I just love surprises and nothing is more fun than getting one in the mail. I recently competed in a blogging contest through the Korean Department of Tourism's website (KoreaTaste.org). During the contest, I contributed posts about Korean food. These posts were then judged by a panel and voted on by you. In the end, I placed third among so many great writers that I feel as though I have won a Pulitzer!
The Third Place competitors received a prize and so, I eagerly waited for my "trophy" to arrive. Last week, the prize commmittee (aka the mail lady) arrived with a package from Korea....it was here! I proudly took the package as though I were receiving an Oscar, shouting the,"Thank you. Thank you," which is part of any great acceptance speech. Then quickly shut the door.
I placed the box on the counter then stared at it with curious excitement. Can I open it? Should I wait for my family? What is the protocol for such an honor? Momentarily glancing at reality, I tell myself that this is just like all of the other mail that I open every day and begin to delicately pull back the shipping paper.
"My readers will want to see this!" I tell myself, and I quickly snap a few more shots. Many layers of packaging and a few seconds later, I lay eyes upon a small object wrapped in pretty tissue. It is a stand to cradle my trophy. I continue digging until .... I see it - a shiny, black plate covered in mother-of-pearl, with its inticate patterns glistening in the light. "How beautiful!" I pull the plate from its box and stand it upon its throne. I stare in awe as the sunlight rains down upon this symbol of greatness -its cranes, flowers, and waterfalls shimmering like diamonds. It is prettier than I imagined. I can't believe that I won something for my writing. Wow!
As I return to reality, I know that my plate is not an Oscar and I am not silly enough to think that I compare to a Pulitzer author. I know that my recipes do not qualify me for IronChef. I only won third place and they only gave me a plate. I know this truth. But, for me this recognition is much more. In the midst of my daily routines, as I struggle with the challenges that are part of living life with severe food allergies, this plate is my reminder, my encouragement. I was recognized for what I do. Someone valued the time that I spend documenting this labor of love called motherhood. And, each day,when I see this plate, it reminds me to keep going, to persevere. When days are tough and I am tired, it reminds me that I am more than just the maid or the cook. This plate reminds me that I have a voice. It reminds me that what I do stretches beyond these walls, now and in the future. It reminds me that, to my angel, I am Mom. And to her, Mom is everything!