So, since I’m pretty excited about the new blog you’re going to get a second post today. On basically the first thing I did after I stopped playing with the blog…. making and eating dinner. But in all seriousness, dinner along with breakfast has become a pretty serious ritual in our house. This wasn’t always the case. Before the kids, I rarely cooked. I ate mostly sandwiches or microwaved prepacked food. But something about having the kids flipped a switch in us. We started preparing a home-cooked meal and sitting down together to eat. We even got more serious about saying prayers or reading a Psalm or poem before the meal. It was almost like we needed these morning and evening rituals together to get us through the day (to be fair with two kids under two you do need all the prayer and help you can get).
Now to be honest in the beginning it was mainly my husband who did all the cooking, but after I quit my job to stay at home with the children he told me the jig was up and it was my turn now. This was a bold move on his part as he knew my history with flaming potatoes in the microwave and stuck together spaghetti, but I guess sometimes you’ve got to step out in faith. I must have been more doubtful than he was since one of the first things I did in our kitchen was to set my wooden Jesus statue by the stove to encourage me (well that and to prevent me from cussing so much when my cooking took an ugly turn).
Years later things have improved and I actually enjoy cooking our evening meal. There’s something about the chopping and stirring and smelling the food come together that is really soothing to me. Especially on a night like tonight when I’m using the tomatoes we grew out back and garlic given by my sister-in-law. It makes me stop and think about how glad I am that the tomatoes FINALLY just gotten ripe after the mild, rainy spring and how much I like getting food gifts from my brother and sister-in-law’s farm. Sometimes that stopping to think is about half the battle in living a more centered, less crazed life. It takes me from my racing, distracted brain and puts me right in the middle of the moment I’m in and how nice those tomatoes and that garlic smell once they meld together in the pan.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still nights when the kids are fighting, the sauce burn, and bad, angry words slip from my mouth even with Jesus right there watching. But then there are those nights when things just come together. When the food is done the family gathers around the table and we talk about our day, or read a funny comic aloud, or just stare silently out the window at the birds in the feeder. On these nights as the sun sets on our empty dishes I know that we have truly eaten well, even if it was just hotdogs and kraft mac-n-cheese on the menu.
Do you have a favorite meal time ritual that centers you? Or a simple action that turns even ramen into something special and sacred?