“Can I help you, Mommy?”
That is the question I get almost every time I enter the kitchen to make a meal or dessert. There is a part of me that is elated and another part of me that would rather not bother. If I allow little hands to interfere than my task will take longer and result in a mess only a two year old can make. Too often, I find myself turning down my little helper in waiting while I rush to get the cooking done. I hardly look up when I turn her or her siblings down. Then once I looked up and saw her sweet little face look disappointed. When our eyes met she said, “I just want to help you.”
As a homeschooling mom, I spend almost all waking moments with my children. Due to this I rarely feel guilt if I perform a task alone. Most of the time tasks turn into lessons. Can’t a woman make dinner in peace? Can’t cake batter be cake batter and not an object lesson? Yet, like it or not as a mom my life is an object lesson. How could I see a little sad face walk away when her intention was help? My time is her time as I have charge over her for a short time. I have a 13 year old child, so daily I see the stark difference between little willing hands and bigger hands struggling for independence. This is to my advantage. This is my reminder to redeem the time I have with little hands.
My job is not to rush through tasks. My job is not to get dinner done. My job is not to simply make sure the kids are breathing by the end of the day. My job has purpose and a higher calling. My job is to train a future servant of God. My job is to nurture a future wife and mother. My job is to create a peaceful and beautiful home. So, my job required me to take pause and allow little hands to mix and a little tongue to lick a spoon when she was done. Instead of rushing through a task and being exhausted by its completion or feeling the resentment of it taking time away from another task, I created a memory. I slowed down and enjoyed every bit of chocolate chocolate chip muffin batter that landed on my counter and floor. I had the gift of hearing a little soul laugh and enjoy her time with her mom.
In this spirit, I allowed my other little lovely lady to help out. My oldest can never understand how I allow for the messes her little sisters make. She thinks I am too easy, too whimsical, and too out of order. One day she will see the beauty in the messes little children make. If she never does, I will just be there to allow for such messes (in her home) with my grandchildren.
The muffins were odd shaped and some much bigger than the others. The job of filling the muffin pan was so sloppy that splatters of batter resulted in modern art. Such tiny joys.