Recipe for Life

Recipe for Life

From Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul

Recipe for Life

I stood at the departure gate in Boston, preparing to cross the Atlantic. Although I had made the journey countless times before, it never really got much easier to leave my home and family, and this time was no different. I looked at my mother, our eyes full of emotion, and as we wondered when we would see each other again she handed me a package, saying it might help me feel better. Typical Mom. Little did I know that it would not only help me feel better, but would also teach me one of life’s greatest lessons.

Through the airplane window I watched the last lonely lights slowly disappear off the North American coast and thought about the fateful day years before that had changed my life forever. I had wanted to see Britain, the land of my family’s ancestors, and there I was fatally smitten with a young Swiss girl, whom I later married and with whom I had started a family. Now, back in Switzerland after visiting my parents in Massachusetts, I opened my mother’s package. It was a book of recipes; I laughed out loud as I thumbed through it. All the sections like vegetables, soups and breads were empty but the one section on desserts was chock full. Typical Mom. Here were handwritten cards bearing names like “Seven Layer Squares” or “Double Chocolate Fudge,” many of which my mother had created or named. Then my heart skipped as I noticed that she had written this on the inside front cover:

To my dear son: Make some fudge. Think about us. Remember all the wonderful times we have had together, and have them now with your family.

Love, Mom.

It’s okay, she was telling me; we must grow up and lead our own lives, even when it sometimes hurts. But there was more. Recipes in hand, I remembered snowy winter mornings with no school and hot chocolate; Christmases of joy and special homemade treats; afternoons when my mother was always there, consoling me after a rough time with the school bullies by saying, “Let’s make cookies!” Now, years later, Mom was telling me about what really matters in life: the only real gifts we can leave behind for our children or loved ones are the appreciation of a full life and the beautiful memories of our time together. Other things will rust or decay or get lost. The things that really matter never will. It is never too late or too early to create beautiful memories and it is now my job to give them to my children.

I sincerely hope that my Swiss-American girls will not do what I did; with luck they will marry the boy next door and stay on this side of the Atlantic. But wherever they may be, I hope that they, too, will one day open my mother’s recipes and read her words. And like me, they will find a recipe for life. Typical Mom.

Arthur Bowler

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