One thing I enjoy about getting older is seeing my friends have children. Okay, not literally being there during the deliveries. That could be awkward. But interacting with the offspring of some of my favorite people. They are little works of art.
I can best compare them to a cut diamond like on my engagement ring. Nestled next to my wedding band, I’ve looked at it for over 10 years now. I can spot so many different surfaces in one little stone – and as it catches the light, various facets take turns sparkling, each having their moment of brilliance.
So it is with children. Like staring at a quality diamond, I can clearly see my friend’s features sparkle across her son’s little expressions. I was with her the other day, and I joyfully thought to myself, "he's got his mama's mouth!" But suddenly, like a quick flash of lighting, his father streaks down his face as he smiles at his toes. It was brief, and it was fleeing, but I saw it. It’s one of those moments that makes me catch my breath. And it never gets old.
When I was a tiny, I thought it was disgusting: it was a suspicious pink hue, sort of jiggly, sort of slimy, and smelled weird.
But then came one memorable noon hour of eating a packed lunch with my Mom and Sister. They had bologna sandwiches, and I had my reliable PB &J sandwich. But for the first time in my life, it let me down: their bologna smelled scrumptious and much better than my slightly soggy PB&J. Something had changed, and being so young, I didn’t really know what. But I didn’t really care; from that day onward, I was happy to take that wobbly circle of meat and morph it into a savory delight with just some bread, cheese and condiments.
Now that I’m slightly wiser, I know a little about taste buds, and that as I age, my tastes change. And as any food lover knows, this is exciting.
Foods I once found unpalatable have turned delicious: bright crunchy bell peppers and pickles, flavor packed teas, exotic dishes from Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and Thailand… all cuisine that “little me” would have regurgitated or at the very least, balked at. And as a cook for my own home, I even like to dabble in some intense spices to create hot, zesty dishes and I’m liking it. (I hear that as I grow older, my little taste buds will dull, so I’m looking forward to even more spice!)
Gone are the days when I wanted to eat macaroni and cheese and goldfish crackers for every meal. Gone are the days when the smell and texture of onions were declared “ewwwy.” I see many children now who only want to eat cheese or who are afraid to try a tomato, and I feel a little sorry for them. They are missing out on some incredible taste sensations. But I know that as they grow older, they too, will most likely learn what they are missing. Because, if they are like me, they will learn that changing taste buds is a little present that comes with growing older, making life a little more interesting and a little more (I’m going to be corny here) delicious.
Creator of Love, Auntie.