banana pudding with vanilla waffers

Apron Strings by Samantha Gianulis

Yummy banana pudding the whole family will love — cooking it can be effortless. Since loving them was effortless the second I heard their baby cries.

Saw their little faces with eyes opening for the first time, smelled their sweet, soft heads and held them wrapped in hospital blankets, I guess I subconsciously assumed – hoped – that everything else about parenting would be effortless too.

After all, we’re ushered into parenting in the information age – answers are at our fingertips within minutes. A new parent can instantly download baby proofing instructions or Google their child’s symptoms (thereby launching themselves into a panic attack) rather than waiting things out, like the old days. It’s possible to gather a minimum of 1,500 tips on homemade baby food or self-soothing in one single afternoon at the park just by listening to other mothers.

Not to mention anti-biotics, the homeopathic approach, and 24-hour pharmacies.

What could go wrong with children that couldn’t be almost immediately resolved?

I never openly asked that question. I didn’t think my parenting mindset was ill-prepared. My theory about life – no, living – has endured one painful growth spurt.

EFFORTLESS BANANA PUDDING

1 box of Jell-O banana cream pudding
2 cups whole milk
(1) 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Cool Whip
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod (optional)
2 bananas, sliced
1 package of Chessmen type cookie or vanilla wafters

In a bowl, add Jell-O, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and Cool Whip.

With a paring knife, cut open the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the beans.

Add the vanilla beans to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Whisk all ingredients on high for 2-3 minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes.

While pudding is sitting, slice bananas on the bias.

Lay the banana slices on the bottom of a 9 x 11 pan.

Pour the pudding on top of the banana slices.

Top with cookies.

Chill for at least one hour.

 

 

By the time I had my third child, I had my own personal library of answers; books on pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding, weaning, potty-training, sign language, high-spirited children, emotional intelligence. I had amassed knowledge about rashes, rip currents, and queen bees (both kinds).

When I was afraid of a new virus or peril in our lives, I had the antidotes of information and proven remedies at hand.

I had control.

Then there were the 42 days. 42 days that brought me to my knees praying for everything to be alright.

My youngest child was diagnosed with a kidney condition and my son survived a line drive to the head while pitching in a Little League game. Oh, and the dog got MRSA, but that was more of an inconvenience than a crisis of faith.

The kidney condition is benign, and my son ended up with only a mild concussion. But I had to wait to find out, I had to hold my breath, beg for mercy, ride in an ambulance with my own, break down in doctor’s offices, contact prayer groups and ask questions I never thought I would have to ask before I arrived on the other side of good news and a more mature point of view.

42 days later, the “I read an article on that,” reflex in me had become a pensive “Can you ever really be prepared?” wonder. The “what if?” anxiety in my soul gave way to a “ride out to meet it” instinct. Chances are things will happen in this big, scary world in which we engage every single day. And when you love someone with abandon, you take your chances without even knowing it at first. How do you handle that risk and maintain your sanity enough to be a good parent? How did I smile during those 42 days and not show the fear that nearly over ran me to my children?

Faith, exercise, Bob Marley, and organic produce, but also changing the way I thought. Fear isn’t an option. The answers are not in books or newbie mommy sanctimony. The answers are in the trials we face and the applications we take from them.

When doubt tries to squeeze into me, that darknesss that starts out as a little thought and then paralyzes my entire body, I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and choose to believe everything is going to be alright.

I don’t have control. I have these children I love so effortlessly, that it requires Herculean effort to handle it.

I’ll take that any day.

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