Monday, 18 March 2013

Mondays Aren’t That Bad…Right?



(This was written last September. Moving it over from one blog to another.)


Last night was pretty typical around our house. My son is apprenticing at a local resort, working towards a culinary arts diploma and every Sunday night he works the  late shift; which usually means the rest of us are up late, too. When he gets home, we all seem to congregate in my room, where we swap a few stories and crack a few jokes, while recapping our day. I love it, except for one thing — this usually happens around 2 a.m. and Monday morning’s sunrise is all but a breath away.
At 1:43 a.m. my son was holding our full attention with a touching tale of a man from Cuba who had been married to his sweetheart for three years, but had only been able to be with her for a total of one month. The rest of the time he had been working in the kitchen at the resort while his wife remained back home.  ”Why do you do it?” my son asked him. “I do it for her.” was his humble reply.
As the chilly night air filtered into my bedroom, and the clock slowly ticked its way towards dawn, he told us how this same man had come to the restaurant earlier that night, only this time he came as a customer, asking for a table for one. He was there to  celebrate his wedding anniversary. My son referred to him a hero because of his selflessness and strong commitment to the one he loved, and there was no one in the room that would have disagreed.
However, by the time this morning arrived a few short hours later, most of us were still exhausted. My son had the luxury of being  still snuggled down in his bed,  but the rest of us had obligations waiting for us. My responsibility was pretty straightforward –  I had to drive my pint sized grandson to school. Certainly it wasn’t a chore anywhere near running a 10K marathon, but after a late night such as we had, an early start can sure feel that way.  If you add to that, the exuberant energy of a six year old, you have the complete picture of my dilemma.
As I was still struggling to become awake, he came bounding into my bedroom, grinning from ear to ear, and set to checking out his profile in the mirrored closet doors. “Do I look like I’ve  lost weight when I wear these jeans?” he asked me. Gee – where would he have learned that? I couldn’t help but smile at the innocence of his question, while thinking that  he had just provided perfect factual evidence for the environment side of the age old nature/nurture debates we used to have in my university psychology class.
A few short, frantic minutes later we were in the car, headed towards his school. It was pretty easy to let go of the stress of the morning’s rushed beginnings. The coolness of the autumn air was already beginning to warm from the sun’s rays, and the sky was a perfect robin’s egg blue, dotted with white wisps of cotton candy clouds.  ”It’s a beautiful day!” I exclaimed, and my backseat co-pilot heartily agreed, but for one note of dissension. “Except that it’s Monday.” he replied.
Ah, lightning does indeed strike twice I thought, as I was presented with yet another prime example of a pro-nurture leaning exhibit, and this time it happened to be captive, buckled into the back seat of my car.
“I love Mondays!” I added, a little more happily than I was actually feeling.
“You do?” he exclaimed. Obviously he’d been paying attention to my sluggish pace, and this was going to be a harder sell than I had first thought.
“Sure. Mondays are a great way to have a new beginning in your life.”
Did I say that?
Over the next few minutes, from somewhere deep down inside me, I pulled out a number of reasons why this might be.
“Think about it,” I told him “We’ve just had a great weekend. We had a great time doing family things. We explored new places and  it was so much fun last night when we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on the fire, wasn’t it?”  I could see him smiling and nodding his head in my rear view mirror.
“So, Monday is a day that we can look back and celebrate the memories we made and the time that we could spend together. It can also be a great way to start something new in your life, because anything that was bad that happened last week is over, and we get to make new decisions and choices.”
The -pro-Monday arguments were coming a little easier now, as I realized, once again, just being with him made me look at life as a constant surplus of blessings rather than a series of soul draining deficits. “It’s an awesome day to start a new adventure, to make new plans or start a healthier way of living….”
“And you get to see all your friends again and spend five more days with them!” he chimed in, adding his own fresh perspective on the discussion.
“Exactly!” I smiled at him over my shoulder as we waited for the light to turn green. By the time I dropped him off at the school gate our list of positive things about Monday was virtually unending. Just before he disappeared around the corner, he stopped to wave and sign “I love you”. The week was indeed of to a great start, for both us.
As I drove home, I recalled the story my son had told me about his Cuban co-worker, and it was obvious that he understood too well the lesson I had just tried to teach my grandson.
Every day we are faced with making choices, and the biggest one of all is what attitude we are going to use to look at the things that we will inevitably face. We can react with resentment or negativity, or we can somehow push past that, dig a little deeper and find a little good in everything.
It can sure make a Monday morning a little brighter.
  

When my children were younger, we made this recipe frequently. It was passed down from my mother-in-law and was always a hit. A personal comfort food for sure, and a great way to use up leftovers from your Sunday dinner. If you didn't have roast beef for Sunday dinner, you can use ground beef as well.

Monday Pie




Ingredients:

1 lb of leftover roast beef, diced into small pieces, or 1 lb of ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of baked beans
2 Oxo cubes (beef bouillon)
1 packet of brown gravy mix
salt and pepper
1 lb of potatoes, thinly sliced
4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
2 - 4 tbsp of ketchup
1 cup of water (if needed)

Directions:

1. Fry the onions until translucent, add the beef and fry until brown. Add beans, tomatoes, oxo cubes, ketchup, gravy packet contents, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until thickened slightly. Add water if there isn't enough gravy.

2. Transfer to a casserole dish, and layer the sliced potatoes on top.

3. Bake covered at 350F for about an hour, until potatoes are done. Sprinkle with cheese, and put back in the oven with out a lid, until golden. 

* you can add more potatoes, corn or other vegetables in the main part of the casserole as desired. A great way to use up the little bits of veggies left over from other meals.

2 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written tale! As I was reading your story I was trying to picture your grandson making his comments to you. It's funny how children can often teach us things without realising.
    Great food for thought!
    Thanks, Mary

    ReplyDelete
  2. He's taught me more in his few short years, than I have learned my entire life...such wisdom in a pint sized package :)

    ReplyDelete