Bean Soup

Yesterday, I did something just for me and just because I wanted to. I told myself to suck it up and not feel guilty. I told myself I wasn't a bad person or an uncaring mom. I told myself I had permission ... and I went for it: I made bean soup.

I cook meals for five children and a husband. The husband is actually okay with bean soup. It's hearty enough to count as a main dish when sides are included. The children? Not so much. Now, mac 'n' cheese they could eat every day, every meal, forever, and be happy. Put a bean in front of them, and it's a whole 'nother story. Unfortunately, it's one of my favorites. As a teen, I'd ask my mom to make it as a Christmas or birthday gift. Even when I left for college, bean soup made its way onto my wish lists. I love it. But, because cooking is a thing I do for my family as a whole unit, I rarely make it. If five people aren't going to touch the stuff, there's not much of a point. Dry beans haven't simmered in their own broth on our stove-top in over a year.

The time had come.

Making this soup got me thinking: How often in our adult lives do we lose a little bit of ourselves in the gaining of everything else? Relationships, careers, children. Activities, sports, school functions. We try to balance it, all the facets of who we are, of what is important to us. The pieces shift over time, allowing for change and growth. But in the shifting, maybe a little part gets dropped or put aside. Deemed no longer important, not because we're no longer important, but because we're placing someone else in front of us. Putting their needs first. Because we're being responsible and loving. It's what we're supposed to do when we are grown up and have people depending on us.

But, as the years accumulate and our obligations pile up, we can't let too many pieces of ourselves drift away. First and foremost, in all things, we belong to our own selves. We are told that we need to know and respect who we are before we can expect anyone else to do the same. If we lose sight of ourselves, how would that ever work?

Part of every day should contain a reminder of "you," Something done for yourself, just because you want to. Read. Run. Build. Anything. Whatever. Without guilt. Whatever your passion is: develop it, chase it. Live it. Nourishing yourself--physically, emotionally, mentally--is the only way to have the strength and energy necessary to tackle whatever comes your way on a daily basis. When you are strong and secure in who you are, you are able to help bolster those around you to be who they are. Which is another something we're supposed to do when we are grown up and have people depending on us.

So, go rediscover your own bean soup. Enjoy it. Savor it. Because there might be an awful lot of mac 'n' cheese right around the corner, and it's best to be well-fortified.