Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mac and cheese

I used to work at Habitat for Humanity's headquarters in Americus, Georgia. I signed on for a year as a compensated volunteer, and had a role that was essentially cruise director for other volunteers and staff in the community.

Because it's an international organization, that community was amazingly diverse. I often found myself playing Boggle, collecting pecans in the park, and sitting on old southern style front porches, with people from all over the US, as well as Indonesia, Germany, Mexico and Kenya. On labor day weekend I stopped to remind myself of the unique adventure I was having - canoeing in the Okefenokee Swamp with friends who cursed in different languages when they'd hit a submerged tree. What I'm getting at is that it was pretty cool to work and live there.

I was very lucky to live in a huge house as the only semi-permanent resident. It functioned as a hostel for work and training groups that came though. On Thanksgiving I decided to invite friends over for a pot luck dinner. People got really into it, searching cookbooks and gathering great ingredients. I actually wore an apron. My friend Jenny flew down to be with me.

People started showing up with steaming dishes that smelled terrific. It was not a meal for the unadventurous. Until... someone came with a saucepan full of Kraft mac and cheese. We all kind of gave him a hard time about it. At the time I was actually ticked off. Silly, I know, but who brings mac and cheese to Thanksgiving?!?

Doesn't everyone know that what you contribute to a pot luck signifies how you feel about the people you're feeding?

For some reason I was thinking of that this week, and finally came to the understanding that it was all he had to offer at the time. We didn't know if it was finances or lack of creativity or time... But for some reason this week I had to think about that and "come to peace" with that. I don't know if I need to remind myself that sometimes the metaphorical mac and cheese is okay. It's something to offer, and we all try to do our best. I think that my unapologetic obsession with my husband and baby, combined with a lack of sleep has left me with little resources, creativity, energy or, frankly, interest in much else. So for now everything else gets mac and cheese.

And that's okay.

No comments: