Souffle: n. a low murmuring or blowing sound heard through a stethoscope.

Tonight we dine on eggs and cheese whipped up to a ridiculous tower of richness. It will be delicious. We will laugh together and share stories about our day. A rather idyllic snippet of family time, one that I cherish now that college and activities usually keep us apart for dinner.

And still-  with each soufflé created I am transported. Word associations send my mind flowing away from the present day to long ago sleepless nights holding an asthmatic baby, getting inadvertently speedy off the vaporized steroids held near a tiny, wheezy mouth. Alternatively, I am at the pediatrician, tentatively hopeful, asking if a heart murmur is still audible.

That’s what it is to be a parent or, really, what it is to care for others over an extended period of time. Our memories of worry and love are threaded in and among recipes for casseroles or fragments of songs. Smells and sounds attached to moments of intensity, we carry them around with us like burs in our coats.

It’s amazing how we caregivers can multitask this way. Experiencing past and present simultaneously, some senses are occupied with tasting cheese while others recall the phantom  weight of supporting an exhausted child struggling to breathe. Both felt senses are real. Perhaps a fold in dimensions allows me to be in multiple experiences at the same time? It delights me to think it could be so.

Whatever the explanation for the spontaneous arrival, when the memories show up I have learned to give them some time, maybe see if they tell me something new. What pieces are significant today? Where is my mind drawn? What feelings arise? Arise… Rise up magically like a soufflé.

P.S. I use Julia Child’s recipe which made me go looking for this gem:

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