When I was young and newly married, a Sunday School teacher asked the question, "What are some of your fears about the future?" There was a long, long, uncomfortable pause as no one ventured an answer, so I raised my hand. (I was a teacher myself at the time, and felt sorry for the poor guy.)
"One of my biggest fears," I said, "is that my husband and I know we're going to have a big family. I worry about how I'm going to feed all those kids!"
The teacher, thankful to have a response -- any response -- jumped and ran with the rest of his lesson, talking about how we can overcome our fears, such as mine about providing for a large family, through faith.
I didn't correct him (at least not that I remember), but really, I wasn't worried at all about providing food for all those kids.
I was worried about feeding them.
For the rest of my life.
I don't like to cook. I didn't then and I don't now. And I was serious when I said one of my fears about life was that as a mother, my job would be to cook on a regular basis.
Over time, I've gotten used to the task of cooking. I have my set recipes I use often and my menu plan that I need to get back to using again. It hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be to keep up with the cooking I need to do.
And yet, on some days, it's harder. When I'm worn out from a long day, cooking is the last thing I want to do. When I'm sick with pregnancy or busy with carting kids from one activity to another, I just don't think about dinner until it's upon me.
But I lucked out. I am twice blessed. First, my husband is a great cook and loves to do it. He cooks on the weekends and often on the days when I don't feel up to it. I can stand at the refrigerator door wondering just how I can use up that leftover chicken and feeling confounded, or I can call him and ask, "Hey, I haven't figured out what to make for dinner. We've got that leftover chicken. Any ideas?" He immediately has great ideas and often, he'll tell me he'll take care of it.
And my oldest daughter is amazing. She's smart, responsible, fun, patient, kind, and thoughtful. And the best part is, she also loves to cook. Last summer, we made her our lunch captain and she came up with great ideas and made lunch for the whole crew every day. And lest you think I'm torturing the poor girl with too much responsibility, she asked me just two days ago if she could be lunch captain again this summer. The girl is wonderful, did I mention?
Instead of a zone to clean up in the afternoon, she's in charge of helping me with dinner every day. Which on some days, especially days when we're having Mexican salad or stroganoff (meals she LOVES), means she makes the whole thing. Complete with a fruit and a vegetable. Last week, she wanted to make sure everyone was eating healthy, so she set the table, then put three carrots and several slices of orange on every plate. "That way, they don't get away without eating something healthy."
Amazing, right? Have I mentioned I love her? God knew what I needed when he sent her to our family first.
And while I'm bragging about Lillian, let me also say that last night was a tough one. DH and Joey are out of town and we had time only for a snack before we rushed from one event to another (a baptism and Lillian's concert). We got home late, ate late, and the kitchen was a huge mess after I sent everyone to bed. It was Michael's night to help with dishes, but I'd sent him to bed with the others, knowing he needed to rest. As I surveyed the mess, Lillian reminded me it was Michael's night to help. "I know," I said, "but I'll take care of it tomorrow. Unless you're up to filling up a dishwasher."
That load of dishes, ready to put away this morning, lightened my load considerably.
I love that child!