There are parts of my former life, the me-before-you parenting edition, that I have more or less patiently let go.
The ability to sleep passed the hour of 6 AM, basically gone. Even when away from children, my internal alarm clock dings bright and early nonetheless. I have very easily made terms with this. I'm a morning person so this one is okay.
Spontaneous late night plans, because we used to have a very wild and crazy life before our children came along in case you didn't know me before (and if you did know me, just play along like you remember me and all that crazy spontaneity.) Now an evening out requires pre-planned sitters and juggling the getting ready hour with the witching hour and still being woken up early the next day making the "spontaneous fun" just leave you with a numbing headache and a child or two to care for.
And then there is dinner. I used to enjoy dinner. While some would talk of the nagging chore that is meal planning and preparing a whole meal after the end of a long day, I looked upon with delight and anticipation. The ritual of chopping and stirring was therapeutic for me. I could feel the stress draining from my chest each day. And sitting down to share this meal was one of my greatest acts of service.
Then along came baby, and this like many of my pre-children rituals should likely have receded into the storage box of former life fulfillment. But it didn't. I wouldn't let it go. And for some time I didn't really need to. While the pressure of a hungry baby turned toddler did add an interesting challenge, I adapted smoothly. And my first child was a delight. She joyfully went off with Dad so I could cook, or at the very least was distractible for a few minutes while I got something in a pan. Come meal time, she was happy to eat her dinner, and when she didn't she would sit between us like the precious first child that she was basking in the unlimited attention as we shared the stories of our day. Before long we would say "gosh would you look at the time, I suppose we ought to be getting you to bed."
As you can predict, I should have seen it coming. Eventually the meal time insanity would surely catch up with me and I would be left behind like all the other parents with crying children and thrown food, vowing to only cook from the freezer for the next ten thousand years. Oh and it did. I'm there. And I'm not handling it well.
Like a fly to a bug zapper or a mouse to a mouse trap or a fish to a fish hook, I just keep going back for more. This time it will be different. This time they will let me cook in peace. This time they will Iike the food. This time we will enjoy one another's company and I will get to eat every last bite of my meal while it is still warm! (Can you hear the rising music of success?)
I have not worked through this one yet. I am defeated nearly every single time. This little part of the former me is hanging on ever so tightly but she is losing. And it is embarrassing how badly she is losing. She needs to let it go like all the other things.
But when a part of your creative expression is slowly being ripped from your hands you feel like you are letting go of your soul. It may sound dramatic (whaaaa? Me being dramatic????) but I just can't seem to make sense of it yet. I'm flailing around as if surprised at every turn that it's not working. It's not honorable tenacity I'm demonstrating but stubborn and bitter hopelessness. That does not look good on me. You might say in the dinner department I am Raising but not yet Shining.
We don't always have things figured out in parenting. If we did, there would be nothing to write about here. So I put this in the category of "work in progress." I gladly welcome any encouraging words of wisdom for making it through this season of my life where dinner is more nightmare than pleasantry. Until I can figure it out and maybe let it go, I am at least celebrating those moments when I do glimpse a bit of the light of the ghost of dinner's past. Today on Hey Sis Try This I speak on this dinner time conundrum and share a meal that may require more attention than the frozen meal you had planned but just might be greeted with a few delighted faces. Because who can cry at Spaghetti and Meatballs, or in this case "Meat"balls? And while I'm working through the stages of grief at the loss of my former dinner loving self, at least I can drown my sorrows in a big bowl of comfort food.
Hope your weekend includes at least one delightful cryless meal, or at least a cocktail during happy hour!