26 Cups of Apple Sauce and 23 Little Spoons

“Can I take some applesauce to school?” Dracko asked as he shoveled warm fresh applesauce into his mouth. He had complained about our not-so-sweet applesauce, so I made him a batch loaded with sugar.

I considered his question. After mentally picturing the mess it could create, I said that we had better get permission from the teacher first. I sent her a message.

From the cupboard I dug out 26 small plastic cups. Then I found the cardboard box with what was left of the plastic tasting spoons we bought for our wedding. The silver spoons are half the size of an ordinary spoon and fit perfectly in little cups.

Well, the teacher didn’t get my question until Dracko had left for school, but she said it would have been fine. So I asked if I should just bring it in myself, rather than entrust the potential mess to Dracko and the elementary school bus. We decided that I would bring it in.

Let me just clarify what my state of mind was yesterday. About every 10 days, it seems, I am filled with certainty that I can’t go on.

Friday was day 10.

Even at the time that I agreed to take the applesauce, I was at a friend’s house crying. Well, not exactly crying the entire time. But I had abandoned my writing project because I was getting nothing done other than eating too much food.

I drove toward Dracko’s school, the fresh applesauce, cups and tiny spoons packed in a bag, feeling sorry for myself.

Is this what it means to show love? I wondered. Will I always be this miserable, this exhausted, this depressed? I don’t even feel like being alive today.

Well, I dropped it off and dipped it into the little cups and planted a little silver spoon in each one, the handle sticking up. Dracko passed them around, using the wooden tray I had brought from home.

“Mmmm it’s good!” voices cried.

“Disgusting,” a boy said.

We were two or three spoons short so Mrs. Kiehl supplemented with normal plastic spoons from her cupboard. Since I had suggested that the girls would probably care more about the little spoons, Dracko passed the applesauce with normal big spoons to the boys.

“What kind of apples did you use?” she asked.

“Well,” I said, “that’s an interesting story…” (I just had to share that for the sake of those of you who read my apple blog.)

“Are you the one that wrote that book that he brought?” a girl asked.

When I offered to pick up the empty cups, the same girl said that she wanted to eat her applesauce slowly.

I went to my neighbor Mary’s house shortly after.

From her armchair, she scolded and soothed, her huge black eyes taking me in as I wiped tears from my face.

“Katrina,” she said with finality, “God’s not like that. He doesn’t want you to be miserable. No one knows what you are going through, so if you can’t handle it, you need to quit. You just need to send those boys back to their mama.”


“There will always be a reason you can’t,” she dismissed me.

“If you and your partner think you can keep going, then let me tell you the recipe,” she said mysteriously. “Yup, there’s a recipe. You’ve got to be PRAYED up. I say, prayed UP, girl! Not praying a little before you go to bed at night, no! I mean PRAYED UP.”

Behind Mary, the gold stripes and swirls of the wallpaper confirmed that nothing has changed, here at Mary’s house. Through the door into the living room, I could see the rows of shelves covered with framed portraits of children and grandchildren.

Sometimes, I think, we just need someone to remind us that “God’s not like that,” and to remind us about important recipes. I nearly fell asleep in Mary’s arm chair, I was so filled with peace after my cry.

That night at supper, Marnell asked Dracko if he had taken the fresh applesauce to school.

“Yes,” he said. “Well, Katrina brought it. Everyone loved me after that! And they really liked the little spoons.”

Everyone loved me after that.

Apparently, the applesauce mattered, even if I couldn’t summon the right feelings about it.

And, I really should try Mary’s recipe. She’s a good cook, so I bet it works.

P.S. Sorry so late on posting. Among other things, Jen stopped by, wanting me to buy a grimy lotion gift pack, three packages of markers, two scissors, a stuffed toy, and light bulbs, all for $15. I took the lotion set and the markers for ten, since I couldn’t think of a better solution, and spent some time sanitizing them.

Also. Please note that when I quote people, such as Mary, I do my best to be true to what they said. But of course, since I did not record her talking, it is not likely a word-for-word record. Sometimes I remember things with absolute clarity. But other times I just have to do my best.

16 thoughts on “26 Cups of Apple Sauce and 23 Little Spoons”

  1. I want to walk in your front door and give you a BIG hug. But since I’m not close by, may Father God snuggle you into His heart. He LOVES you so much! And you are sweeter than the sweetest applesauce

  2. May God give wisdom, whether directly, or through people like Ms. Mary on what is the best course for you and Marnell to take. Parenting is a vulnerable thing…👨‍👩‍👦‍👦

  3. I think you are a pretty cool mom for even being willing to let him treat his class with applesauce like that…❤️ God bless you … lean hard on Him!

  4. We don’t have to be this “cool “ mom. We serve an awesome God who looks past our flaws n loves us anyway. Keep on doing as unto Him. You will find joy in the blessings that come your way. Thanks for keeping it real n not sugar coating it. Life is hard sometimes… hugs!

  5. Oh, Katrina, I read and edit Captain Garrison, and think you are an amazing author (you are) who has life all under control (you don’t). So often, we think we are the only ones who have such struggles with life and what God has asked us to do. And it is not true! Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share from your heart. Ms. Mary’s reminder is a GOOD one. One we all need. Keep going, sister. With Jesus, we can make it!

  6. You should compile a book of family that have children born premiture born to early please clp have books out of stores of adoption i hopping for a book sometime of premiture stories

  7. Suddenly I am struck with clarity that your story and mine aren’t much different. The boys in my life aren’t foster sons, but students with an excess of emotional and academic needs. I can’t believe how much sleep I need these days. I definitely need Mary’s advice to get prayed up!

  8. Oh, Katrina, as I read this I realized that our stories are more parallel than I thought. The two boys in my life aren’t foster sons, but students with an excess of emotional and academic needs. I need Mary’s reminder to be prayed up! I am guessing that Mary meant to tell you to pray, pray, pray; but I think that being “prayed up” also means allowing others to lift us up in prayer, and I know you are doing this. Blessings in all the messiness of loving well!

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