Nothing sounded good for breakfast this morning but my stomach was growling. Cereal and milk wasn’t an option (lactose intolerant). No bread to be found (life has been too busy to make it and shopping has been at the bottom of my to-do list). We have eaten far too many eggs over the last few weeks for dinner, so that was a definite NO! What was I to eat??
That was when I remembered I haven’t had oatmeal for months. It is usually a fall / winter time food for our family. I have TRIED to get my kids to eat it year round but they just complain that it makes their stomachs hurt . . . “it’s too heavy!” they complain. But I needed heavy this morning; I WAS STARVING! So I grabbed a package of instant oatmeal, pulled down a bowl from the cupboard and ripped the package open.
Instantly the smell of the oatmeal hit me and I remembered the day I “learned to like oatmeal.” I had to laugh! I find it amusing how memories from the past can hit us at any moment and bring back a flood of happiness, joy and even successful feelings.
As I stirred my oatmeal, the memories grew stronger, until I had an urge to reach out to my sister-in-law and share with her what I remembered. I thought it would bring happiness to her day. But as I began to write her an email, I realized that I wanted to capture this memory forever and what better way to do it, then to blog about it! So here you go . . . my memory of the first time I learned to like oatmeal.
“My memory easily took place 13 or 14 years ago. I was visiting my sister-in-law in Arizona for a week, with my oldest son, who was 1 or 2 years old at the time. It was breakfast time and I came walking into the kitchen with my son in hand. We could smell something wonderful in the kitchen. I looked down to see what my 2 nieces were eating that smelled so good but unfortunately it was OATMEAL . . .
My sister-in-law turned to bid me good morning and to offer me some breakfast. She probably looked at the face I had made at the oatmeal, so she chuckled a bit to herself. She asked me if I would like some oatmeal too and I instantly refused.
First she started by asking me if I had ever eaten oatmeal before? I said that I had, but I admitted that it had been a long time. Then she handed me a package of oatmeal to look at for myself. I felt the tiny grains inside of the thin paper packaging. It felt harmless, so why did it taste so yucky? So slimy? So pasty? I handed her the package back and said, “No thank you.”
This is where most people stop the teaching moment. They get that feeling that they are forcing someone to do something or maybe they should just leave them alone and let them figure it out on their own another day. Fortunately for me, my sister-in-law didn’t stop there! She kept on trying!
As she took the package back, she said, “I am about to make bowl of oatmeal for myself. If you would like, you could take a bite and see what you think. You never know, your taste buds might have changed?” I felt hesitant. Was she trying to “make me” like the oatmeal because she does, or was she just trying to help? I had a few minutes to ponder these thoughts as she made her oatmeal and let it cool.
I asked myself, “Do you really not like oatmeal, or are you just holding onto an old memory of eating it? Or even worse, someone else’s opinion of oatmeal? Maybe you should give it a try again because what if it could be one of your favorite foods, but you just don’t know yet?”
As soon as her oatmeal was ready to taste, I walked up to her, as brave as I could be (silly for someone in their early twenties, I know!). I had decided to just shove it in my mouth and swallow it, not a very good plan looking back, but at least I was willing to try something new. Sure, my nieces seemed to love it, but did they even have a choice. They were being raised to eat this stuff. I felt I had been raised to not like it. Funny how life does this to us.
Before my sister-in-law let me follow through with my brave plan, this is where the genius comes in. She held the bowl in her hands, as if it was the best thing she could have chosen to eat that morning for breakfast. She took a spoon and carefully scooped the oatmeal into it. She then took the bowl to the table and said, “I like oatmeal, it reminds me of eating a warm oatmeal cookie.”
I looked at my nieces, their smiling faces hungrily eating up every last bite of their oatmeal. I realized that one of them had sprayed whipped cream on her oatmeal. My sister-in-law noticed and said, “If you would like, you can put whipped cream on the oatmeal too. It makes it taste like you are having dessert for breakfast. But try it first without whipped cream, to see what you really think of oatmeal.”
I waited a moment and then thought, “just go ahead!” So I did. At first I didn’t taste anything but sugar. I didn’t even get the texture effect. So I took another bite. This time the texture came out, but it wasn’t bad. The thought of comparing it to an oatmeal cookie just reminded me of eating unbaked cookie dough . . . NOT BAD AT ALL! I went for a third bite and my sister-in-law asked, “Would you like to finish that bowl?” I looked up and she smiled. Not in a triumphant way or in an “I told you so” manner, but in an “I thought you would like it as much as I do. I’m glad you added another joy to your life” kind of way. And that was it. I learned to like oatmeal that day and I haven’t looked back.
The funny thing is, I think of that day almost every time I make oatmeal. It might be for a split second, or minutes – like today. But no matter what, that memory brings me light, love, truth and a healthy dose of gratitude. Thank you to my sister-in-law Karen for teaching me something I didn’t know. Actually, she is responsible for teaching me MANY things, but that is a post for another day!
If you want a good homemade oatmeal recipe, check out
That was my oldest post in my drafts. I don’t know why I didn’t post it? Maybe I was waiting for pictures? Maybe I got distracted? But I’m thankful to have it now, 4+ years later.
That post was written during a new and stressful time in our lives. Paul and I were contemplating homeschooling our children as a means to afford moving to Costa Rica. Fast forward, and here we are.
If I were to go back and talk to that Wendi, would she believe that I would still be making oatmeal in Costa Rica, in 2019? Would she even let us leave Utah in the first place?
The original plan was to live here for a minimum of 3 years. Now we are past 4. I wonder where we will be in 2025?
Happy Throw-back Thursday,