I've had a really hectic couple of weeks. I feel like it's just been nonstop, bouncing from my home office to the supermarket, back to the quietest spot in my home for yet another zoom meeting, and finally to the kitchen counter. I'd bring in the bags of groceries, confirm my next call with a client, make lunch, prep dinner, run to the market again because somehow I’m missing an ingredient, then I'm teaching Social Studies at 7:30pm while I mash our Yukon potatoes. (Those potatoes have been a hit in our new home!)
To put it mildly, life has been a rollercoaster; if you caught a snapshot, you would want to frame the picture.
I'll confess that keeping busy is second nature for me, but lately I’ve been wanting to rest. What I wouldn't give for some time with no meetings, no clients, no homeschooling and definitely no loud banging and screaming. Maybe a consistent week of peace, serenity, calm, and slow-paced living. It’s honestly been calling my name. Over these past two weeks I've occasionally found myself daydreaming that my husband would cook breakfast, lunch, dinner, go food shopping, teach our children and beg for me to stay in bed and to not lift a finger. Ha!
But today was special. Something clicked for my children, and what they did next really made me happy. My oldest daughter put on Anita Baker, which immediately took me to cloud nine, and then she instructed the two younger ones to prep the dinner table while I stayed in the kitchen preparing dinner. Yes, I cried. If you keep reading this blog, you'll soon learn that I cry over the littlest gestures my children do.
So there we were, as Anita so softly sings, “…and you bear all the weight that has to be.” And I noticed my youngest girl cutting the potatoes. This is probably better than that fantasy about my husband taking care of everything. I couldn't help but stand in awe for about 30 seconds. Why? Because my children are actually preparing dinner for me.
The baby tugged on my pants leg to break my trance, asking if he could bring some utensils into the dining room. Eagerly, I approved his request. I got ready to start cleaning the fish and joyfully sang along with Anita, “Giving you the best that I got, baaaaaby!” The song was so perfect. Ha! In that moment, I felt perfectly understood. I had help! My children were smiling, sharing jokes between one another, and at no point did they complain about anything. Towards the end of dinner my oldest whispered to me, “Dinner was so good, Mom.”
I knew it wasn’t only about the food, but the time we shared together.
Mealtime has become my favorite time because of moments like this. I’ve learned that mealtime doesn’t have to be a stress-filled, lonely, resentful time of day, where I feel obligated to cook a meal for subsistence. It can be much more than that. Mealtime is more about connecting, appreciating, and valuing my family.
Mealtime is where we are mothers, teachers, comedians and children all over again.