It is seudat shlishit time. I am at home with my two-year-old daughter and a warm bowl of plain noodles. She just yelled for half an hour because the blue bowl that she intended to use was in the dishwasher. My four-year-old son spent the whole Shabbat throwing up, but he is content and quiet for the moment. My other children are at shul or with their friends. The house is finally quiet, as quiet as it will get with two young children awake.
I take a bow-tie noodle from the bowl with my fingers and savor it. I can appreciate the softness, the chewiness, the glutinous give of a bite. And I am transported to the day after Pesach when chametz is finally back in the house, and the first pot of steaming pasta is served. There is anticipation hanging in the air as the pasta is doled out, splashing into bowls, its rubbery slosh beckoning to be eaten after the crumbly simplicity of the matzah.
I have read enough about meditation and mindfulness to know that there is a benefit to living in the moment, experiencing everything as it comes at you, savoring it. I do not have enough time in my busy day to close my eyes before grabbing every bite of orange. I do not have enough peace and quiet to enjoy every bracha that Hashem throws my way. But on this Shabbat afternoon, in the midst of sick, whiny children, I can appreciate the quiet. I can degustate the noodle, not worrying about calories, food systems, carbs, nutrition, and the implication of becoming one with the chametz. I can think how Hashem, in His infinite wisdom, deprives us of chametz for a week so that we will come to appreciate such a simple gift as plain noodles when we can finally get it back.
Now, I will work on appreciating all the moments that my growing children are quiet and allow me time to think; to have breakthrough moments of clarity and appreciation.