I’m telling you, online life is a strange place. You can “talk” to people you know nothing about on Twitter, eavesdrop on their conversations with other people (and that’s actually accepted and even expected), and perhaps finally you’ll visit their site, the place they actually share themselves with the world, and find someone you didn’t expect in 140 characters or less.
I first “met” @raisingarrows on Twitter by following a conversation called “Savvy Blogging”, which is basically a group of women chatting about how to become more effective bloggers. We were both learning from the divas of the blogosphere. One day she asked for advice on her site’s design, and I happened to click over to see it. This is rare, because I’m always short on time when I’m on the computer. Then again, I’m always willing to waste some time; it’s a curse and a vice. I began skimming her post, and she got me clicking around. I found out she drives a 15-passenger van and is raising a whole bunch of kids (I didn’t even know how many) to love the Lord. I didn’t want to click on the link that caught my eye with the most intensity. Like a vehicle slowing down to gawk at an accident, I couldn’t help myself. I clicked. And I cried.
I thought about the woman I only knew as “raising arrows” for days afterward and offered up prayers for her family. I hugged my children tighter and kissed their heads more often. (Read her daughter’s whole story here.)
When she sent me this idea for a guest post at Kitchen Stewardship, I was immediately drawn into the story. It’s a lesson all of us probably need to hear, and believe me, it spoke right to my heart.
People often tell me that they don’t know how I “do it all.” I think that’s funny, mostly because I’m so often thinking or questioning that same question about other people. You see, there are so many things I don’t do, and so many things I don’t do well. We all assume the grass is greener at someone else’s house, or that the kitchen is cleaner or the food tastes better.
One of my great faults is to get stressed out about time and setbacks, and when I do, I let my impatience get the better of me. There was quite some time when my younger daughter was in a certain distracting phase that my son, the best kitchen helper ever, suddenly wanted nothing to do with his apron or his mom in the kitchen. I had lost the ability to make cooking fun for him because I acted stressed out and short-tempered when he was just doing his best. Now my toddler daughter loves to drag a chair over to be with me at the counter. It drives me nuts. She doesn’t know what to touch and what not to touch. I’m thinking about that in a whole new way today. It turns out it’s my job to teach her those things.
I needed to read this article. I need to read it again. I hope it touches your heart, too.
There are bits of cucumber and tomato that never quite make it into the salad. The kitchen floor is lightly dusted with flour. She’s asked about a million times if she can lick the spoon and I’m pretty sure she did when I wasn’t looking. She is five and a kitchen stool next to mama is almost as wonderful as snuggling on the couch with her favorite book. The very things I tire of doing day in and day out are fascinating to her bright eyes and eager hands. However, the kitchen has always been a difficult place for me. I’ve even gone so far as to call it the “bane of my existence.” It is a needy, never-ending mess of pots and pans and last night’s dinner. In fact, I’d rather be anywhere other than my kitchen.
Yet, despite its blatant lack of counter space and 50 year old appliances that won’t break so I can get new ones, it holds a certain charm to my little daughter. She is an M.I.T. (Mommy In Training) and she knows the kitchen is Mommy’s domain.
So how is it the one room in the house that is almost entirely mine happens to be the one room I dislike the most? Why is it I’m so overwhelmed by the dirty dishes, I’d rather cover them with a towel than wash them? Why is it the meal-making remnants on the counter make me want to head the other direction? Why is it I’d rather rifle through the pantry at the last minute than spend time in my kitchen preparing a well thought out meal for my family?
I’ve toyed with the idea of sprucing up my kitchen with paint and pictures, adding touches of fancy to make it more pleasing to the eye, but deep down I know aesthetics aren’t the issue. It’s attitude. Mine, to be exact.
When I look at the kitchen I see messes to be cleaned. When my daughter looks at the kitchen she sees an amazing place where individual foods become an entire meal right before her eyes.
I see the end, she sees the beginning.
It would do me good to adopt her view of things. Instead of seeing a scummy blender, I should see the blessing of not having to bother with cleaning it before making smoothies in the morning. Instead of seeing a dirty skillet, I should see the potential of a clean skillet for browning meat for tomorrow’s lunch. Instead of seeing a cluttered countertop, I should see a stunning (albeit small) workspace for rolling out a pie for company this weekend. I should see the beginnings rather than the ends.
In fact, I should see a wonderful beginning when my daughter crawls up next to me on that little kitchen stool. What she learns from me is the beginning of her journey to womanhood. Every time she stirs the batter, shreds the lettuce, or salts the meat, she is learning. She is also learning when she sees me sigh at the mess before me or when I slam a cabinet door in frustration or when I am short with her because I just don’t have the time to play a round of 20 Questions. Is that the beginning I want for her?
The only thing I have with my children are beginnings. What is sown today will take years to bear fruit. In fact, I may never know the full impact of the beginnings I share with my children.
So, what matters here and now is that I take my life’s calling as wife and mother seriously. It is imperative I purpose to be someone worth emulating. I must remember all my daily tasks are to be done as unto the Lord so my daughter sees Whom I truly serve when I serve my family. Now is the time to stop fussing and fretting over the ends of things and start preparing for the beginnings. And when my little daughter slides that stool across the floor and climbs up next to me, I should see things from her perspective…a beautiful beginning.
Amy is the homeschooling mother of six precious arrows. To read more about what life is like managing a larger-than-average household, and to find support for the grieving mother, visit Amy at her blog, Raising Arrows. (This post was originally published here.)
Thank you, Amy! Please visit her to say hello!
More Kids in the Kitchen:
- Potato Salad with the Kids: How my son helped out starting at age 2
- Balancing Time, Family, and Food: Get the kids in the kitchen and you out