Friday, October 18, 2013

Kids in the Kitchen- Some Hopeful Math

The refrigerator door opened. The kitchen faucet turned on. CLING. CLANG. BAM. The noise of her mother freeing a glass bowl from an impossible stack and closing the cabinet door was confirmation enough. Lyla knew I was starting dinner and from across the kitchen, I saw her eager face. My whole body slumped into an unspoken PLEASE. NOT TODAY. My overwhelmed mother-heart broke as I sent her offer-to-help away to find one of her sisters--someone to entertain her. The kitchen was already a mess and I barely had enough time to shove something into the oven without adding the wonder of childhood to the equation.

I sure hope the final math works out okay. That the disappointments had around our kitchen island add up to significantly less than the tender, beautiful moments.

This morning Lyla stood on a chair next to me not-so-lightly greasing the bread pans. Last night's leftover maple-walnut squash was about to become three loaves of bread. 

When you're three, there's no better way to feel loved and accepted than baking something with your mom--at least that's what Lyla told me. Only not in so many words. Not in any words at all, really. Her eyes sparkled and her every move seemed to involve a twirl, a flourish, or some sort of embellishment. Her message was clearly discernable, beckoning me into her world where stickiness doesn't matter and time is irrelevant. 

Perched on her left elbow, she cocked her head, smiled up at me and licked the butter from her fingers.

I've spent years in the kitchen, shoulder-to-shoulder with three-foot chefs dancing precariously atop kitchen bar stools. Countless eggs have been cracked onto the floor. Pounds of flour have missed the bowl and each of five tongues have discovered why NOT to lick it up.

My older children have become quite the gourmets--whipping up last-minute tasty creations during the busy school-year while I am somewhere between basketball practice and gymnastics or during the summer when they each sign up for an entire week of meal planning, budgeting, shopping, and food prep.

Beau is quite independent.

Sophia is coming along pretty well, too. I love how she perches on one leg at the stovetop. She must have seen me in the very same pose at least a hundred times.

Tyjah still needs quite a bit of watching-over, but everyone loves his lemon-pepper Hake. It's his specialty.

Halle finds herself right about where Lyla is--dancing on the kitchen bar stool and licking butter from her fingers.

I think the math will work out. I think sometimes the most precious, beautiful moments are so subtle that they get lost in the busyness of everyday life with five kids. It's one of the reasons my fingers tap away so incessantly at my keyboard late into the night. Much like an awareness of our blessings can help us discover even more of the beauty of this life, writing about my children and husband forces me to look more closely at our family and at the beauty hidden in the seemingly trivial and unabashedly sticky.

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