge frosting...oh, so sinfully good. Gracious good golly, it will make my toes curl up. In my younger years, my favorite cake was the chocolate devil's food cake my mama made from scratch with her luscious 7-Minute frosting slathered all over it. She'd sprinkle coconut on top. I haven't had it in years, but it rivaled the CocaCola cake. I can't make that icing. I just can't.

Now that chocolate has been found to have lots of good healthy qualities, I don't feel so guilty when I finish off a whole can of Betty Crocker's Dark Fudge Chocolate frosting. Of course all the additives probably take away any healthy benefits from it. It's chocolate. I have no control when it comes to chocolate. Additives be damned.

These chocolate chips that I have been noshing on as I write this are just fine...healthy...dark...yum. No, I haven't finished the bag. I may not. But if I do, I will not feel guilty. Chocolate is just too good to be made to feel guilty.

So my love affair with chocolate continues. Let's face it, I know that chocolate is good for my soul. I know that it has a hold on my whole being.  And I will love it forever and ever.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

This Child is a Full Grown Man...An Epiphany from a Mother

A friend of mine who is a writer herself encouraged me to begin writing on my blog again. So I decided that since I love to write this may just be the time to get back at it. Oh, I write a "morning missive" every single day on facebook and sometimes it's almost as long as a regular blog, but there are subjects I can write about on "Little Mary Sunshine" that I can't really write about on facebook. I can get a bit meatier on here.

You want to know what is disconcerting? It's the day that a parent realizes that her children are really grown...that they are adults. This happened to me the other day. It wasn't something amazing that happened. It wasn't newsworthy. It just was. I turned to say something to my oldest son, (he and his wife were visiting from out of town) and the words caught in my throat. Maybe it was a look on his face. Maybe it was the way he was lacing his boots. Maybe it was his whole demeanor. I don't really know what exactly triggered it, but it was at that moment that I realized the little mop topped boy I had nurtured since birth was gone. In his place was this man...full grown...low voiced...authoritarian.

When he was growing up, he was small, really small. He was pretty much the smallest kid in his class. He liked to put rocks, paper, dead bugs...all kinds of stuff in his pants pockets. Laundering his clothes on any given day was an adventure in the discovery of a cornucopia of surprise thingies...some good, some pretty gross.

As a kid, he had a sweet nature (he might not appreciate this) and loved to work with his dad on all kinds of things. He'd help his dad spread "manuker" and when his dad was working on a basement for the house, he wanted to help him with the "mortimer." He laughed easily and was a happy kid.

Well, he was happy most of the time. When his dad was in the hospital for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for almost a year, he was pretty much devastated. He missed his dad terribly and it affected his school work. In the gifted program at school, it came time for him to be retested during his dad's hospitalization. He didn't do well enough to stay in and had to leave the program. For some odd reason, I didn't catch that, but it could have been because I was so devastated myself. That was a tough time for all of us.

When he started high school, he was 4'9" tall. His dad is not so tall at 5'6", so I figured he'd be about his size. Something happened, though. In his junior year in high school, he started growing and he didn't stop  until he was in law school. That little biddy boy grew to be over 6 feet tall. He somehow morphed into a big man, an imposing man.

It hit me that morning just a few days ago...hit me hard. My little boy who used to duck his head when he wasn't sure of himself. My little fella with the huge soulful eyes and long dark eyelashes who was so cute, "you could eat him with a spoon" someone said to me once, was not around anymore. He had grown up before I realized it. He had become a man, and I just didn't see it.

Oh, he met a wonderful girl, a beautiful girl after he graduated from college and was living in North Carolina. He brought her home and I knew he had finally found "the one." They married in a lovely ceremony in the woods on family land we call Evelyn's Eden. It didn't dawn on me then that he was grown. I know. I know. It should have. He was getting married. He was planning on attending law school. He was moving on with his life.

This child of mine, my first son, was my 30th birthday present. Yes. He was born on my birthday. What a beautiful child he was...all dark curls and big brown eyes...inquisitive eyes. He always has had inquisitive eyes. He always needed to know things. He always asked questions like, "Mom, why is dirt brown?" Heck, I could have gone into stuff about minerals, elements, crushed rock, flora and fauna, but I didn't. He was three. So I took the easy road. I told him God did it. I'm not even all that religious.

So what triggered this epiphany...this realization that my oldest son was grown? I mean this child, this little boy I loved/love so much is a full blown man. Maybe it's the loving way he treats his wife. Kelly is pregnant with their first child, a girl we will call Evelyn. Maybe it's the way he treats his dad. His dad helps him now with a cabin that has been an ongoing project at Evelyn's Eden.

I am proud of this son of mine. I am proud of what he stands for in his life. I am still surprised when he takes command of a situation, not with arrogance, but with assurance and knowledge of what is right and wrong. He knows how to treat people with dignity and kindness. He knows when to be assertive and when to back up and let things happen.

I'm not sure why he is the way he is. Of course, as his mom, I hope he's learned some things from me. 

My husband and I were blessed with four children when, at one time, we thought we would not have any. Our first born is our daughter who is a wife, mother, writer, and photographer. Our second child is featured in this blog. Our third child, a beautiful baby boy is part of the staff of the campaign team for Jason Carter who is running for governor of Georgia. Our fourth child, a boy is a marvelous writer, artist, and performer. I am so proud of each and every one of them.They are all grown now. I know they are grown.  It just took my oldest son to help me realize it.