Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love is a Decision - Part 2

A few weeks ago, I was waiting for my daughter at the barn. She had been there all day in the pouring rain and freezing cold. Three minutes of it was enough for me, then I picked up a broom to sweep the aisleways, simply as a way to keep warm.

Sweeping, vacuuming, and ironing - these three household tasks seem harmless in themselves, but surprisingly often I find they lead to sudden revelations and deep thoughts.

So there I was, vigorously sweeping up dried manure, bits of straw, and plenty of dirt, when my mind went, as it so often does, to the next item on my to-do list for the day.

"Dinner," I thought grimly.

From there I launched into a lightning-fast spiral of grouchiness and resentment, which looked a little something like this.

I fecking hate dinner.
It comes around every day.
Why do I have to do it every day?
Why can't somebody else cook?
It's not as if they appreciate all the work I do.
Why aren't they happy with sandwiches?
I'd be happy with sandwiches.
I fecking hate dinner.
If it was payday, I'd order out.
I haven't even taken anything out of the freezer.
Do I even have anything IN the freezer?
I HATE dinner.
It comes around EVERY DAMNED DAY.
So WHY am I always unprepared for it?!

Nothing new, but this time, since I was sweeping the barn, it all became perfectly clear.

I'm always unprepared because I hate dinner, because I am always unprepared, because I HATE DINNER.

But...that can't be right -- I LOVE, I love, oh I love dinner. I love eating and I'm a good cook.

Wherein lies this paradox? What isn't lining up?

The love.

It's all about the love, folks.

I've got to expand the eating-love backwards to encompass the cooking, prepping and planning, and forwards to encompass the kitchen-cleaning.

By the end of the year, this negative and repetitive part of my thinking will all be in the past. From now on, my goal is to love dinner. And how am I going to get there? By loving dinner.

I love dinner!

I love planning it, making it, eating it and yes, I even love cleaning up after it.

Think of this: cooking is the one area in my home life where I am expected and encouraged to be creative every single day, and where I don't have to feel guilty for spending lots of money on the materials!

Dinner is the only central meal the entire family eats together. Mr HSB is at work long before the girls and I are even awake. Lunch is a scrambled hodgepodge of eat-what-you-can-find-whenever-you-get-hungry. But dinner?

Dinner is the daily main event - the only event - where we are all together and focussed on the same thing.

Here's what I'm NOT doing. I'm not becoming an obsessive meal planner. I'm not resolving to stick to a budget. I'm not vowing never to give my family sandwiches.

Here's what I AM doing.

I'm smiling - physically smiling - whenever I think of the evening meal. "Maybe I'll make that soup again," I think to myself, and then I smile. What makes me smile?

I make me smile.

I just lift my eyebrows and push the corners of my mouth back and smile. And it lifts my mood, and makes me happy, and it won't take long for my whole outlook to change. I'm preparing an answer in my head for when my family asks me "What's for supper?", which is a question that used to make me absolutely furious. And I'm giving myself a break and accepting that frozen corn is a perfectly relevant vegetable that can make my life way easier, rather than being a source of guilt and self-reproach.

And unexpectedly, my life has been flooded with good and yummy things.

Like homemade baguette!

Who needs butter when the winter sun is shining through the kitchen window?

That sounds like a metaphor. Or at least a proverb.

Go! Love your dinner!


Dave Hingsburger said...

Joe and I, as you know, travel a lot. In fact I am writing this from a hotel room. We learned to LOVE the routine tasks of living because we are so often eating restaurant food, and having our choices limited by what someone else offers. We get home and dive into those tasks, because, hey, that's what living is about.

Jeannette said...

OH! As I read this, I wondered how you'd gotten into my head. Oh. I thought I was the only one.
Thank you, Shan. I am hanging onto this post for dear life. I am going to smile, and see if it helps. No, I am going to smile and notice THAT it helps!!
And maybe I can do some of the prep work in advance, so I don't feel overwhelmed when dinnertime is looming.
Thank you, and bless you.

lizbon grav said...

I definitely love dinner, but I must admit I love it a lot more when it's just me, and I don't have to re-cook it every damn day. "Leftovers" is a misnomer. They should be called "Giftovers."

Shan said...

That's the spirit, Jeannette! It's all in our heads, right?

Lizbon, "Giftovers"; I'm with you.