The Healing Power of Chicken Noodle Soup

BROTH: liquid in which meat, fish, cereal grains, or vegetables have been cooked

I have been sick for two days.  This latest round of mutant germs came on the heels of a weekend of stupidity and has resulted in a perfect storm of injury and illness. 

First, a little background:

I’ve been exercising.  A lot.  I finally joined the YMCA and have actually been going.  I do step aerobics on Mondays, kickboxing on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Zumba on Wednesdays, weights on Fridays, and a run on the weekend.  Rinse.  Repeat.   I’m feeling good. Strong.  Healthy.  Young.  Cocky.

I was already signed up to run in Seattle’s annual St. Pat’s Dash.  It’s a 5k run that Husband and I have done nearly every year for the past decade.  Both of my children “ran” the St. Pat’s Dash in utero and have since participated several times in strollers.  Given this commitment for first thing Sunday morning, I should have declined the invitation from the neighbors to hike Mt. Si with them on Saturday.  Should have.  But, I didn’t. 

I knew it was a hard hike.  I hiked this particular trail nearly once a week last summer to get in shape for my trek with my brother – desperate not to be left in the dust by someone nearly a decade older than me and hiking on a fake foot.   You see the pattern?  Pride comes before Mt. Si. 

It’s a steep hike.  Four miles and 4,000 feet of elevation gain on the way up; four miles and 4,000 feet of elevation loss on the way down.   This time around, there was the added joy of a mile of hiking on snow. 

I woke up Sunday morning stiff but ready to run.  This year, Son wanted to do the St. Pat’s Dash too, so I had the joy of running with him.  He was a champ!  When he saw the finish line, he did a full speed sprint to the end.  I was so proud!

Soon after the run ended, the muscle aches started.  My calves were in near-constant pain and seemed to think that reaching my heels all the way to the floor was too much of a stretch.  My quads protested every time they were put to use – descending stairs, trying to lower myself into a chair, etc.

Sensing my weakened state, mutant germs attacked me in my sleep and by Monday morning I was a limping, congested, moaning old lady.  Delusions of grandeur, meet reality.

I left work early and crawled under the covers.  I picked Son and Daughter up from school and took them to the McDonald’s drive-through.  Equating fast food with road trips, Daughter asked if we were going to California.  No road trip, just an exhausted Mom.  Back home and back under the covers for me. 

Yesterday was a little better.  I had enough energy (or survival instinct) to make it to the grocery store to restock our empty cupboards.  I made chicken noodle soup for dinner.  I simmered the stock for hours determined to extract all the good and healing powers from the chicken carcass.  I’d heard that the secret was in the bones.  So I boiled those bones until they had no secrets left.

But, I didn’t feel that much better.  I just felt tired.  Tired of cooking.

I think the real healing power of the chicken noodle soup of my childhood was not in the stock but in the service.  Soup makes you feel better when someone else makes it and delivers it to your bed.  Even Campbell’s soup, which I’m relatively sure has never seen a boiling chicken bone. 

It’s not the bones.  It’s the bedside delivery.

The reality of motherhood hits hardest when I’m sick.   

The soup receiver has become the soup giver.



One thought on “The Healing Power of Chicken Noodle Soup

  1. It’s so hard being sick as a mom. I was sick a few weeks ago and my husband couldn’t take the day off work, so I was left trying to hold things together with the kids while feeling like crap. It’s so tough!

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