Ever have one of those "A-ha" moments? One of those light bulb moments where it all just comes together and you see what everyone else sees, despite years and years of thinking you were perfect? Well, maybe not perfect. But, let's admit, I know that my way has been the right way all this time. Hasn't it?

Last night, some dear friends of mine from church came over for a time of prayer. All our husbands are deacons at our church, so we try to have purposeful prayer time to cover them with God's guidance and peace as they make decisions affecting the flock. While we spend time in prayer, we also make sure we have plenty of time for chatting, laughing, sharing, and, of course, eating! So, as I was getting everything ready last night, my two children eagerly wanted to get in on the action (one was at football practice in case you think I have one child who didn't care to share his talents...) As usual, I was under a strict time frame as I hadn't built in any margin for additional help from my kiddos, so, begrudgingly, I found some jobs for them.

Job #1:
"JD, can you open these nuts and put them in this bowl?"

"No, I don't want them mixed with chocolate chips. Just in the bowl would be fine."

"No, I don't think we want to add peanut butter or butterscotch chips either. Just the nuts. That's all I want in the bowl."

"Actually, I don't particularly care for the design and seeing how high it can go in the bowl. They won't be able to scoop the nuts out with a spoon if you don't take some out."

"Yep, just put them on the table."

"No, we don't need to have a design on the table. Anywhere is fine."

"No, the decorations are fine. Simple is sometimes best."

"No, I don't think the tooth fairy will bring you a throwing knife."

"That is fine, right there. Yes, right there. On the end. Yes, there."

Job #2:
"You know how we cut the grapes apart into manageable sections? Here's the platter for them - green on one side, red on the other."

"No, you don't need to alternate every other one. Just one color per side is fine."

"Yes, I realize we can make that side extra tall, but I am thinking it would look better if it were a bit more even."

Job #3:
"You want to use the apple cutter? That's fine - I'd love for you to do that. Here's a plate. Use three of the red and three of the green."

"No, you can't slam it down on the cutting board like that...that will bruise the apples."

"That is going to bruise the apples if you keep hitting it against the cutting board. I know it is hard. I can help if you want."

"I'll help you if you need it."

"Give me that thing."

"Yes, you can alternate the colors if you want. That would be pretty. But first you have to dip them in lemon juice so they don't turn brown."

"A 2.3 on the acid scale, huh? I didn't know that."

"Yes, it does hurt if you have a hang nail."

"Run it under cold water. That should help."

"Give me that. I'll do it. You put them on the plate."

"No, we'll put the caramel in the bowl on the side."

"No, you don't need to alternate with bananas. Just the apples would be fine."

"Yes, you do make a wonderful banana and apple plate, but tonight I just want the apples."

Job #4:
"Go ahead and put the candy corn in this dish."

"Yes, you may have a few after you finish so that you don't spread your germs."

"Actually, don't put them into those holes on the side of the dish. Those are for decorations."

"Well, I'd prefer you just put them in the bowl."

"Alright, leave them that way. I am sure the ladies will love it, just like you said."

Job #5:
"The pecans should go around the outside of the cake in a circle, and then make an inner circle that alternates with the outside."

"No, I don't want a B on the cake for our last name."

"No, I don't think we need a gun on the cake made out of nuts."

"No, chocolate chips aren't necessary."

"No, I don't particularly care for candy corn on the cake."

"Just the nuts would be fine."

"Yes, it looks perfect, honey. Thanks for your help."

Outside they both went to be happy greeters and help our guests find their way into the house. Cheerfully they welcomed each of them, and made me proud to be their mom.

I learned, through this (somewhat painful at the time) process, that my ideas aren't always right, aren't always the best, and there is more than one way to decorate a carrot cake. What is important is having kids by your side who want to contribute and make a difference...may I never forget to build a margin into my day to share the joys of working together!
5 Responses
  1. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes we do get too busy doing day to day things to include our children in the every day parts of our lives.

  2. This sounds so familiar! I do allow the girls to help, but I have to admit that there have been times that I'm just not sure that I have the patience to endure the process without ruining them, so I simply complete the task by myself. I'm sure it would be better if I just slowed down, took a deep breath, and allowed them to help more often!

  3. Karen Says:

    Sarah, this hits so close to home! I'm a control freak by nature and when I mentioned to my family I wanted to have a cookie exchange again this year, my daughter said, It puts you in such a bad mood, because you have to do everything yourself! Ouch.

  4. Leigh Says:

    This is a subject near and dear to me! My 3 kiddos are usually willing to give me all the help I can stand in the kitchen! LOL Thanks for reminding us to slow down and appreciate that spirit in them.

  5. Melanie Says:

    Love your post! Yes, I agree. Have a lovely weekend.