Each Thursday Reese returns from school with two library books in her backpack. For the past few weeks she's selected cookbooks. She loves cookbooks. She pours over the pages, lingers over the pictures, and announces we've got to try that! whenever she finds a recipe that looks especially enticing. Or a recipe that insists on mixing the ingredients with your hands.
I'm not creative or elaborate in the kitchen. If I could secure outside help to complete any one of my regular domestic duties, I'd bypass assistance with cleaning or laundry without a second thought and instead select a personal chef to prepare our dinners.
Yet, Reese is my daughter. The other week her school held a large fundraiser where gift baskets were raffled. Reese wagered all five of her tickets on one basket that was heaped full of baking supplies: cookie sheets, cupcake trays, measuring cups, dish towels, and boxed cake and brownie mixes.
She won. Our dining room table is littered with the contraband.
The only explanation for this might reside in the fact that I've always invited the girls to help me in the kitchen, especially when I'm baking. As they stand on chairs at the kitchen island, they measure ingredients, pour, and stir. Reese has begun cracking eggs without getting any bits of shell into the bowl. Their involvement slows down the preparation, of course. They jostle for position and occasionally fight over the mixing duties, but as we're all gathered in the kitchen I sense we're making more than a meal or a dessert.
I'm definitely making memories, and I just might be making a little chef.
She's a beautiful mystery to me.
Our children contain parts of us, yet they're so much more. They're products of nature and nurture, such interesting amalgamations of personality and preferences. I marvel when I read her teacher's words on her progress report: "Reese clearly has a strong math mind. She amazes us sometimes with her math fluency and speed in figuring out problems in her head."
She gets this from her father, I know, and yet I marvel. She amazes me, too. Our little girl: a lover of cookbooks and fluent thinker at math. What else is hidden in there? What other talents are under the surface that will rise to the top?
I can't wait to see.