Keeping the balance in your life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 16, 2013

I can’t believe it’s nearing the end of February and I still haven’t experimented with vegetable soup. One of my favorite things about winter, along with warm scarves, cozy fireplaces and hot chocolate, has always been my mother-in-law’s vegetable soup.
Deeply missed for different reasons every day since her death in July, today I find myself wishing for one more visit over a bowl of soup. Now, when I answer the phone, I no longer hear her voice. No more, “I made a soup. I know how you like it.” No more plastic containers of leftovers in my refrigerator.
Elise thought of her MawMaw when she showed up for shift at The Foundry in Thibodaux. The cooks wanted my daughter to taste their vegetable soup.  She looked at it and asked, “Where’s the meat?”
“Elise, it’s vegetable soup. There’s no meat in vegetable soup.”
“Well, where’s the pasta?”
“Elise, it’s vegetable soup…”
“My MawMaw’s vegetable soup always had meat and pasta. This is not vegetable soup.”
Yes, MawMaw’s soup had meat and potatoes, pasta and tomatoes, carrots, beans and other things I can’t remember at the moment, all cooked together to produce a delicious flavor predominated by no single elements. It was the balance of all of the ingredients that resulted in the dish I miss.
Balance. Now there’s a word that crops up often. It’s the backbone of healthy diets, tires that offer a smooth ride, stable budgets and even the scales of justice. If that’s not enough, just ask my mother, or anyone else who has suffered equilibrium problems, how important it is in your daily life.
I sometimes struggle when I try to balance the various roles I play and the activities in which I want to engage. Not surprisingly, working out at the gym is usually left behind while I fulfill my grandmother duties. Cleaning up the yard isn’t as tempting as making tutus, and cooking isn’t as enjoyable to me as reading. Regardless of how I feel, I know that a balanced life is usually healthy and productive and yes, even enjoyable. Living a balanced life continues to be a goal.
I pray that both the grandmother and the gardener in me continue to grow; the seamstress and the chef are both given a chance to develop; and the reader realizes the need to put down the book and join her friends at the gym. Maybe I’ll bring them some vegetable soup.
Ronny may be reached at