Sunday, February 28, 2010


I realized something when I opened my fridge this afternoon.
This is going to sound strange, so just hang tight and go with me for a sec...
First off, let's make something clear...
I am not much of a cook.
Although substantially improved by earnest effort in recent years,
I am still definitely not much to write home about.
When I do bother, I typically make things that require little or no technical effort.
We eat a lot of fresh stuff that requires no actual cooking.
Salads, veggie trays, fruit plates, etc.
And I usually, purposely, make huge amounts so that we can share
or even just eat it for several days in a row ourselves.
(Lazy... I know.)
So today's revelation came as a bit of a surprise.
As I rummaged the shelves for something to throw together, it hit me...
As it turns out,
I do not like Leftovers.
In fact, I think I might even hate them.
Aside from being a pain to store,
nothing ever tastes quite as good as when it is freshly prepared.
It's always a little too soggy.
A little wilted or a tad brown around the edges.
A bit crusty on top.
Or just a little thicker than it should be.
You know how they are.
Not quite the same, but good enough, we say.
And so much easier!
I serve them to my family all the time!
In fact, sadly, maybe more often than not.
And I don't mean just for dinner, either!
Which brings me to my point...
How often in life am I giving those that matter most, my Leftovers?
These boys, who are my heart and soul,
often get whatever is '"Left-over" of me
whenever I think I am done with the rest of my commitments.
They get the little blob of energy that's left of me, after running around all day.
A cold slab of minimal effort, because I just want to be done already.
The crumbs that are left of my patience.
(Well, any that haven't already crumbled from dealing with other people's children.)
And if they are really lucky,
I might even top it off with the tiny little dollup of fun that I might actually have left.
But more often than they deserve,
they get the frantic, task-oriented Drill-Sargent Mom who is running short on time.
Or the exhausted, Do-It-Yourself Mom who is ready to collapse.
Even, occasionally, the grumpy, short-tempered, ornery Mom who is at my wits' end.
They get a signature on their homework slip for reading a story to me
while I made a mental grocery shopping list.
They get a "Woo-hoo" from me in the kitchen, amid the dinner preparations
when they play perfectly through their piano piece, all the way over in the Music Room.
They get a smile and an "Mmm, hmmm" when they show me their latest cool Wii maneuver,
Or tell me about the awesome play they ran in the football game at recess that day.
Neither of which, if quizzed, I could describe 30 seconds later.
They get a half-hearted high-five when they tell me their chores are done.
A two minute back tickle at bedtime, so I can rush to a set of photos that need editing.
Or a quick kiss goodnight as I run out the door for a Ladies' Night Out.
How often am I half-listening?
Looking past them?
Talking at them?
Or even in the same room, but far, far away in my thoughts?
All Leftovers...
I am serving them Leftovers.
Spending the majority of myself elsewhere
and then giving the little bit that's left, to them, as if it is enough.
I'm there, always, but am I really there?
I'm going through motherhood's motions, making mental lists.
Always the lists.
Planning ahead to the next thing.
The To Do's that can never be all the way done.
You know them...
The cyclical routines that fill our days.
Well, Matt told me of an incident that was his.
It occurred when I called him from the hospital that wondrous day.
Sobbed into the receiver that I needed him to come.
That Bronson was awake.
He ran to his truck and sped the 45 minute drive, as fast as he could safely get there.
But when he started his engine, there was a CD playing.
It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing.
"Glory to God on High."
He sobbed.
The next song that came on was a Men's Chorus
"Rise up, oh men of God,
Be done with lesser things..."
He sobbed harder.
Said it struck him through the core.
He arrived at the hospital, still shaking.
As I think of that now, I realize that this is the time.
The time for me, as well, to be done with lesser things.
The time to focus on what is most important.
Most lasting. Most eternal.
More than ever before.
Not the good things.
Or even the better things.
But the best things.
The very best things.
As you approach the center of a bullseye,
the margin for possible error becomes more and more narrow.
The degree of accuracy necessary becomes more and more pointed.
We are approaching that bullseye, my friends.
At an ever-increasing rate.
I, for one, am consciously re-committing to be done with lesser things.
To stop serving the Leftovers of myself to my family.
But instead to be fresh, ready and more present in the present.
Ready for them with a Feast.