Yesterday at the Jeub home we celebrated a birthday. Isaiah, the oldest of the kids still living at home, turned 19. It was expected that he get breakfast in bed and be presented with his gifts. Then he got to choose the birthday dinner and desert. He chose Chinese food including egg rolls and wontons and egg drop soup with rootbeer floats for desert. I was inclined to order out, but Bernie wanted home-made. A new Bernie has emerged since retirement. He really likes to cook. The challenge has been for me to keep him from dragging me into the kitchen with him. While I don’t mind putting on a decent meal, I hate the mess and expense of gourmet cooking. In recent years, I am even losing interest in the former. So yesterday I found several ways to extricate myself from the kitchen. I took a much needed nap and then took a few of the kids to the library. Bernie worked with some of the olders making the egg rolls, wontons and soup. He loved it and I loved not being in the kitchen.
In my son’s home, it is common for the littlest kids to have a hand in the food preparation. I know this is good parenting…I really do…but I have never had the patience for it. When my kids were little, I tended to take care of the kitchen food prep myself. Having the help of the littles seemed like too much extra work to me. As a result, they had to figure cooking out for themselves when they left. We baked cookies together…when I was in the mood. I am not proud of this aspect of my parenting but I am not ashamed either. I think there were some redeeming qualities and I did other things with my kids that I hope they appreciate today. Parents are all different.
I was dragged into the kitchen to make a stir fry dish to be the main dish. I had already served stir fry since I’d been her but, this time I added extra green pepper and canned chunk pineapple, but I still relied on frozen mixed vegetables and bottled Teriyaki sauce. Asian food is just to fussy for me to make it from scratch. No one complained.
At the end of the day, everyone seemed to think the food was great. The level of dirty dishes was off the charts (another reason I resist scratch cooking). I ended up doing the dishes because I felt sorry for anyone else doing so many messy dishes including just about every pot in the house. I would rather do dishes than cook, by the way. But I would much rather do laundry than do dishes.
Most importantly, Isaiah liked his birthday dinner. When it came time for the rootbeer floats, we realized that the icecream Micah had reported seeing in the freezer was really an icecream carton filled with leftovers, so he and Bernie went out into the night to get ice cream. Meanwhile the birthday boy/man realized he could not find his wallet. He did some serious searching with no success. We know what this means with Bernie and I the only ones in a house full of socially engaged children with licenses. My plan today after the kids get up is to order a serious search…and cleaning is the best way to do a serious search, right? Last night I offered an unspecified reward for anyone who finds Isaiah’s wallet…Bernie added, “To be determined by how much money is in Isaiah’s wallet when it is found.” And the finding of the wallet was among the prayer petitions before the kids bedded down. my faith is rather weak. I hope the kids are more spiritually enlightened than myself.
We keep reading about Chris and Wendy in Australia. I am especially pleased that I have yet to see any serious home-sickness for mom and dad. Once in a while a kids will say they miss them. I like to think they are comfortable with grandpa and grandma, but I know they are a comfort to one another, too. I see the older kids helping the younger all the time and the peers engaging one another in play.
The dawn has arrived; Bernie is up chatting with 6-year-old Zech who has consistently been the earliest riser among the kids. The day of half-way has begun.