Monkey Brain Soup
By Sarah Ball
"Mommy, we just ate monkey brain soup!" My daughterís voice greeted me as I opened the door.
I dropped my shopping bags and looked at my husband. "Monkey brain soup?" I asked.
He grinned. "Yep, and it was good. Wasnít it, Rachel?"
Rachel pointed to the stove. "See, Mommy? We saved some for you! The little green things Ė those are the monkey brains."
I lifted the lid and peered in the pot. "This looks like the chicken noodle soup I made yesterday."
"Yeah, but I went monkey hunting in the back yard and found some monkey brains, and Daddy cooked them in the soup!" Rachel explained.
"So whatís really in the soup?" I asked my husband. I was ready for some straight answers.
"Monkey brains!" He and Rachel laughed together.
"Oh, youíre so funny." I told them. As Rachel bounced away to her room, my husband leaned over.
"She collected lots of grass and stuff in the yard, so I put it in a Ziploc and tossed it in the soup pot while I was heating it. When she wasnít looking, I took it out and threw it away," he explained in a conspiratorial whisper.
"So she really thinks you cooked her little collection of grass in the pot? Great. What am I going to tell her the next time she comes in with a fistful of leaves to add to our dinner?" I was not particularly amused.
Monkey brain soup. What will they think of next? Last month, it was bear hunting. My husband and daughter spent two hours climbing up and down piles of frozen gravel in the city yards. They peered in drainage pipes and checked piles of leaves. My daughter is positive that they spotted a bear sleeping in one of those piles.
Rachel knows that her daddy is always ready for a new adventure. The sillier, the better! My husband has always been a fun-loving guy. He told me when we met in college that his number one goal in life was to have fun.
Iíd like to say that marriage and children have given him a more serious outlook, but Iím not sure thatís the case. After all, he canít seem to get two kids to the grocery store and back without at least one detour to the moon. From my daughterís description, moon travel seems to involve tilting your head while Daddy swerves the car. I donít think I want to know the details.
I like to have fun, but I couldnít say that fun is my top priority in life. I spend my days being a busy mom. That tends to make me a bit businesslike. Get the kids into the car, get to the store, get the milk, and get home. Sorry, kids. No time for the moon tonight. Maybe when Daddy takes you to the store.
Someday, when my children grow up and leave home, they will remember all the practical things they learned from me. They will be able to dress themselves, clean their rooms, and fold their laundry. But their most valuable life skill may be the one they learn on those trips to the moon: having fun.
This afternoon, my husband told my daughter to throw away her old toy lawnmower. It was clearly broken, but she still began to protest.
"It was a good lawnmower!" she cried.
"Oh, you are right. Should we sing a farewell song in praise of a good lawnmower?" my husband asked.
I expected more tears, but my daughter immediately burst into song. "What a good lawnmower you were, now its time to throw you away," she sang. The lawnmower went to the trash, and my daughter started a new song about something else. May all her problems in life be so easily solved! With an ability to look for fun, perhaps they will be.