Updated: Jan 8, 2020
By Theresa Anthony
Last night I sat down with a fresh bag of kettle corn and a chick flick, determined to eat only what the bag defines as “one serving.” Alas, one serving turned into five and before I knew it the bag was devoid of its contents. I just have a thing for sweet-salty snacks. I love the juxtaposition of the two savory delights at once, so the kettle corn was a perfect complement for the maudlin movie I’d selected--which, of course elicited both smiles and tears.
I realized today that the sweet-salty deliciousness of kettle corn is a great analogy for the raising of children—alternately sweet and salty...then sweet again, and repeat. This revelation came into focus today while enjoying the community swimming pool, a large complex that serves the multiple subdivisions in my neck of the woods. Today was a bright summer’s day that brought out droves of families to splash and frolic in the sunshine.
So there I lay, a sixty-something grandmother reclining in my lounger amidst about 50 people, young families all, none of whom I knew. Imagine me sitting there alone with all this noisy, beautiful activity swirling all around me. It was a joyous scene to take in. Dads teaching their toddlers to swim, moms in the pool coaxing their young children to jump into their waiting arms, and teens over in the corner playing a boisterous game of volleyball.
Like a fly on the wall I took it all in. With my eyes closed I just listened and reminisced to the sounds of the sweet and the salty. Off in one direction was a toddler wailing (salty). Next to me was one fast asleep inside her stroller (sweet).
A cute group of toddlers were clustered around their mothers kiddy corner from me, thoroughly enjoying their blissful day in the sun…so sweet. While the group of moms sat cheerily chatting up a storm, one of their toddlers slipped silently into the Jacuzzi. My consciousness was jolted upon hearing the sudden sounds of two frantic mothers dramatically jumping in to swoop the child out of the spa. Hearts were racing, including my own, as the realization hit that in an instant a child could be lost. The very saltiest, don’t I know! Thankfully, the babe was only in there for a couple of seconds.
The young mom behind me, with the sleeping toddler in the stroller, put on some music. Through her little portable speaker came the smooth sounds of the 70s, 80s and 90s…a surprising choice for a millennial. I lay there, toes keeping the beat, immersed in the old tunes—Tina Turner, Hall and Oats, U-2, and Steve Winwood—wondering why she had selected the oldies from my era. But then I noted it is no different that when I downloaded Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis to my library, music that my mother had enjoyed and played while I was growing up. This music was probably bringing the young mom back to her own childhood, which can provide a nice respite in the busyness of raising young kids.
Then on came Stevie Nicks singing “Landslide”:
Time makes you bolder
Children get older
And I’m getting older, too
Yes, I’m getting older, too.
All of this reflecting seems fitting after seeing the new Lion King movie and bawling through the “Circle of Life” scene. The original version came out while I was in the throes of raising young children, and now the remake arrives in the season of grandchildren. Life really is a dance between joy and sorrow, success and defeat, love and loss; resplendent with not only the sweet and wonderful moments to savor, but also the salty, scary, sad moments that provide the counterbalance. For sure, no one gets outta here without experiencing those salty parts, but thankfully there are the many delectable sweet ones that make living all so worthwhile.
Ok, now I am craving some sea salt caramels… or maybe some toffee-covered peanuts. Wait… I have some nice cold watermelon in the fridge…a dash of salt and, voila! Heaven.