Yesterday was pretty gloomy, and this morning and early afternoon remained much the same. Last night we even got snow, though not enough to qualify me as winner of our bet. Luckily all of that nonsense is made up for with one little Cup of Noodles. I threw a few of these cheapy lunches in my shopping cart while I was out the other day and am so very glad I did. Turns out these are one of those simple pleasures that takes me right back to times past.
Growing up, my grandmother would often pick up my brother, my sister and I from elementary school. She would watch us for the last few hours of my mom's work day and we really enjoyed the time with her. We watched some of our favorite movies that were completely ridiculous and mostly ate her out of house and home. Our favorite after school "snack" was Cup of Noodles, aka the Maruchan Instant Lunch. She would heat up the water, unseal the little flap on the cup, and set the fork back on top while the noodles softened. Then she would add an ice cube to each cup and had us stir it in before eating. To this very day I can hear her saying, "Don't eat that until the ice is melted. It's hot." She would say this every time and back then we would roll our eyes, but now the words make me smile.
Then the four of us would settle in upstairs. My grandmother would be wrapping yarn around her hooks or needles while the rest of us flopped on the floor, enjoying our noodles. The soothing smell of this beef ramen took me right back there this afternoon. I set my fork on top of the flap just as she used to do, and I even stirred in an ice cube for good measure. "It's hot." When I sipped up the dregs in the bottom of the cup I almost anticipated her voice again. "Do you need anything else? There is pop down in the fridge and cookies in the cupboard." She loved us and took care of us so well. I am sure we caused her some panic and grief once in a while, but it never showed. I can't remember, but I truly hope I told her thank you. I hope she knew how deeply we loved her.
Now I am missing her today a little more than usual. I miss her house, her clicking needles, and her happy, wrinkling smile. I miss her eclectic collection of movies, the movies we loved so, so much. I miss the strange noodle curlers she would put in her hair and even her varicose veins. I wish I could give her one more big hug. Mostly I wish I could share Blake with her. She died just before he was born. I wanted to show him all the stashes of treats in her house. I can't believe he will never crawl under her bed or hide in her closet. He won't see her roses or smell her lilies of the valley. I will do my best to bring some of these parts of her memory into our home, but I know it will not add up to my soft, warm grandmother.
And to think, all that missing and memory brought on by one little Cup of Noodles.