The Gifted Blog

November 21, 2012

The Thought That Counts

Today's post is by Won McIntosh, author of some of the best stories at Mount Custard and a recent contributor to Kinfolk magazine. Won's blog is the kind whose posts I save for last when I'm going through my blog reader. They're that good.


As a fellow mother of two boys, I’m excited for Charissa and the addition of baby N to their family. It’s a pleasure to be able to share a guest post on her lovely blog.

Charissa’s posts about the gifts we receive as new parents reminded me of the early days after my oldest son was born. We brought him home after a difficult delivery, one that left me going through the motions of mothering and overwhelmed about anything else. I had made all of the preparations that you are supposed to make while you wait for the arrival of a baby: deep-cleaned the apartment, froze meals, washed and folded tiny white onesies that in the end turned out to be too small for him. What I hadn’t prepared for were an emergency cesarean and the unshakable dispiritedness that followed. I didn’t want to be sad, but sadness lodged itself in the postpartum minutiae of my days—in nursing, diaper changes, dressing and undressing, even in the still space of watching him sleep.

Into the midst of this, the meals began to arrive. Friends coordinated deliveries of soups and casseroles and pot pies. They popped in just long enough to coo at the baby and bless us with hugs and news of the world outside. One night, a friend who had had her own first child just a few months before came by with a full canvas tote. She handed it to me and asked, “How are you?” I tried to be light. “Hanging in there.” She considered me and said, “It gets easier. I’m here if you need anything.” After she left I took the bag to the kitchen and began emptying its contents. There were several containers and paper packages. I can’t remember anymore what the main dish was, but I remember homemade corn bread wrapped in brown wax paper. I had only ever had corn bread in restaurants. And I remember most a smaller paper package, wrapped up like a block of soap. In an elegant script, my friend had written Honey Butter.

I had never before had butter mixed with honey, had never thought to mix butter with anything else. But she had thought of it for me. And this thoughtfulness, this attention to detail, given at a time when my own thoughts felt so detached from my heart, was a comfort. She hadn't assumed that a new mother would have on hand something so basic as butter. And to something so basic she had added a touch of wonderful. I’d needed to sense the wonderful in the very basic moments of caring for my newborn. In a way, that gift of honey butter gave me hope that, in time, it would all come together.

Read more of Won's writing at Mount Custard. Some favorites here, here and here.

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{Photo via A Beautiful Mess. See their recipes for wonderful butters.}

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post. A good reminder that putting a little thought in the gifts we give can have an impact more deep than we know.

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