The five year old took a whole Roma tomato to school as her snack today. My kid has always been a unique snacker but this tomato, picked from the neighbor's garden, represents a highpoint in her culinary requests. Last week, when she took an apple (having only recently been deemed worthy of selecting a Honeycrisp) she wanted it sliced into perfect wedges and placed in her snack box. "The slices will get a little brown" I explained in an attempt to avoid potential rejection of this snack while she was at school and there was nothing I could do to fix the problem. "That's OK Mom, the brown parts just make it taste sweeter." Profound wisdom coming from the lips of my 5 year old.
The brown parts make it sweeter. Yes. In fruit. In motherhood. In life. The brown parts are there because you have exposed yourself. Opened yourself up. Cut away part of what protects you to get ready to become something new. Nearly 6 years ago when I became this child's mother part of me was exposed and dealing with the personality of this little princess has turned some of those edges a little brown. But the brown parts make it sweeter, right? Right. "She's just like you." the father says to me. Regularly. Sometimes that comment is thrown at me in disgust. Part blame, part excuse, part "You realize you did this to yourself don't you?" Sometimes he honors me with that comment as we beam at each other in awe of what a little lady she's becoming. The fact that she is just like me is my achievement and my burden. She is pink with sparkles and grasshoppers in mud. She is intelligent and passionate but she is quick-tempered and furious. She is curious and verbal but she is flip and calculating. She is amazing. Grown at home, like that whole tomato, from a tiny seed. Made into what she is by her mother, or her parents, or her sisters, or God, or her own spirit or all of the above. All of us taking turns owning the larger share of that growth.
She took a tomato as her snack today. Unsliced. The middle bit, filled with juice and seeds, will probably run down her arm and most likely will make a small mess. She's a planner though, like her mother. She packed a paper towel.