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Shot Of The Day

Bouquet from teacher appreciation lunch

It's Not About the Bagels!

It was really early. I don’t know, 6 or 7 in the morning on a Saturday and my husband Spencer was picking up bagels at our favorite breakfast haunt. Despite the time, the line was long because haunts are like that — filled with lingerers that know where the hangin’s good. Like ghosts almost, regulars are a part of the infrastructure of the house. The man in front of him, clearly not a regular, was annoyed by the long line. Loudly he complained to every ear that would turn his way, and even to those who tried to block him out. You know the kind. If he talks loud enough and convincingly enough, he must be right. That kind of guy. I imagine Spencer gritting his teeth and trying to look away. The visitor barked his order with obnoxious condescension. I don’t know the exact words, but it was along the lines of — “Gimme an asagio bagel son, sliced — but not too thin — and toasted but not too light and don’t burn it either. And don’t give me one of those with a pathetic amount of cheese. Make sure it’s the best one. I want my money’s worth.” The poor minimum-wage-high-school-making-a-few-bucks-for-college kid behind the counter cringed. “I’m sorry sir, but we just put another batch in. We are temporarily out of asagio bagels.” The guy went on a ballistic tirade with phrases like “What kind of place is this. This is a bagel place, right? What kind of bagel place runs out of bagels. How do you stay in business?” Blah Blah Blah. Forget the fact that there are 32 other flavors of bagels, including pumpkin for Halloween, green for St. Patty’s day and chocolate chip for every picky kid on the planet. Forget the fact that some poor guy got there at 4 am to make sure the bagels were warm and ready for the weekend crowd. Forget the fact that this kid is just the messenger and has no control over the kitchen. Forget the fact that we live in a country where you can get just about any type of food at any time of day in just about any color or variety when much of the rest of the world is starving. Forget the fact that the bagel is just a means to an end — a means to get sustenance so we can live. I ask myself as I listen to Spencer tell the story, why does it bug me so much that he’s trashing our spot. Are the bagels that good? Why do we love it there? Why so special? I decide it’s a haunt because it’s way more to us than just a place for the owner to make money or the kid to pay for college or a dispensary of good tasting nutrition. It’s a haunt because we as humans don’t crave the end. We crave the journey. We crave connection. We crave fellowship. We crave relationship. It’s not the bagels that we love so much, it’s the time we spend there with our spouse planning life for our family, or the day we go there instead of school one morning because we just need family time over breakfast, or the collection of friends that sit with us at the table for hours drinking way more coffee than we really want just so we can hold on to the human connection a little while longer. The truth is, for 99% of the population, we’ll eat just about anything if we can have fellow sojourners to share the meal with. People to laugh and cry with us who are walking a similar journey and understand our challenges and our hopes. People who care to listen and care to share where they’ve found hope and salvation and solutions. It’s not about the bagel because in the end, it’s not about the end. It’s about the journey. Today marks the end of my one year journey as PTO President of my son’s high school. Everybody thought I was nuts when I decided to do it, especially me. I did it so that I could keep Cameron and his life at the center of my focus during these last few precious years with him at home. I did it for my kid. I thought I was getting a bagel [nourishment for my soul as a mom] but what I got was an entire bagel joint fully equipped with fellow sojourners who crave the same thing I crave — fellowship in the journey. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that being surrounded by other parents who just want to share their journey could have been so utterly comforting, life giving and satisfying. My journey with my son is richer because so many other parents sat in the “bagel haunt — PTO scene” with me and shared their solutions, their hopes and their questions so that together we felt safer, more equipped and not so alone. By hanging together as parents, our kids have the collective wisdom, experience and solutions of parents that they may never meet, may never encounter and may never know. Judi Malove, Debbie Covert, Debbie Hubschman, Pam Saccocio, Jan Tonyan, Angela Lathrop, Carol Morris, Maria Lessner, Sherra Payne… and so many more… thank you for blessing my kid through your fellowship with me. You’ve made this a hauntingly great year. Thank you for focusing more on the kids and the journey than on the bagels, cookies, brownies, lunches, bazaar, vendors, coffee, supply cabinet, trips to Sams, proper spelling of names, schedules, meetings, dates, flyers, receipts, yadda yadda yadda etc… Thanks for a stellar year.

Posted: 12 May 2010