Prepare yourself for a complete non-revelation: it’s hard to get three kids to all the places they need to be to have, ya know… lives. I totally don’t want my kids to be overscheduled. I really pay attention to their different likes and current interests, and try to then cross formulate a way to help everyone be happy, engaged, and also have enough down time to play and be normal kids without cramming it into the edges of life. It’s not perfect though, and there are some conflicts that we parents have had to divide and conquer to accommodate. But also, let’s face it, I end up laughing sometimes when I look at our calendar. It’s one of those “family” ones with columns to provide ample space for everyone’s daily reminders, and my column is not full of much, but then I realize the whole dang calendar is stuff I am doing!!
Meals, as a consequence, have been lackluster more than I like. I truly find myself wishing everyone were just magically full of nutritious food and I could skip the cooking entirely—just a couple of days a week, but then adding in (what THE HECK) the worst cold season I can or care to remember… and let’s say I was OVER food for a while. Clearly a sign I was OVERscheduled (am still, but wait…).
I don’t know what the change has been. I can guess it’s a combination of longer days (who cares if we eat at about 8 on Wednesdays when we’re back from volleyball?) and knowing that the school year is on that coaster glide to the end, but I’m finally finding time, which translates to interest, in cooking.
I enjoyed all the parts of this meal, but it was a combination born from time-crunch and not really something I sat and “planned” because I was interested in any of the elements. I knew everything would work out fine and it’d be enjoyed… and that was so BORING. (I honestly would far rather laugh about a spectacular failure at a new dish even for company than bore myself to tears making something I have made many times before.)
Here’s what I made for dinner a couple of nights ago. It’s only a pasta dish, but I was *into* it. A couple of days prior, one of my regular reads had teased with her gorgeous photos of a couple of meals using recipes from an out of print book. However, she described the meal well enough that I was able to find a recipe for my own version.
It’s a small step. I think, in the future, a good sign of my internal state should be whether I make the time to cook with the joy it usually brings me. Time ebbs and flows, and, until I’m an empty-nester, I assume our family will only become busier, but cooking really is a centering activity for me.