Finding Joy in Meal Preparation
The first part was written two years ago when my oldest was just beginning physical therapy for her sensory processing, low muscle tone & gross motor delays. Worry overcame and this is me reminding myself to live mindful in the present.
My heart is filled with joy when I see my little girl accomplish tasks that other children her age do seamlessly.
Her tiered dress
burgundy, orange, green
tendrils of locks spun up high
excitement permeates limb to limb
trusting & loving
concern for her sister asleep at home
squinty eyes, bright eyes
What do I know right now about my V? What do I know right now about my Tay?
Mindfulness--being content with this moment. My current happiness isn't dependent upon what will happen tomorrow, or next week. Rather....
...it's the smells--sight--taste--sound--touch
When I stand at my small kitchen counter, with black cutting board & chef knife in hand, I get an opportunity to be mindful. I have but one task (or two when interacting with two girls), which is to slice the onion in half for preparation. Preparation for a medium chop and add to a hot pot. Wield the carrots into my own culinary Lincoln log mirepoix.
Garlic scapes diced. Sauté. Breathe in the earth in the pot, smells sweet and this is the moment I can thank the Sustainer of life I've been given.
A conversation with one of the girls pursues. I chop, turn to look her in the eye, ask a question and listen while I chop more. Sharing life in the preparation.
The meat is added and browns just so. Eyeing while I stir and glancing to the imagination billowing out from the girls. Eyeing the clock before the man bear comes home.
Cooking creates pauses. Pauses for melt downs. Pauses for teaching. Pauses for overcooked veggies while teaching how loving, sweet words are essential to the other sister. Meal preparation can be a chore, but there is so much joy in the sensory explosion. Curving the fingers just so while cutting. Spices melding with fragrance. Simmering of water bubbling. Taste buds awakening to a bit more salt, a splash of red wine vinegar.
The joy is found again at the table in the saying of thanks. Chatter & live demonstration of swimming lessons from early that morning. Two girls under five speaking gratitude, "Mama, this is a good dinner!" Every plate empty, while bellies are nourished. How can I not find joy in that preparing of food? To know I've been given a moment in time to relish in the mindfulness of now. As Jesus said on the mount,
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
It's in these moments where we breathe in the gift of the present, and allow perfect love to cast out the fears of tomorrow. It's why I find joy in meal preparation.