Making bread is a fun activity.
Have you ever kneaded a bread by hand?
Fun, a bit like a boxing ball, just softer and more fun!
As a kid, I loved it whenever my mom was baking her own bread.
Not that I liked to eat the bread so much, it was just the process of making it.
Actually this reflection is not so much about baking of bread.
It is about what happened after my mother baked the bread.
Many a time, she asked me to bring one of the breads to her auntie.
She had an eighty-over year old auntie living about 8 km from our house.
The auntie had lived a tumultuous life full of excitement and challenges
but now she was old and alone in her house.
She had this old stove, next to which she was sitting most of the time.
Soon after the breads were out of the oven, I was on my way with my bicycle to bring one to auntie (we called her tante keutje). When I arrived, she, with her small curved body got up from the chair and what I could see on her face was one of the most beautiful smiles. She was visibly happy. She offered me lemonade and sweets and asked me lots of questions. She laughed at my answers. What I remember was that she was visibly happy. I am not sure how much my mother had intended to teach me affability for the elderly through this sending of bread to an auntie but she certainly did. I cherish the moments I entered the house with the bread and the huge smile of the old lady.
My mom had so many superb and non-traditional ways to teach us empathy, compassion and all the good values she practiced herself. I want to say thank you, mom, for teaching me how to appreciate the smile of old ladies. They sure are beautiful to see, they bring us peace of mind and sprinkle bit of true happiness in our heart.