As the years go by and memories fade, there are things you distinctly remember from childhood. I think most children remember the times they were sick, whether it was a cold, a bellyache or something more severe. There was definitely more than once occasion I remember getting sick, but what is most vivid is my mom always taking care of me during those times. Whenever my brother, sister or myself were sick, my mom always sat up with us, caressed our hair and sang us the most beautiful Lebanese lullaby: Yalla Tnam Reema, which translates to “Go to Sleep Reema”. The song is almost haunting to hear, a tune so connected to the one you love, the one you took care of you your whole life. That lullaby, some yansoon (anise tea) and chicken noodle soup. Those were the cures for any ailment. I can still smell the anise and hear my mom singing. Even now, she will do the same for my own kids.
Some days I wish I had as much patience as my mom did with all three of us growing up. She was and still is so loving, kind and nurturing. You know those parents that count down the days their kids leave to college? Or move out of the house? Yeah, that’s not my mom. My mom is the exact opposite. She counts down the days until we come to visit, and I’d bet she’d take any of us in without question if we needed. She is the most selfless person I know, someone I admire for her strength, perseverance, acceptance to new things and bravery. Everything she does she does for the love of her family, her children and now grandchildren.
I can only hope that my kids look at me with awe and gratitude one day. I hope I can give my kids the love, attention, affection and support that my mom did and still does to me. So when I think of how to care for someone, I immediately go to food to nourish. Food is the way to our hearts whether we are healing from illness or learning to love. I hope you enjoy this chicken noodle soup recipe and it nourishes your soul and brings back memories of your childhood.