Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fears of the Future

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.

Every meal.

Every day.

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."

Guess what?

She was.

That load of dishes, ready to put away this morning, lightened my load considerably.

I love that child!


Natalie said...

Oh, that sounds so nice! I don't have a husband who likes to cook, or a daughter of any kind, but my family IS very easy to please. Last night it was grilled ham and cheese, and you'd think it was chicken a la king by their reactions. I don't love cooking, but it certainly helps when even my laziest efforts are appreciated.

Gary and Debbie Rex said...

Hi Christina! First of all, what a cute pic of you! I know almost exactly what that feels like...wonderful, and slightly miserable, at the same time. :) I totally get the meals thing. I would rather clean and organize the house 10 times over before making a meal - and is it just me, or is there ALWAYS ANOTHER meal or snack to prepare, seconds after finishing up the last? I second the heaven sent daughter concept. My girls love to cook, and Elizabeth was even planning how she would cook most nights for her college roommates, but they could have a night or 2 if they really wanted. (We'll see if this idea lasts past age 10) :)

bjahlstrom said...

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Lillian really does sound amazing. I'm sure that's all anyone could hope for...such a responsible first child!

Handsfullmom said...

Natalie, my dad was like that -- totally grateful and amazed by whatever my mom made, even if it was pre-packaged chicken pot pies. What happened in the kitchen was just a big, amazing mystery.

One of the DISADVANTAGES of a husband who likes to cook is that he's never amazed by what I cook and he doesn't mind handing out suggestions. "This needs a little something," he'll say. Or, "You really should add more peppers."

Debbie, I totally agree with you. Organizing the house or even mowing the lawn is something I'd much rather do.

Sandi said...

Love this post. This too, is one of my least favorite activities. It is the day in day out 3 meals for 6 people that makes me nutty. Unfortunately I don't have a husband who can cook. (Seriously, he can't cook much of anything.) I have a daughter who has a passion for it but she is only 4.5 years old. Hopefully one day she can cook one meal a week and give her Momma a night off. LOL

Jen said...

I don't remember how I found your blog - but I love it and I love reading about your family.

I had that very same fear about feeding my family when I was newly married and I still hate to have to be the one to come up with the idea and act upon it.

I need a Lillian of my own. She sounds like a wonderful girl!!

alligood said...

No one is more surprised than I that my very favorite household task is planning and preparing meals for my family. My mom didn't cook - those pre packaged chicken pot pies were a staple at our house - and therefore, I didn't learn. Between a college course in meal preparation and a MIL with a Master's degree in home economics, I've found some things that work for me. It helps a LOT that I have a husband who loves to eat and isn't picky, along with 5 hungry boys. It is a very satisfying chore when it is so appreciated (as opposed to, say, scrubbing the toilets!)
I am also very thankful that Heavenly Father sent me Matt first. He is also amazingly willing and able to help. His positive attitude and sincere enjoyment when he's helping out rubs off on his younger brothers. It is delightful!

Mostly Diane said...

I think I actually do spend about 1/3 of my day in the kitchen. Feeding a large family is no small task.

I have an oldest child like yours. I was so blessed to have a girl first. She's a great babysitter now too. She definitely makes life easier and more enjoyable. Glad you have a girl like that too.

Stacey said...

I am just laughing at the 'feeding them' part! I SO feel the same way. And I don't love cooking, it's a necessity, not a joy. Your oldest sounds wonderful! My oldest, though a boy, can be quite helpful and has made us dinner a time or two as well. Thank heavens for older children!

swedemom said...

She is a pretty special kid. I had to laugh at your comment about being afraid of cooking so much. You know how much I love cooking. Isn't it blessing that she is your firstborn?

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a sweet girl, and a blessing to your life. Someone had a good idea when they sent her first to your family.

I have one similar--my third. She is coming home for two months this summer and told me she wants to cook dinner several nights a week while she is home. She is also a great kitchen cleaner. And she does it with a smile! Isn't it so great to have a child like that.

Ambrosia said...

I love to cook and even for me the day in and day out of feeding everyone breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and getting them to focus in and eat it to boot gets

Your Lillian is a GEM. I am hoping my Olivia will be just like that. She is on a good track to do so. I will cross my fingers and work hard at that ;)


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