Choosing the Better

Valentine’s Day comes with many traditions in our family. Since the kids were old enough to sit at the kitchen table, there has been a card waiting for them each year on this special day. Most years I also include a special treat in their lunch boxes. And most years, we end the day with a scavenger hunt throughout the house, leading to a stuffed animal or Valentine-themed book. One of my favorite traditions on this day is the Valentine’s breakfast. This consists of heart-shaped pancakes topped with strawberries and bacon or sausage on the side. Although this was easier to pull off when I was only working part time, I have continued this tradition, even as my work load has increased to full time status with Melanie’s Melody.

The alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. and I hit the ground running. Literally. I wanted to get my run in before the busy day began. A 5:45 run would still give me time to shower, dress and prepare the Valentine’s breakfast that the kids were expecting. Well, honestly, that I was expecting.

I have found that I am far more reluctant to deviate from “the plan” than the kids are. I have seen it a gazillion times since I became a mother. I have my own blueprint of what things are going to look like – what they are supposed to look like.  And then, even when I want to be flexible, I find it hard to go with the flow. A change of plans begins to look like failure to me. I realize that this is not healthy, but it is a struggle for me. I suppose it is the perfectionist inside.

As I got out of the shower, the clock revealed that my window of time had shrunk quite a bit. I would still be able to make the pancakes, but I would need to dry my hair and finish my make up while the kids were eating. No big deal. The kids eat alone most mornings as I work in the kitchen, packing lunches, emptying the dishwasher, filling water bottles, etc.

And this is when it hit me. Mary and Martha.

I think about this story from Luke 10 quite a bit. You see, Martha was a real go getter on the domestic front. Mary was more of a contemplative personality. Jesus came to visit and Martha could not pull herself away from the kitchen preparation. Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and be with him. Martha complains to Jesus that Mary will not help her. Jesus responds lovingly, but very clearly. . . Mary has “chosen the better”.

This morning I thought of that story. And I changed the plan.

I finished getting dressed. And I summoned the kids to the kitchen.

“Are you making the pancakes?” Julia asked.

“Nope! We are going to do something different this year!” I pulled out three packages of instant cinnamon raisin oatmeal and popped three pieces of bread into the toaster. “We are going to sit down and eat together!” I sliced bananas on three plates. I took out the heart-shaped cookie cutter intended for the pancakes and cut the toast into the shape instead. The whole process took all of five minutes and no skillet was required!

And then, we sat down together. What followed would have made even Mary clap her hands with delight! We prayed and thanked God for the food. I read 1 Corinthians 13 to the kids from the children’s Bible. I told each child the story of their birth day. They delighted in hearing the details of how little they were and how loved they were, even from their first breaths. As we finished our meal, Julia volunteered to clear the table. Zeke gave me a kiss, unsolicited, and told me he “really, really” loved me. I glanced at the clock. We had time to spare. Julia offered to rub my feet for me. I rubbed Zeke’s feet. Then we all cuddled together on the couch and rubbed each other’s backs. It was a love festival! And it was way better than pancakes.

It was a blissfully happy morning. One that I will not soon forget. And no one was sad about the absence of pancakes. Turns out, they just wanted me.

Today, I chose the better.

And it certainly was.


Category: Uncategorized | 2 comments

  • Pete says:

    I could learn a lesson or two from this. Thank you.

  • You must be logged in to post a comment.