From Balance to Collaboration

I can’t believe it’s January 31st already! This month went by so quickly, maybe because we’re in the middle of a lot of big projects at work. Or maybe I’m just getting old, and time really does speed up?

I can’t say that after a month of focusing on family meals, we’ve reached any type of expert-status in the way we cook and eat at our house. It’s still a process. B. cried tonight while I was cooking, because S. wouldn’t share his Legos and play dough. The salmon and risotto were both too spicy. The kids ate  chicken fingers dipped in ketchup instead. It was a 2-star night.

But, we sat together. We talked and we laughed. We’ve gotten into the habit, and it’s good.

The biggest thing that I learned this month was that my word isn’t just balance – it’s also collaboration. When I was originally thinking about balance, I was ultimately focused on my self – what I had to do, to make our life work better.

When meal prep wasn’t going well, it was usually because I hadn’t stopped and asked for help. Everyone in this house is completely willing and able to help, but sometimes I almost unconsciously pushed help away. Like I was trying to prove that I could be some type of Wonder Woman. But I can’t be -and I shouldn’t be – because ultimately everyone suffers from my inability to collaborate. I think I’ve gotten better at it this month, and now it’s becoming a habit. Fortunately, I have the chance to keep practicing, every day.

Collaboration reminds me that I’m not in this alone – that balance can keep expanding out, influencing a wider circle- me and my husband as a team, our kids, our extended family, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors.

Although we’re moving to a new project tomorrow, I have a feeling that collaboration will continue to be a theme that we explore.

If you’ve been focusing on family meals this month, what have you discovered about your self? What have you changed? What has stayed the same?

 

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2 thoughts on “From Balance to Collaboration

  1. I’ve definitely been more attentive to my habits and preferences and choices and longings
    .
    I felt bereft that we don’t have any traditions that we observe. And how do you start a tradition? By definition it has to be from the past. A recent tradition is having my sisters and brother in law for Thanksgiving dinner and weekend. That works.

    Check out this article from today’s NYT:.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/dining/a-mother-lets-her-sons-do-the-cooking.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

    The kids are 10 and 16 and each makes dinner (mostly) on his own once a week.

    And this one:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/dining/kitchen-tools-for-the-younger-chefs.html?ref=todayspaper

    • But I don’t think that traditions have to be these giant, elaborate get-togethers. I would guess that you and Larry do have traditions, they’re just more subtle. When I used to visit you in Boise I loved the tradition of taking a picnic meal to the Shakespeare Festival 🙂 You also always made the best lattes each morning, bought the best whole wheat bread and honey I’ve ever tasted, and made pasta salads that I still think about. I know that the traditions change and evolve, but I bet if you thought about it, you could chart out some of your food traditions that have lasted.

      I can’t wait to read those two articles – thank you!

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