The kids are back at school, this year, all of them. For the first time in ten years, the house is quiet. Thus, I reflect. Parenting. This life-altering fumble in the dark. This ever-changing minefield of high impact decision-making.
In the six or so months since I started this blog, I have attempted to offer some advice or strategies on navigating the journey. Through a trip to Urgent Care in Spring Break? a lesson in shock and awe parenting in Over The Edge, the free range style described in Last Day of School, a Kindergarten interview in Worth and a failed attempted at school show and tell in Something’s Rotten in the State of . . . it is becoming clear to me, why my inbox is not flooded with requests for parenting advice.
The thing is, being a parent can be a thankless task. Many days we labour and sweat only to have our efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated. The hope that one day our children will return home, nostalgic and appreciative over all we have done for them, is a thin thread to hang on to in the craziness of day-to-day.
One battle I think all parents must wage, is the war with food. Knowing better what is good for them, we try to direct their appetites from what tastes good in the moment, to what will sustain them over time. So, in an attempt to provide nourishing and healthy meals for my young charges, I turn deaf ears to their complaints against asparagus, I soldier on amid intense opposition to peppers and I gleefully jam spinach in their smoothies.
You can imagine my discouragement when a certain son (I’m not mentioning any names here),
became especially irate one day when I asked him to come in for dinner. Apparently, I had promised that he could cook his own dinner over a fire. This dear child of mine was determined to kill a chickadee, pluck its feathers, and roast it over a fire.
When presented with my version of a roast bird, (Teriyaki Chicken with Rice and Asparagus), he complained loudly about the gross things I forced him to eat.
I am not easily defeated. I may come across as slightly disorganized, perhaps somewhat chaotic. But for someone who has lived in the olden days (apparently in the age before cell phones), I have a remarkably sharp memory.
So one day when you least expect it, perhaps when you bring home that girl we worry isn’t quite good enough for you, you may find me sitting near a roaring fire, a pile of chickadee carcasses at my feet. Possessing a love for the dramatic, I may encourage my already wild hair to complete liberation from the bonds of control. Loving the comfort of my ‘at home’ clothes, perhaps I will attire myself in a pair of dirty overalls. And then, dear boy, I will happily ask the two of you love birds to pluck some feathers. I will offer you a spit on which you can impale their tiny bodies. And you, my son, will roast your own supper.
As I write this my arms are resting on the true Bread.
And I can’t help but wonder, how many times, I, like my son, complain when I am asked to leave my pile of lifeless chickadees. How many times do I resist the attempt to turn my appetite from momentary pleasure to eternal nourishment? I am invited to feast on the Bread of Life, but somehow, my own ‘catch’ seems better than manna from heaven.
Turn my heart from what does not satisfy, and may it cry, give me Your Bread always. (John 6:34)
(No birds were harmed in the writing of this blog!)