Saving the day

October flew by at a pace which I found perturbing.  Why?  Because I knew that November and December would be even more whiplash paced.  So now we’re here, nearing the end of the year, and I’m wondering where it all went.  

It’s Thanksgiving.  We usually host, but this year we had planned to go up to my brother’s house, 2.5hrs north of us.  The kids were really excited to see the house (we haven’t actually made it up there since our oldest was a toddler, and to hang out with their uncle, aunt, cousin, and other family members.  And to have apple pie.  My oldest was really set on having apple pie.

So of course, a couple of us got sick.  We didn’t want to get my parents sick, so we decided to stay home.  The kids were devastated.  At least the oldest 2 were.  The 3 year old didn’t really seem to notice–she’ll probably suddenly realize sometime next week that we had to cancel our plans.  It took her like a month to realize that our next door neighbors/tenants had moved away.  And the baby didn’t care.

When husband and I realized that our plans had evaporated, we decided to make the best of the day God had given us.  We made a quick plan to cook up a last minute Thanksgiving feast, made a run to the neighborhood grocery store to pick up the missing essentials (the clerk laughed at me when I asked if they happened to have any cooked turkey…apparently you have to order that weeks in advance).  They did, however, have a turkey breast (which we later realized was not entirely thawed) and lots and lots of heavily discounted chicken.  

We spent the day cooking with our children.  I don’t know if you have ever tried to cook with kids, but it’s kind of a pain.  They do everything wrong, they make giant messes, they swarm you and they fight over who gets to do what.  It’s enough to make you feel like it would be easier to just do it yourself. 

But lately, I’ve been trying to push through all that mess and annoyingness.  Because on the other side is children who are an actual asset to our organization, and who have the confidence that comes from owning a project.  On the other side is a home where everyone contributes and is appreciated.  

So I brought my 9 year old into the kitchen with me and told her to make cranberry sauce.  She’s pretty spacey and also likes to feel every single ingredient she adds, but she is also really motivated to learn to cook, willing to work and to do messy jobs, and to put up with all of my ocd control freak overcorrections.

She made the cranberry sauce.  Then I told her to make an apple pie.  This was a real labor of love (for her, making the pie, and for me…teaching her to make a pie).  She made the crust, adding way too much water after I had told her 3-4 times to stop adding water when the dough had a certain consistency.  She peeled the apples, pausing all too often to eat the apple peels, which she can’t get enough of.  She cut up all of the apples, even though she wanted me to do it, because it’s hard.  She mixed up the filling, rolled out the pie crust (folding it and making it too thick), and assembled the whole thing.  She wanted to add decorations, so I told her to roll out the extra crust very thin and cut out a couple of leaves.  I came back a couple minutes later to find big round pie crust balls around the perimeter of the pie.  It was kind of a mess, but it was wholly hers.  She put it in the oven, dutifully checked on it, then finally took it out of the oven.  She was so proud of that funny, lumpy pie.  She was so proud of herself.

At the beginning of this whole get out of debt adventure, back when husband thought I wasn’t on board, and was trying to convince me to be on board, he asked me some questions that came from his coach.  One of them was something like “How can husband show up for wife?”  That sounds really awkward without our names.  Anyway, that question got me thinking about how I need to show up.  What I need to do and be if we’re going to accomplish this ambitious goal.  And one of the things I came up with, is that I need to commit to helping my kids become more helpful.  That’s going to be really messy and annoying for a while, and it’s a whole extra thing on my shoulders, when I’m already feeling like I’m drowning in shoulder things.  But it’s worth that big investment, and will have rewards we can’t even conceive of right now.  

I think in order for them to be helpful members of this family, we have to treat them like helpful members of this family.  We have to give them real responsibilities and allow them to fail…and to succeed!  9 year old made a pie today!  She helped save Thanksgiving.  She joined us in rising to the challenge of making the best of the day God had given.  She should be so proud of herself.  We both did the hard thing and came out better for it.  Today was a win.  Thank you God for the opportunity of today’s illness.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *