Somewhere yesterday, in Italian kitchens, chefs and grandmas labored and labored over probably the most delicious, technically and culturally correct pan of lasagna.
But it wasn’t the best pan of lasagna made in the world that day.
The best lasagna in the world that day was carefully crafted in a kitchen in an inpatient rehab facility in Baltimore, by a young woman who barely two weeks ago had a stroke, had difficulty doing everything, could hardly talk, couldn’t walk, get up or move around.
And she did it all by herself.
Part of her therapy is to get back into normal activities, and her task was to remember what ingredients she needed and how to put them all together to make her meal. She just wasn’t allowed to use the stove or oven unsupervised.
Her mother and I were over the moon.
When I came to visit her, her face lit up. She was happy to see me, she was smiling and laughing and was surprised. The suckie thing about the situation is, since she struggles with her short-term memory, every time I show up, it really is like the first time for her. She doesn’t remember I’ve been coming several times a week. But I don’t care.
She was alert, she was engaged in convo and she’s quite aware of her current limitations.
She even asked, “Do I still have a job?”
“Yes hunny, there are laws to ensure you still have your job.”
Earlier that day, I was sulking about feeling like I haven’t had any major accomplishments and how it’s been years since I sat on some panel or did something grand.
Only hours later, my friend, shakes her head looks at her mother and me and says, “Yall make such a big deal out of every thing. It’s just lasagna.”
I looked at her and said. “It’s a big, friggin, deal. A BFD.”
I’m humbled. I was upset because I hadn’t won any awards in a long time or had a front page article, but somehow a humble pan of lasagna made by a living, breathing, laughing, smiling miracle that is my friend, shot up to the top of the list of things to be proud of. It was a thing to celebrate. It was better than any accolade I could have garnered for myself.
Heck, after all, it was the best damn pan of lasagna in all of the world on August 7, 2012.
That commands respect and celebration.