Making Love Soup

It was bean soup I was making, cannellini bean made from scratch.  The beans had been soaking all day, and were now cooked perfectly (sometimes a challenge for me, getting them just right), salted and ready for the soup.

Into my inherited cast iron pot I started with the bacon, just a few pieces for flavor and the fat for sautéing the vegetables.  First were the leeks and onions stirred until they sweetened and softened.  Next came the celery and red pepper for color.  Finally, carrots, lots and lots of carrots and a dash of chopped garlic.

Out in the living room, my daughter sat, phone in hand, texting to friends.  We’d had another one of our strange strained encounters.  Perhaps you know the ones, where you try, almost in desperation to find a topic you can share.  It doesn’t really matter what you talk about, only that there is a chance to connect with them a little bit.  Unfortunately, I’m not always the best conversationalist, so I started out with great cheer, “How are you these days?”

Her response, “How do you want me to answer that?”  Ok, maybe this was not a good question to ask.  I ran through a repertoire of other questions, each one feeling more forced than the last.  Somehow I had this sense there was something I was supposed to guess or understand about her situation that I had not yet found.  Finally, in desperation I asked her outright, “What is it you want me to ask?”

Boom! The door slammed shut.  She looked at me with a painted smile and turned away. “I’m fine mom, fine.” Feeling rather defeated, I walked away.

This is the scene I recollect as I am preparing my soup.  I stir the softened vegetables, adding the broth and herbs:  oregano fresh from the kale-and-white-bean-soupgarden, parsley and basil, more salt and pepper.  And as I’m stirring and tasting my thoughts keep turning back to my daughter and the ache in my heart that so often I am at a loss as to how to connect with her.  But as I stir and taste, and the scent of the soup grows stronger, it comes to me that I can love her with this soup.

With every stir I can pour my love into this soup.  I imagine that when she eats this soup, this love will warm her insides, and fortify her body.  My love will swim all up inside her, hugging her close, bestowing her with kisses, even if she does not hear the words.

And so I stir and love as she sits in the living room texting, the wall between us thick and high.

Later that night after two bowls, she heads off to bed and takes a moment to say, “Good soup, mom.  Thanks.”  I hold those words close to my heart.

So here is the most wondrous thing, the next morning we sat on the couch drinking our coffee, when she opened up of her own accord.  She shared about her week, the frustrations she felt at work.  The conversation flowed easily effortlessly.  Her sharing, my sharing, a sweet connection.

Who knows the reason for the shift.  Maybe it was a good night’s sleep and how things are softer in the morning.  Maybe it was me not trying so hard.

And maybe, it was the magic of a soup infused with so much love – me in the making of it, her in the eating, that somehow softened defenses, cleared the illusion of obstacles we sometimes create.  The possibility that love can be given and accepted without a word at all.

Tonight I’m thinking about spaghetti squash with a marinara sauce.



Marianne Simon

Speak Your Passion



Dr. Marcy Cole About Dr. Marcy Cole

Born and Raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. BS from Northwestern University, majoring in Radio/TV/Film and Communication Studies. Worked as a Television Executive for Katz Communications, Received a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago and a Doctorate at the Institute for Clinical Social work. I've been in private practice as a Holistic Psychotherapist for the past 18 years working with adolescents, adults, couples and families. Workshop Facilitator, Corporate Consultant, and Speaker. Best selling Co-Author of "Living Proof … Celebrating the Gifts that Come Wrapped in Sand Paper" and "Get Your Woman On … Embracing Beauty, Grace and the Power of Women". Founder of First Tuesday LA, and Founder and Executive Director of, offering support to childless single women and couples who seek to adopt children in need.

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