Sunday, May 08, 2016

Circle Of Life

There is a symbol more powerful than the river that flows through our lives: the circle: The eternal return. Tagging off on itself and renewing. The beginning is the end is the beginning again. That's what mothers do. That's what pizzas do.
Tombstone pizzas, ironic brand name notwithstanding or perhaps because of it, have been part of the life of our family for longer than my son has been alive. It could be that it was simply a remnant of the life I led as a bachelor. It was easier to import this frozen dinner than the Hungry Man entrees into my new relationship. My wife was quick to adopt this once a week ritual into our diet, and it became a way to track the passing days, not unlike the great stone calendars used by the Mayans.  There was comfort in those pies, covered in still more circular pepperoni. It was my wife who encouraged me to sample other brands, other toppings, but after some mild experimentation, we returned to the thing we knew, with the addition of sausage to our pepperoni.
When our son was born, and my wife assumed a higher level of nutritional concern for her household, we kept the sausage and the pepperoni along with the apple sauce and the steamed broccoli. When solid food was introduced to our baby boy, we started pushing little meat nodules across his high chair tray, introduced by the exclamation: Meat! It would still be some time before he would be getting his own slice, but at a very tender age we brought him into our tribe's circle. With his mother's blessing.
Time passed and those stone calendars rolled. Soon we were cutting our pizzas into more slices to account for the increased demands of our son's growing appetite. When he was a senior in high school, he was periodically eating a pizza himself as a "snack" before dinner. When he moved off to college, it was important to find a nearby source of Tombstone pizza. This and the applesauce were the staples that filled his shared cupboard. He has solidly entered his solo-pizza phase, but when he comes to visit we know that we can share. Sometimes it means putting another circle in the rotation, but that's how things go round and round.
So much of what mothers do is to look out for the health and well-being of their offspring. There are guilty pleasures like ice cream and trips to Disneyland. And there is pizza. Mothers know that there are healthier alternatives, but they also understand the power of the circle of life.

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