Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dinner as a metaphor

Tonight as I washed up the dishes I had an epiphany. It is absolutlely going to sound corn-ball. Sorry. Avert your gaze. But doing the dishes tonight made me a better person.

The kitchen was trashed, and though I was tempted to leave it till morning, I was actually feeling pretty good for the first time since church and figured I should take advantage of it. As I began sifting through the ruins of my kitchen, I found myself on an archaeological dig, unearthing the layers of preparation of one meal. A meal lovingly created for my family tonight by their papa, my Sweetie.

[I know, I know, I just went on and on about him, but consider this an epilogue, exhibit A, the proof that I ain't lying.]

I truly had enjoyed the meal. I had been craving a nice pork anything (some women crave pickles, I crave farm animals), and upon mentioning it to Guy yesterday he pulled some pork steaks he had squirreled away in the big freezer out to thaw (I must mention, that when I prepare dinner, fore-thought would include me counting the eggs before I start cracking them for scrambled eggs to make sure there will be enough, or checking to see if there is milk before pouring the cereal (yes, I did say dinner). If I have to pre-heat, baby, I'm Julia Child.). So as we sat down to eat, I was very pleased with the lovely meal we enjoyed. But tonight, as I sifted through the dishes and put food away, I realized I had not enjoyed the meal nearly enough. Not the way it had deserved to be enjoyed. At the time, it tasted wonderful, but it took doing the dishes to truly appreciate the meal.

As I worked, I found the food processor with tiny bits of pineapple inside, from the cranberry-pineapple chutney he created out of his imagination, and the pan that it had been reduced in. I found the bar-b-que tongs, reminding me that he had been out doors to take care of the meat, and the bags that he had marinated it in. I washed out the mixing bowl from the rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, the pot the potatoes had boiled in, and the bowl from the steamed broccoli (and swept up traces of the freshly picked rosemary that had been chopped). I wiped away the bread crumbs from the fresh loaf of crusty french bread that had been sliced, warmed and wrapped in cloth, and served in a basket. I rinsed the mixers he had used to make the fresh whipping cream, and the bowl from the brownie batter. As I wrapped and put away the left overs, I felt such gratitude. What a feast we had enjoyed. How did I not realize how hard he had worked while I was eating it?

We had sat around the table clad in china and crystal goblets, cloth napkins and fresh flowers, and giggled and visited. We had seconds and thirds, and the bread basket emptied. The sun went down and the children planned which candle they would each get to blow out. All of this, a not-quite every-Sunday tradition, created by my Sweetie. He decided a long time ago that our children should get to be treated to fancy dinners to gently teach them manners, to show them that they are important to us, and to create loving memories of time spent together.

I love that of all the squabbles had in a day, one is usually over who gets to say the dinner prayer. I love watching Adam eat broccoli by the pound. I love seeing the children's faces warmly lit by candle light, and hearing Guy as he plans out loud how he will tweak the recipe for next time, always working to improve the textures and flavor combinations. I love the winding down time as the meal comes to a close, the kids telling jokes, and Guy and I leaning against each other, all our grown-up-world worries pushed aside for a little while.

I got to wash the dishes tonight. What a joy to have seen the layers of my husbands love for his family. I got to wash the dishes tonight.


rebekahmott said...

Again you amaze me with your writing. That is a very good idea, the fancy dinner thing. What a great way to teach your kids manners with out spending tons at a resturant and in public. I wish my husband would and could cook that well. I love you!!!

Flowers said...

Nice blog. Enjoyed going through your blog. Keep it up the good work. Cheers :)