Monday, March 8, 2010

Being the Author of Your Family's Story

"My good friend Laura, a brilliant engineer and uber-mom, often has friends over for dinner and always has a spare apron waiting. Her kitchen is filled with beautiful pottery, old Sunset Magazine cookbooks and clippings, and ingenious tools to make cooking fun. Preparing dinner is a group effort at her house, and there's always a snack and a glass of wine to hold while you stir the paella or an interesting bit of news whispered in your ear while you toss a salad. I've found that once i have tied on one of her aprons, it's difficult to feel like anything less than a part of her family." - pg. 23 Heather Ross, Weekend Sewing

I came across this quote today when browsing through the book Weekend Sewing. As I have gotten older it has become more apparent how the need for constant re-invention is part of the female condition. We love to dream, plan, scheme and in general move forward by making improvements. When I read this paragraph my first thought was something like, 'wow I wish I had the time to make people feel like that or to feel like that myself!' Then I reread it and saw that Laura is an engineer and so she, like me, knows the struggle of small amounts of time and lots of responsibilities. I often catch myself thinking 'if i stayed home I would...' - fill in the '...' with silly things like 'make dinner every night' or 'never let the laundry get out of control' ...you know.

The truth is that what I really admire in this paragraph is the description of the atmosphere Laura has created.
Our home is very 50 / 50. Well, I don't take out the trash or mow the lawn and Joseph doesn't really shop for much but you get it - we both work in and out of the home equally. Sometimes this leads me to forget about things that really only I can create, like atmosphere. I, as a woman, have the ability to create a story for our life in a way that simply wouldn't occur to my husband, something I am sure he is grateful for.

This year for me has been about identifying the good stuff and making it 'bigger' in our lives. This blog is part of that - making the good stuff more important. These are the kinds of questions I ask myself:

How will my children remember dinner? Will it be hectic, rushed, un-healthy or will they remember laughing around the table, candles, getting involved in creative meals, great music flipped on in the background. Lighting a candle playing music, or letting your toddler pull a chair up doesn't take any more time really. Eating dinner at a table on the back porch in the summer might be a tad bit more trouble but totally worth it.

How will my children remember our home? Was it a total disaster, were their toys always lost and broken or were there special rooms just for them with all of their things in a perfect special place? Was there always a clean spot to pull out the train or set up an elaborate play house? Or will they remember me always trying to rush around and clean up a huge piled-up messes on my days off?

I try to keep this idea of the 'story' at the top of my mind because you just get one shot here - one shot to be a good parent to your children, a good wife to your husband, a good steward of your own life and for me 'story' and 'atmosphere' matter.

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