We don't see Mom's mind working before she even rolls out of bed, remembering what she has on hand, how many of us there are, which ones have food allergies or are dieting or don't care for pork. While most of us were sipping our first cups of coffee and checking in on Facebook, she was cooking and organizing and table-setting. In the time in took me to log on, the dishes are already done, the dishwasher chugging, and everyone has moved on to making plans for the day. Mom is amazing, but she's not the only one.
We've grown accustomed to having access to the best of everything, not just the best mom. As a society, we demand and receive the best produce, the highest quality meat, the biggest berries, the freshest milk. We expect ultra-pure water and hyper-clean plumbing. Our clothes must be well-made and go together and match our shoes. Fast internet, constant wifi, uninterrupted electricity -- we don't even think about how many things we get the best of.
What happens when we only eat the asparagus tips or broccoli crowns? Does someone else eat the rest? Likely, it goes into the landfill. If we're lucky, it get composted. What about the meat cuts no one wants? Animal food? Sometimes. How about that food we left in the cardboard container at the mall food court? I just read about a mall where the employees are composting the food court leftovers and using that on a rooftop vegetable garden. Brilliant. Bill Gates is supporting new technology to extract clean drinking water from raw sewage.
When we're enjoying the best of anything, are we conscious of the cost? If the tip of the iceberg is our luxury, what makes up the bulk that we don't see? Are less fortunate people left with our rejects? Is unseen labor creating our convenience? Is that labor paid fairly? How much has to go into landfill for us to indulge in only the best?
As much as we love having access to the best of everything, it's important to educate ourselves as to what it costs us, others, the environment, our future on the planet. Maybe the best isn't always necessary. Maybe the best isn't best at all. I'm grateful to Mom and her dedication to family, and I know that planning and shopping and laundering and ironing and cooking and serving and cleaning up are not easy. I know my turn is coming to serve her, and I look forward to it. Contributing to a loved one's access to quality is a pleasure, more so if they recognize the work it took to provide the best.
May we always appreciate what it takes to provide the quality we enjoy and never take it for granted or assume that we're entitled to it.