Messy Mamahood

April 19, 2010

Cooking up a little love

"Mom, what's for dinner?" Those are the four words I've dreaded every evening. Whether I've been at work all day, running the kids all over kingdom-come or working around the house, those words make my stomach sink. "I just fed you yesterday," I think to myself. "You're already asking me that same question again?"

Part of my disdain for the question is that I simply don't like to cook - unless it's for big occasions like birthday parties, holidays, etc. My mom raised us on macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and frozen pizzas. Not a very creative culinary upbringing and not what I want for my own kids.

But I find it so difficult to cook for such picky clientele. Keile loves pasta dishes (my specialty) - the other two don't. Blane will only eat apples and grapes from the fruit family and asparagus, carrots and lettuce from the vegetable family (I know, strange, isn't it?). Two of them dig spicy food, but the little one not so much. Taege and I love seafood but the other two won't touch it. But Blane is definitely the pickiest by far. She'd live on peanut butter sandwiches and chicken nuggets if I'd allow it, which I won't.

What I've realized about the question itself though - "Mom, what's for dinner?" - is that it's not so much the WHAT as the MOM. It seems to me that my kids are asking the question, whether knowingly or not, to make sure I'm still there, still paying attention, and still taking care of their needs. I like to think of it as their security check for the day. They look forward to our family time at dinner, to having mom focus on them in the midst of all the craziness of the day. And I've learned to get past my dislike of cooking because I know that what I'm creating is more than a meal. It's another way to show my children I love them each day. At least that's my take on it.

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