I recently invited my husband’s family over for dinner. It was his birthday week, and I wanted to do something for him. We don’t always celebrate the adults’ birthdays in the family. But I was feeling like wanted to celebrate my husband — and create an opportunity for the family to get together.
At the time I extended the invitation, I genuinely thought I had a lot of time. I thought my work was in a good place, the house was in a good place, and I could plan, prep and make a big meal. But life didn’t go that way. And so, I found myself scrambling a bit.
A couple of days before our dinner, I asked my son what dessert we should make daddy for his birthday. “A cake,” my son said.
“What type of cake?” I asked.
He paused for a moment.
My son is observant. While my husband is not much of a sweets person, his dessert preference probably would be cheesecake. But I wasn’t sure I had time to pull that off.
Then, I started describing the food menu to my son. Daddy had asked for steaks. And we’d probably do a salad and some roasted vegetables, perhaps a baked potato bar.
My son leaned forward and said, “Mommy, that sounds like a lot. I think I’m going to need to help you.”
My heart melted. That understanding of how much work goes into preparing a meal typically comes from the other women in my life — my mom, grandma, aunt, best friend. And here was my son, all of 5 years old, recognizing that cooking is a lot of work, and yet, not viewing it as a chore. He saw it as something he wanted to help with.
I often feel like food is my love language … It’s something I can do for others that shows I care. And when my son asks if we’re going to make our Halloween cookies this year and if I can make his special Valentine’s Day chocolates again, it means something to me.
Maybe my son’s love language will be food as well.
Experiences like this conversation with him remind me why we spend time together in the kitchen. And why we show love around food. It’s so he can have a relationship not just with food but with cooking that is positive and joyful. And it’s moments like these that make me think maybe — just maybe —what I’m doing is working.