From the moment my daughter was born (if not before), I looked forward to sharing with her my love for food and cooking. Over the past three years it has been a joy to witness her growing enthusiasm for trying new things and exploring various cuisines - whether out on the town or in our own kitchen. At home we have encouraged her to take an active role in preparing meals: stirring batter as soon as her little fingers could grip the wooden spoon and measuring ingredients when her hands became steady enough to hold the measure. We have added steadily to her skill set over the years, and she is now a fully contributing member of our culinary team. The dexterity of three-year-old hands, however, ensures every project includes plenty of spills, drips, and smears.
While I like to think I have mellowed with age, I remain fastidious about keeping things clean and tidy - especially in the kitchen. And my little apple hasn't fallen far from the tree in this regard... If a bit of sugar spills on the counter, she wants to brush it off. If water drips on the floor, she insists on grabbing a towel to mop it up. And if a measuring spoon has been used to measure a single ingredient, she is adamant about replacing or washing it before moving to the next step. These tendencies fall somewhere between amusing and adorable, but it prolongs the duration of our kitchen adventures and leaves us with piles upon piles of dishes...
After such an experience last week, I found myself mildly annoyed to be standing with my hands in the kitchen sink yet again. As I stopped to consider the day, however, the discontent disappeared. Yes - it had taken two hours to make muffins, and we had washed every measuring cup, spoon, and bowl at least twice. But I had spent the entire morning sharing something I love to do with a daughter whose very existence is a miracle...
It is easy to get sidetracked by minor inconveniences and forget they are a small and unavoidable part of a much larger and richer experience. If we instead step back to look at the full picture, we can find beauty in even the most mundane tasks. Next time you find yourself bemoaning the mud, celebrate the rain for which you prayed.
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