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The Stand alone Chef

As a girl, growing up in a busy household with two working parents, I used to wonder about a few things.

My Mom worked, cooked meals, and maintained a household with little help from us.  My sister and I had our chores of course, and my Dad was an amazing supporter/fixer upper as well.  But Mom did most of the meals minus times when she worked late, and we were left to fend for ourselves. 

But dinner time was 95% of the time spent with my sister, Dad, and me sitting at the dinner table while Mom ate off to the side, or scarfed down her food and starting cleaning up while we still enjoyed our meal. 

We would often recount our days, or simply quietly eat.  I don’t truly recall specific details of dinner time other than we were always well fed, and more times than not we had some sort of desert that consisted commonly of pudding in pretty little custard dishes. 

Why did my Mother rarely sit with us?  I simply did not understand. 

Yet tonight, after cooking a pretty amazing meal that I put my heart and soul into-as I usually do, I finally ‘got it.’

I caveat this post with the fact that I always serve my youngest first (she’s 7 years old, and well, gets distracted easily so takes a few more minutes to finish her dinner), my oldest second, and my husband thirdly before making my plate.  It isn’t uncommon for them to start eating without me, and I am ok with that fact. 

But tonight, my husband texted me saying he was running late, so I went ahead and served dinner to the three of us girls and had his plate on standby in the microwave. 

I sat down to eat, and instead of being welcomed and possibly thanked for a nice meal, I was instead given 14 year old attitude and open disdain with true to form eye rolling and head shaking. 

Did she not know I just spend an hour caramelizing onions to serve atop our carne asada seasoned steak?  Really?  Was my freshly prepared guacamole not enough to cut the chip on her shoulder off at least a touch? 

Apparently not…

So with the last head shake, I picked up my plate as calmly as possible and placed it near the sink so I could start cleaning up.  I knit picked at my plate while cleaning, trying to choke back the tears. 

I work so hard at WORK…after which I spend time getting my youngest from the bus, and helping her with homework to turn around and start dinner. 

Yet tonight, I felt as if I was slapped in the face, and wanted to be anywhere but at the dinner table. 

So I ate quietly…alone, at the counter.  Just as my Mom did, for so many years.   And I have to wonder…was this what she felt?  Did I cause her this heartache more times than she could count? 

I am guessing the answer to this question is YES.  And I can’t help but to have a nagging ache in my chest for the pain I caused her…a woman who has worked her tail off for her entire life.  And I bet my eye rolls and head shakes hurt her just as much as they hurt me. 

With that, I say…appreciate those that put time and effort into making your life a little better.  Be it with a meal, a phone call, a text, or a simple gesture. 

Keep Movin’ forward…xoxo
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4 thoughts on “The Stand alone Chef

  1. Such a good reminder! And your daughter probably does appreciate all that you do in her own way, it's just hard to see it past the teenage stuff. You'll reap the rewards later on.

  2. Michelle, I think that this is an age-old process of separating from our parents. As your oldest tries to define for herself who she is apart from you, she needs to “find a reason” to pull away and define her own life for herself. Rest in the knowledge that you’ve laid a good and solid foundation. That foundation will be her overall guide as she “starts her new life” without you in it guiding her every step. The eye rolling will come and go and often their actions and reactions to us will be hurtful; this too is useful because it helps us separate from them. Look through the hurt and find joy and comfort in the thought that you have raised your daughter to be exactly where she needs to be and doing what she needs to be doing, defining her life for herself. It might even make it easier to let her go off to college – life will be calmer in your household without the eye rolling. Trust yourself enough to believe that you have raised a daughter that will one day choose to come back to you and become your friend because now she can be – as a child in your house she was the child and you were the parent and that is how it had to be. Brush the hurt off, be the parent and recall that her journey to growing up is difficult and confusing and so very necessary. Someday, when she is grown, she will tell you that you were and are a great mom as I’m sure that you have said to your own mom – you just did in this post. You ARE doing a great job; keep trusting your instincts and know that your daughter is doing what she has to do to grow up to be a great person like her mom!

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