Day 69–The Prodigal Son and Crunchy Granola

Cosmo, our Prodigal Son

Our household is fairly small. Two grown ups, one young person who thinks she’s a grown up, a dog and a cat. We have a peaceable kingdom in our home–even the animals get along like buddies. So when one of our small unit goes astray, it throws us all into a tailspin. Such was the case yesterday, when our young, indoor cat, Cosmo, decided to take an unapproved field trip into the suburban wild. All day. And all night. After searching the neighborhood for hours, I was sick with worry and my daughter was sobbing.

In situations like this, my husband is the voice of eternal optimism. I, on the other hand, am a worrier. Neither of us are pessimists, but there is definitely something in my Catholic upbringing that tells me if you don’t worry, God might think you don’t care and move on to someone who is a little more focused. Worrying is rewarded, while joyful optimism is punished with rainy wedding days, warm beer and locusts. This is all, of course, absolutely ridiculous. Even so, it is clear that no amount of Buddhist meditation will erase the worry gene from my being. So now I prefer to see my “what ifs” as the Yin to Tom’s “it will be fine” Yang–we balance each other in our peaceable kingdom. In the end, after a rainy night and morning, Cosmo returned to us. Lured by the smell of breakfast cooking and the sound of the ice maker (truly, he begs for ice cubes and plays hockey with them all over the kitchen), he came inside. He’s filthy. He’s wet. He’s tired. But our kingdom is complete again. And like the Prodigal Son, we celebrated him with extra food, hugs and the warm blanket he loves so much.

When I’m worried, I either eat like a linebacker or I don’t eat at all. Proper worry-eating requires crunchy, sweet and salty food, especially if it can be popped in my mouth quickly. Since this is not a healthy habit, I try to focus on eating things that are more virtuous than potato chips and cheese doodles. Granola is a favorite food of choice. Here is a great recipe by Creative Noshing ( for delicious granola. Keep it on file for those worry days. Or really, why wait for worrying? It would be great any day, especially with some Greek yogurt. Happy baking.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go have a little “conference” with Cosmo…