My daughter Lydia got in the car and slouched back in the seat. Without asking, “How was your day?”, I could read in her posture that the day had not gone so great. Ah, the tribulations of high school.
Within minutes, I had heard the whole story: a rote assignment, a misleading rubric, an unresponsive teacher. We discussed the merit and risk of approaching the teacher again the next day.
As we pulled into our driveway, Lydia sighed one of those sighs that gathers up all one’s energy in advance of the next task and said, “I want ice cream.” I knew what she meant. I too wanted something sweet and soothing. But I’m not a keeper of ice cream and, anyway, it seemed too easy to capitulate to that easy comfort.
I remembered, though, that in the past few days I’ve been buying up inexpensive and in-season strawberries and blueberries and freezing batches for future use. I asked her, “How about a smoothie?” Lydia hesitated — a smoothie is not ice cream — then replied, “Okay.”
Into the blender jar went frozen strawberries, a splash of orange juice, and a half cup of yogurt. I added a teaspoon of honey to soften the tartness of berry and orange. I rinsed out a pretty glass while the blender whirred. Hard-working mothers also need treats, so, after I poured a full serving for Lydia, I poured the last few ounces into a juice glass that I set aside for me.
I delivered the palliative sweet to my high schooler in her bedroom, breaking my own rule that we only eat in the kitchen or dining room. I sensed that some intensive care was needed today.
Later, as I drove Lydia to her choral rehearsal in Boston, she seemed revived and said, “That was good.” I agreed. The sweet, tart taste still lingered.