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?
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