Saturday, April 12, 2008


I had an opportunity to messy chef cook at home church this week, so I took Friday off to shop and to give myself an additional day to pull it together without being rushed. At home church, i am called Messy Chef because my meals are comfort foods, which are messy. I'm actually a neat cooker, I like to clean up as I go; it feels a little magical when the cooking is done, and there isn't a sink full of pots waiting to be bathed.

When I help Nathan, who is a REAL chef, I'm his clean up crew. It works well. I like to help him in this way. Over my years as a mom, and wife, I've solved many a problem or quandry standing over a kitchen sink full of soapy water. Salty tears dispell the bubbles, so you either have to keep adding the liquid soap, or work through whatever is on your mind quick. I've done both. There is comfort in that.

Tonight, my oldest daughter came by to eat with me in the kitchen, and she said something like, " You're in the zone of this now, you are standing in that mom stance." Apparently, I stand with my legs crossed when I am cooking and concentrating, or doing the dishes or chopping or stirring. She finds comfort in seeing that, it brings back some good childhood memories. I am glad she has those. I am more glad she shared it and that she came to just be with me- she was a big help.

You never really know about those invisible moments unless your kids tell you.

Anyway, I worked very hard yesterday, shopping in bulk, and prepping and made massive amounts of brownies among other things. By day's end, my body was aching . My fingernails were slumping over with exhaustion, and my legs kept trying to fake me out, hopeng I'd give in and go home. I told my church chick mentor/friend that my body was tired, but my mind had been on a complete vacation all day. I had lunch with my best church chick buddy, and I spent hours working on the meal for tonight. It was pure heaven. I think it falls into the category of a type of vacation called Timesharing.

I used to think those timesharing deals were places, but for me, timesharing is sharing time in safe and peaceful places. I highly reccommend it.

Earlier in the day, I had stopped by a friend's house to piddle in her yard. I'm trying to help her with a garden this season, and we are enjoying the time to just visit. I can't work too long in the dirt as I used to, but I enjoy it more now because i can choose when and how much to do. There are a couple of friends that I am helping with this season. I think I'll be a garden tender on the side. Get it set up , and then just check on it or talk to the plants to pump them up and spend a little time with them. It's a comforting activity.

One friend has wanted a garden but needed incentive to get it in gear, so we've worked together to get it going. The other friend has been very free and flexible in letting me just do in her yard. Funny, I actually have some ideas of what might be fun to try. We'll see how it goes. When they are away alot this summer, I'll be over watering and checking on our plant friends. It will make me feel like they aren't gone. The other friend works crazy hours and needs help keeping her garden tended.
My own gardenette is going well! I have a head of lettuce ready to pick and the summer plants are antsy to hit the ground. My oldest daughter is also getting ready to put her gardenette in. Ah, the time of year. Some folks take gardening as seriously as taxes, but I find if you keep your expectations in check it is much less stressful and more enlightening in other ways. My goal is to not kill and to get something to live. Surely that will happen. Time will tell. One head of lettuce and a beautiful brussels sprouts plant are telling me that. Oh, and my potatoes are up . These are good signs.

Gosh how did I get to gardens from timeshare vacation?I don't know, but I will tell you this
When you've put your heart and grateful soul into messy cheffing at home church and you find you are feeling like your age has doubled , and your body is getting ready to blink you, the best refreshing thing to do is go to a friend's kid's ballgame and sit.

I discovered a few years ago the rejuvenation one can have by watching someone else's child in action. Be it singing in a concert, or playing ball, just being present for another child is quite refreshing. I loved watching my own kids, but they are grown now, and the stressfullness of hoping they would do as well as they wanted, the dread of if they disappointed their father, well, it was hard. I was proud of their efforts always, and I still am, but relaxing during those events- nada.

This is different. It is so interesting to watch other kids grow into who they want to be. Fascinating. One friend's daughter sings. I have seen her go from a tiny angel to a lovely young teen, who connects with the music. Her spirit flies about when she is singing. Something touches her in a special deep place when she is able to connect with the music. I'm not sure she is even aware of it, but I can see it.

I've been to my best buddy at work's son's ball game, but he's into football now and that hurts.

There is a young man I have enjoyed watch play ball for a long time now. First, the differences between boys baseball and my own experience with girls' softball was something that interested me. Then there was the relief that I did not have to keep score, then that I didn't even have to know all the players, or keep up with exactly all aspects of what was going on. It felt like vacation to sit and just watch a ball pitched, and the play that ensued. I still seek out those opps, and in that, I'm able to watch this young man grow. All of these experiences are gifts that I value greatly.
My own girls enjoy the baseball with me as well. Those days were important to them, and now, they enjoy being on the other side of the fence with friends who play.

Today is over now, the meal finished, cleaned up. I am tired. and achy, my back is hurting more than Yoga can fix, and I am sweaty, and all my joints are on strike. But I can't wait til the next opp comes up. In these days of not knowing much about who and where I am on this path of life, these moments tell me I can go through the motions of putting together a meal for friends, and motion is probably healthy. I am lucky that home church lets me just be me and accepts what I can give them. I am lucky they accept me who and however I am, these days very uncertain many times. Work church takes me as I am as well, and that is pure grace. Sometimes, I don't know what to do with it. The acceptance from others, is so much more than I expect. Go figure

Right now, the ibuprofen is kicking in, i'm cozy at home, with dishpan hands, and I will say, on Monday when I return to my favorite "real" job , that I had a wonderful vacation.


Anonymous said...

You amaze me with your many facets. Thanks so much for sharing ! Loonygin

Auntie Knickers said...

I love what you said about watching other people's kids. My own children benefited from that so much in our church - it is an important asset for children, to have people outside the family who care about them. Great post.