One of my favorite things about weekends is our ability to stretch out into the day a bit more than usual. Weekdays can be frenzied and rushed, a mix of playdates and commitments and the general juggling act of dinner-on-table-in-twenty-minutes-or-less.
This past weekend, we all slowed a bit – pausing for impromptu playground swinging and flushed cheeks and dirty feet. And when the clock struck 4 p.m., I asked Bee if she wanted to come in to help me cook dinner.
“Sit counter?” she asked. (Sitting on the counter is her favorite hobby of the moment.)
“Sit counter, yes!” I said, and she quickly tumbled inside, ready for any activity that would allow her to sit at the counter to interact at eye level with the rest of our little world.
I’d never cooked with Bee, so it was an adventure in multi-tasking and trust, finding safe jobs for her that didn’t involve raw meat or sharp knives or choking hazards. So we settled on sifting flour and pouring water from one bowl to the next and back again – eventually mixing water with flour to create a paste that was far from edible, but entertaining nonetheless.
She sifted and watered and mixed while I cut vegetables and seasoned chicken for the grill, and then we found a pack of bamboo skewers and decided to get creative: drumsticks for her, kabobs for me.
The kitchen was messier and dinner prep took far longer than normal, but it was a memory. It was a moment in the day, an intentional decision to invite her into my life and to create an experience that would perhaps someday become a tradition.
Because soon enough, she won’t need to be propped up on the counter top to meet my gaze. She’ll be standing on her own two legs – tall and teenaged – with little interest in flour or drumsticks or stacking bowls.
But I hope she’ll sit on the counter anyway. I hope she’ll feel at home there, with memories stacked as high as the pots and pans we’ve soiled along the way.