October 13, 2009

After School Fun

Sometimes I feel like I’m living my own childhood from the other side. From the parent side. Which is a good thing because I had an absolutely fabulous childhood. I mean, I’ll never write that “overcoming the horror of my youth” book, but that’s just fine by me. It’s still a little jarring at times to look up from something and realize I’ve seen that before. I’ve seen the little blond pig tailed girl riding on her tall thin dark haired dad’s shoulders on a walk through the woods. I’ve seen the Springer Spaniel curled up by the fire being used as a pillow by the messy haired boy. I’ve seen the child flung out in sleep in the bed my grandfather had made for me. Except this time I’m the one looking on, not the one doing the riding or sleeping or snuggling.

I've been flipping through this book all weekend, a library find that may need to have a permanent home on my bookshelf (no, I wouldn’t steal a library book! Sheesh!).It’s full of fairly basic recipes and lots of photos of children covered in flour or vegetable peelings. When Briton was a baby I wanted to be that mom. Actually before I was even pregnant with him I wanted to be that mom. The mom whose house is where all the kids come to hang out. The mom who with the slightly chaotic but always fun house. Somehow though, the older I get, the more anal I am about a clean house or an orderly, scheduled life. I forget sometimes that cooking with your kids might be a little messy, but it's worth the trouble. Maybe not every night. Some nights I'm lucky to pull a pizza out of the oven. But when it's slow enough, the fun and wonder make up for the chaos.

So yesterday afternoon I spent a good half hour letting Evelyn help me make pasta dough for their after school meal. We measured flour and mushed the eggs in with our fingers and made a huge mess. But it was a ton of fun. Which I feel like I should have known all along. And then when Briton got home we pulled out the pasta roller and rolled the dough till it was almost as thin as paper before cutting it into noodles which they ate with hot melted butter until the pot was totally empty. I sat there watching them slurp noodles at the kitchen island, not even wiling to wait long enough to go sit up to the table and I thought back to all the times I helped my parents roll out pasta dough on the kitchen island of our house in Northern Idaho. We didn’t do it that often, but whenever we did it was like magic to e. I never got tired of cranking the handle, sending in the lumpy, yellow dough over and over until it was smooth, and then once more to cut the noodles.

They helped me chop and peel vegetables to start dinner. Briton read to us while I mashed potatoes for the top of the fish pie, Evie sang me a song while we loaded the dishwasher. It was the best afternoon I’ve had in a long time. And for a few short hours I was the mom I want to be. So I’m making an early New Years Resolution. To be that mom more often. To let my kitchen be a Family kitchen and not just MY kitchen.