It’s Okay, Keep Going
Multi-Tasking in the Kitchen
I’m thirteen years old and sitting at the kitchen table with my friend, Luisa. Opened text books and library books surround us. It’s dark outside and dinner time is fast approaching on a winter weekday afternoon. The smell of baked potatoes in the oven permeates, as my mother begins to prepare tonight’s meal. She hears our intermittent groans and senses our trepidation at the size of the project.
“It’s okay, keep going.”
Her delivery was both soothing and confident. It was calming reassurance without denying the enormity of the work and how we felt. I knew she understood. Even then and years after working as a teacher, my mother said she’d still have the occasional dream of being back at graduate school and would wake up thinking that she had a paper due.
My mother couldn’t take the work away from us. What she could do was stand alongside us and be an encouraging presence. I know it’s hard. You can do it. Making a delicious dinner helped, too.
Patience and Fortitude
Certain days when tiring of her own work or the particular challenge du jour in raising four kids, I’d hear Mom in the kitchen banging pots around and muttering a prayer under her breath, “Give me patience and fortitude, patience and fortitude.”
That was a wise strategy on Mom’s part. She didn’t ask for the difficulty to be removed, just that she’d have whatever she needed to manage it. My sister, Lori, distinctly remembers being the only kid in the class to get the word “fortitude” correct on her vocabulary test!
Now at age 85, Mom still provides calming reassurance to us. She is currently recovering from intestinal surgery and some days are tough, yet she approaches her physical therapy eagerly and like a trooper. It’s our turn to be the encouraging presence.
You Can Do It
Equally important, sometimes you just need to hear a word of encouragement from yourself… that you’re doing well, that it’s okay, and just keep going. Dinner’s in the oven.
Here's to you,