Over lunch recently with my daughter, her husband, four of my grandchildren and their great grandmother, we spoke about the importance of food and fun. I shared with the great grandmother — whom we now call “GG” — how much I love cooking with my grandchildren from the time they can sit up in a high chair. She marveled at that in the same way my children do.
What can be more fun than teaching grandchildren how to read, measure, stir, clean and eat good? I just can’t think of a thing. Not only is it fun to do, but it is a way to connect, have great conversation, and share memories.
So, as we are talking Myles says, “Nana, I want you to bake me an apple pie.” This is followed up by Maya, who says, “Nana, I want to bake a chocolate chocolate cake, and Ayden adds, “Nana I want an apple pie and brownies.”
Yes, yes, yes we can do that.
So the next week I planned a big dinner to welcome my nephew from Nashville who was here working on assignment. Of course he asked for chocolate chocolate cake, and I love to bake apple pie and peach cobbler. So the desserts were decided upon.
I don’t know about you, but my mom’s kitchen was the convening place for food, conversation both light-hearted and deep, preparing great meals, and her place of peace. Yes, some of that has rubbed off on me. I love being in the kitchen preparing food for family and friends.
On Wednesday evening, I picked up Myles and Maya to go shopping so we could get all of the ingredients. As we are riding to the store, Maya and I discussed what she needed for the cake. Myles, who dislikes going to any store unless we are picking something up specifically for him, grumbled and let me know how much he didn’t want to go.
The more Maya and I talked, the more silent Myles became, letting us know he wasn’t feeling this. Finally Myles says, “So Nana, what am I, dirt?”
I asked what he meant. Myles responded with, “You’re not talking to me. You are only talking to Maya.” Ouch! That was a jolt!
Immediately I began to laugh and then apologize. In my focusing on Maya and the chocolate chocolate cake, I had completely left Myles out of the conversation as if he weren’t in the car. Lesson learned for me. It took me back to a place that I have sat in.
Have you ever been invited to the table professionally and assumed you were invited because you were valued and would add to the conversation and the decision-making that will take place, only to realize that even if you added something to the conversation there was momentary silence with few eyes turned toward you and the conversation started again as if you hadn’t said a word?
Yes, that is where I went. I spent the remainder of the evening carefully, intentionally and respectfully asking questions and inviting Myles and Maya into what would prove to be a memory-making baking extravaganza.
Yes, I shifted my conversation to be inclusive, respectful and inviting. Setting the stage for my grandchildren has to build them up and reflect what they should expect when they contribute to large conversations. Building them up starts at home, and that evening it began in my car.
Remember, “Every day is a do-over.” I am grateful to have a grandson who has the courage to express himself. For me, I was given a gift of grace to have been nudged by Myles calling me out due to my behavior.
I hope you realize, “Every day is a do-over.” What do you recognize as a do-over?
Bob-e Simpson Epps has spent 40+ years leaning into life’s issues personally and professionally. She shares a revival of spirit, great hope and passion with others who have faced many of the same issues. She welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her blog at http://msbobe.wordpress.com.