Monday, December 6, 2010

"St. Chocolate's Wort"

Had mine tonight.

It amazes me that I can be exhausted, yawning, feeling low and pondering how I’ll get through the evening…and a couple of chocolates brings about a remarkable improvement in energy level and mood! What is it about the stuff?
Theobromines--or is that coffee? I had that, too.

The day had gone pretty well; it was a little busier than usual. My three year old, Mary Pat, was home sick from her special pre-school. My fifteen year-old, Marie, needed input on her homeschool plan for the week. The farrier showed up and Marie and I took turns holding horses and tending to three preschoolers…the list is quite long. I got really tired by the end of the afternoon, and over-reacted when our thirteen year old sprang a “mandatory school activity” on me 20 minutes before its start time.

Earlier in the week a friend remarked on her Facebook that it puzzled her how she can hold it together through a stressful day and then a seemingly insignificant event sends her over the edge. The post produced wonderful comments of support and understanding. Truthfully, it made me feel better. I didn’t think at the time to recommend “St. Chocolate’s Wort” to her.

The aforementioned thirteen year-old, Susanna, was responsible for my “medication,” though we had chocolate in the house. My Austrian grandmother, Susanna’s namesake, had a tradition in her family of celebrating St. Nicholas’ feast day. It is really fun: the children leave their shoes out the eve of December 6th and in the morning find them filled with chocolates and little gifts. We revived the tradition in our family when Bruce and I married. It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach the children about the real Nicholas of history, who was present at the Council of Nicea, fought the Arian Heresy, and became a great bishop. St. Nicholas…St. Nick…Santa Claus…one in the same. The Coca-Cola Company had something to do with his additional attributes around the turn of the century, and a new legend was born complete with a sleigh and reindeer and a North Pole. I grew up with that, too, but there is something really satisfying about teaching the children about the real man. A generous man who loved Jesus and gave just about all he had for the good of others.

I felt rotten about acting out like a two year-old toward Susanna; later, she was the one who came home early from the school event with a box of chocolates for her family. A warm hug and apology at her homecoming soothed my soul like the chocolate soothed my psyche.

Maybe I could medicate myself three times a day. Hmmm. Maybe not good for the weight. Moderation in everything, I guess. And plenty of hugs and giving and forgiving.

Happy St. Nicholas Day,
from the Abbey Farm

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