Joseph made dinner last night. It was a requirement for his foods class at school. He had to include an appetizer, main dish, side dish, beverage, and dessert. All the food groups needed to be represented. At least one of those items needed to be made from a recipe. The rest could be packages that were prepackaged. He also had to set the table and clean-up the dishes afterward.
He opted for Black Bean Quesadillas because he likes the beans and we hadn't had them in awhile. He also opted for broccoli as his side dish because it's one of the few green foods he'll tolerate. Chips and salsa was the appetizer (but really, what family do you know that serves an appetizer before dinner?!), water the beverage and applesauce cake the dessert. I don't buy many prepackaged anythings, so he got to be an over achiever and have two made-from-scratch recipes.
A friend came home with him to do homework and then they played on the computer for a little bit. He didn't say anything about dinner, so at 4:30 I asked when he'd like to get started. He made the cake first, so it would have time to cool before we ate it. While it baked, I went and picked whatever was ready from the garden. Lucky Joseph, not only were his recipes made from scratch, several of the ingredients came from his backyard and were started from seeds. Doesn't get much more "scratch" than that! We had cantaloupe that didn't look totally ripe, but the vines were dying, so I brought two of them in and they were added to the menu.
Shortly before the cake was done he chopped the green pepper and made the insides of the quesadillas. The cake came out of the oven, and he put the quesadillas together and put them into the oven. Then he chopped up the broccoli and put it in a pan, then sliced the cantaloupe (too ripe, but we'll try again next year). He flipped the quesadillas once, set the table, removed the quesadillas from the oven, dished everything onto plates, and called everyone to dinner. After we said the prayer, he looked down at his plate and said, "It's weird to sit here and know how much work went into my dinner."
That comment made me think. We don't eat overly fancy or complicated meals. Our kids are not ignorant of the ways of the kitchen. They make their own breakfasts and lunches. All of them could fry an egg in elementary school better than I could when I left for college. They used to help make dinner every night (years ago, now) before evening schedules got to be too crazy. They even still like to come in and help sometimes while I'm finishing things up. I guess they've all gotten used to the fact that dinner is dinner and it's something we eat every night. It's just always there. It was good for Joseph to be reminded what all goes in to making it be there.
After dinner, Joseph got up to wash dishes. We almost never have frosting on our cakes because one, it's an easy way to cut down on fat and sugar, and two, by the time I actually get around to it, it's to late or I'm too tired. We had talked previously about frosting the cake and he thought he'd like it. I asked Joseph about it again on his way to the sink. He asked, "Do I have to make it?" I replied, "Yes." He looked right at me and said, "No." The other four kids piped up with, "Yea, we should have frosting" and "Why can't we have frosting?" Only the one doing the work could really decide between what was a want and what was a need.
I wondered, how many things do I completely overlook in my assumptions that they'll always be there? I don't think much about the cars until one of them ends up in the shop for something or other. The water is always just a handle turn away, until it's not working. Electricity- at my fingertips until a truck takes out a power line. 2,000 square feet is a minimum for living space until you find that your family being together is most important and that can happen in 700 square feet just as well. There's always going to be another full moon, fall leaf, or blooming flower until something happens and my eyes don't work right. A walk to school is no big deal until my knee is in a brace and even walking to the bathroom is out of the question. My Grandma has always been here, but she's nearing 90. That won't last forever. A loving family is always there and willing to forgive my faults, but that may not always be the case. An illness, disaster, or hurtful comments or actions could take it all away- and sometimes without much notice.
This morning I realized, "Wow, it's weird to sit here and think how much work goes into my happy life- and I don't do but the tiniest little bit of it." Most of the things that I take for granted in my life are here by someone else's work. I pay the electric bill, but their technicians keep the juice flowing. I pay the house payment, but I don't earn the money nor did I build the house. I can plant flowers, observe stars, or call Grandmas. I chose to marry my sweet husband and gave birth to my children, but it's not me that keeps any of them here, growing and blessing my life. The one who really does all the work makes much better decisions on what's needful and what's wanted in my life. He knows much better than I what I need. I have been blessed beyond measure- and with much more frosting than I could have ever hoped.