I am fortunate not to have a tall person with both an x and a y chromosome, asking or expecting huge portions of meat and potatoes for dinner. My daughter made dinner for us last week- a totally balanced meal of fruit, carbs, protein, and dairy. The side of carrots carried the raspberry jelly toast and milk to the next level. My son can make an awesome quesadilla for his night to cook, and we get to repeat our favorite Napoleon Dynamite lines during the meal as an extra bonus (“Go make yourself a cheese quesadilla”, “chap stick, just bring me my chap stick!”, and then we go downhilll form there in hysterics).
Nourishment is important. I know that. I am growing little bodies in my home into bigger bodies. So I try to keep protein bars, easy to peel oranges, cheese, apples, peanut butter, and sliced deli meat on hand pretty often.
However, an equally important part of nourishing my kids is allowing them to cook dinner almost regularly, and me being available and relaxed enough at meal times to nourish their souls. As single parents, these soul-nourishing times are sometimes hard create. Time is short, pre-occupations are many. Simultaneously reading mail, paying bills, hearing about the day, helping with homework, policing the computer and video game time, responding to voice mails, AND preparing for dinner does not induce a relaxed atmosphere, even when I finally do sit down to eat.
I choose to trust that my meals may not make it in Julia Child’s world, but they are good enough… Alarms go off in my head with those 2 words “good” and enough” when they are linked together. You and I already know the volumes I could regurgitate about how important it is to know in our guts that we are “good enough parents”. We know from the counselors’ couch time that our “good enoughness” transforms the guilt-ridden, reactive, self-conscious, nervous, over-working, over-tired, no boundaries parent in to the calm(er), more realistic, confident, action-oriented parent. The good enough mom has moments when she is able to breathe and laugh and work and plan and trust that “it will all be ok”. IT WILL BE OK. Believe it. There ARE others, human and divine, who are filling in, pumping up, providing, and nourishing the family dinner table too. We have to just do it- trust ruthlessly that we are doing a good enough job.
In allowing jelly toast and quesadillas for dinner, I am allowing and making room for divine help to come in and be on the parenting team with me, because I am confidently and unashamedly admitting that I cannot and will not provide or do all for my kids that they need in order to grow up as well-fed people. Guess what: two-parent families cannot provide it all either.
The grace will happen quicker when we make room for it by stopping the forced role of soul/sole nourisher of our family. Like Bhanu says, when we relax, it is easier to receive…