What we do, What we need or Another Soup Story


We take care of so many people.  When do we stop to take care of ourselves?  I have been thinking on this question since Saturday’s Soup Exchange.

My children are adults now.  So I don’t often have occasion to see my old mom-friends from our kiddo’s elementary school days.  But, as you may know, those relationships are warm, deep and enduring.  The years of bringing up our little ones are full of poignant moments shared, mundane moments endured together, stressful moments relieved by friendship.  So we were all looking forward to the Soup Exchange.

Sandra planned this brilliant idea.  She made soup for our lunch, plus a nice bread, fruit salad and the requisite fave- big chocolate chip cookies.  The other five of us each made a big pot of soup at home and poured it into five Tupperware containers to give to each other.  We put our Tupperware and recipes in our big handled bags and converged at Sandra’s.

Friends were met with hugs and kisses.  We were all looking for Caroline.  During the can-you-come and what-soup-are-you-bringing emails, Caroline had written with the news that she was nursing her husband who was very ill with cancer.  She said that she was tired and cranky but this lunch was just what she needed.

Caroline arrived, fit and trim in a purple dress, flip-flops on her feet.  As she started to explain her incongruous footwear we saw it- the reason.  Her feet were full of red, fresh cuts, including a large wedge just above the Achilles tendon. Her leg was slashed with red lines from foot to above the knee, and there was a bandage on one finger.

That morning, Caroline got out of the shower and the glass door wouldn’t slide on the track.  With more strength than she realized, and I am sure more frustration and fury than she knew were in her, she wrestled the door and it popped out of the track, shattering into hundreds of glass shards all around her naked body.

So what did she do?  She did what we do.  She cleaned up, swept up, mopped up, then she got dressed, packed her soup and came to lunch.

We spoke our concern, we touched her arm, her back.  We sat her on the sofa and Sandra put a towel down for the blood as her cuts opened up whenever she crossed her legs.  We put a butterfly bandage on the worst cut, and we listened to bad news.

And we’ll be taking over more soup.

9 thoughts on “What we do, What we need or Another Soup Story

  1. There is truly nothing like spending time with old friends. I’m going to go call mine now. Thank you for sharing such a lovely story.


  2. What a wonderful story to cheer up the day!! I could easily see the setting of the women and the soup…to see the soothing of a friend…to realize Caroline has a hard road ahead ….But the friendship you shared lets us realize Caroline will have need of her friends. A wonderful story to cheer up the day? Yes, because it helped me to recall the friends I have and reminded me to be a better friend to others.


    1. You build such amazing tension as you revealed what this story was really about. So much more than soup. It has such feeling, my eyes filled with tears as I read “So what did she do? She did what we do. She cleaned up, swept up, mopped up, then she got dressed, packed her soup and came to lunch.” And she’ll return to take care of her husband. I am so glad she could be taken care of for a moment. Maybe that why it happened. She needed to be taken care of…so glad we are writing together this month and once a month.


  3. Your story took a very painful (literally!) turn, I think the metaphor of soup was such a wonderful way to talk about the healing power of friendship. Caroline is lucky to have such a wonderful community of friends!


  4. Oh, Fran! I have missed you! Your writing always goes straight to the heart, to my heart. Women sharing soup is one of the most lovely images I have encountered in a long time. It encompasses the depth of friendship and the gentle ways we can serve one another. Happy March! I look forward to reading more!


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