Growing up as kids, we did a lot of work with my parents. They owned a family business so it was expected of us to help out. We new a lot about construction, masking, taping, painting and pudding up holes. (Someone might know what I’m talking about) We usually worked all summer long with our parents. I had a few “jobs” before my first official one.
I graduated High School at sixteen, my first out of the family business employment, was at the private school I graduated from. My work consisted mostly of cleaning, making the school lunches, substituting whenever I was needed and anything else that needed to be done around the place. I didn’t really know much about cooking or grocery shopping. Not because I never helped out, but because I never had to actually take responsibility for it and do it on my own. I was always doing what I was told or just there to help out.
So on this first job of mine I needed to go grocery shopping every week and cook lunches every day. I won’t ever forget the day when “grilled cheese and tomato soup” was on the menu.
Mind you these are the days before we had smart phones and google at our fingertips. I was nervous about lunch all that morning, finally when I mustered up enough courage, I went to my employer and asked her how to make the grilled cheese sandwiches and soup that were on the menu. She was shocked at what I had asked and excused herself from the class laughing. She showed me the big can of condensed tomato soup and how to grill the sandwiches. I had to laugh myself at how simple it all was.
It would have been just a normal day for me, if I had any idea how condensed soup worked lol but I didn’t. I asked someone for help with the soup (because I was running late making sandwiches) it was a fellow Russian helper, who also had no idea how the soup works. She just opened the can, poured it into the pot and warmed it up. Finally after lunch was over and we sat down to eat, I couldn’t believe how awful the soup was, it was no wonder that only a handful of kids actually ate theirs. The director also had her lunch super late and when she got her meal she came right in to see us. She asked me how I had made it and informed me, by showing me the label, that I was supposed to add just as much water as soup to the pot. I was ashamed. But that wasn’t the first or the last time I was humiliated, as I was introduced to American food and the way it was prepared.
In our Russian home, mother usually always cooked from scratch with all fresh produce. We never really had anything out of a can. Bread was always served as a side dish and never as a meal, so I had a lot to learn.
I remembered that story today because we just had grilled cheese and tomato soup in hopes of our fall weather staying for the year (I like to make soups and warm meals when the weather is cooler outside). And yes after many years of not ever wanting to ever have grilled cheese sandwiches and soup again, I finally make it. I make my soups usually from scratch with actual tomatoes, it taste way better that way. Anyway I’ve realized that because of incidents like that one and unfortunately many others like it, I’m super devoted to teaching my children independence.
The life lesson I wanted to share with you from all this, comes back to what I journal a lot about and that is, letting go and trusting the Lord. I don’t know about you but I’m always checking my heart to make sure I’m trusting the Lord and not leaning on my own understanding. So many times though when you think you’re on the right track he’ll come and show you a new thing where you’re still holding on and trying to control.
This week I was reminded again to let go and trust, through one of my children. After having a conversation with a friend and encouraging her, to allow her husband to help out around the house or grocery shopping without micromanaging. I realized it was time for me to do the same with my kids in a certain area that I’ve been reluctant to trust them with.
They each trade weeks on doing dishes, which consists of them rinsing, loading and unloading the dish washer every day. I usually follow up after and wash the big things like pots and pans and everything else that I don’t wash in the dish washer. We usually have more for me to wash then they have to load, which is normally fine with me. But lately it has gotten to be very difficult to lean over the sink with my growing belly. I’ve been trying to make it work one handedly and turning from side to side but the effort it takes, usually left me irritated after I was done. Bedtime became a bit more stressful each night and I always seemed to feel very uncomfortable each evening. So after the conversation with my friend I realized, maybe it’s time for me to let go of this area and begin to teach my kids how to do it and trust that they will learn quickly and do it well.
I’m somewhat still in shock at how well that went and how it has even changed the mood in our home. It was my eldest daughters week of dishes, so I told her that from now on, you will have to add on to your dish washing routine the things that I usually do, due to my tummy being too big for me to keep doing it. She wasn’t really thrilled about that. Dishes have been her least favorite of all time. But the rule in our home is that if you complain about your station, you get another week. So she sorta glared at me and said “fine” as she got to work. I left the kitchen and when I came back I was shocked. It looked exactly the way I always leave it. Later that evening when we were making dinner together she asked me if she could always have dishes as her station..? Again I was shocked because this child usually gave me the hardest time about how much she disliked doing dishes. She often tried to trade chores with the others and sneak her way out of doing anything in the kitchen. I thought to myself it’s probably just because it’s the first day, we’ll see as the week goes by, how she will handle everything. Well the week went by and my child has been in the kitchen with me almost every time I’m prepping something, cooking dinner and also shooing me out of the kitchen after dinner, when I’m trying to put things away and help her. She tells me to go sit down and pick my feet up, as she lights a candle, turns some music on and gets to work. I obey and go sit on the couch dumbfounded as to why in the world I waited soo long to trust her. She continued to ask me if she could always have dishes as her station, I agreed to another week. Assuring her that everyone else also needs to learn, how to love helping out in the kitchen.
Who knew that putting the whole responsibility of the kitchen on her would open up a new perspective for her. We’ve had so many wonderful conversations in the kitchen since then. I’m no longer giving out consequences but fully enjoying always walking into a spotless kitchen.
The lesson for me through all of this was, I’m 38 weeks pregnant and up until a week ago was struggling with dishes every night, when all I had to do was hand over the control and trust the process. Yes I had to wash a dish or two because she didn’t put enough soap and scrubbing into it but oh my, one or two in a week is not a whole sink full every night and we all can miss a spot here or there while learning, so it’s absolutely acceptable!
All that of coarse got me to thinking on how the Lord feels the same exact way about us. There are things we hold on to or don’t like and try to do our own way, while he’s patiently waiting on the side. When we finally give up and surrender everything and trust him in the process he takes control and then it’s our turn to watch from the side and wonder “why oh why did it take me so long to finally let go, why did I doubt his ability, his goodness and faithfulness?” Sometimes it’s unintentional but at other times it’s willingly that we hold on. I urge you though to let things go and allow him to do what only he can do. It is always so so worth it.
For those of you with children I also encourage you to trust them, while you teach them the responsibilities of life. My parents taught us a lot about hard work and earning money but when it came to things around the house, my sweet mother spoiled us by doing a lot for us. Some people learn by just being told what to do once, me on the other hand, not like that. I need to be shown how, as well as it being explained and most likely not once but many times. I don’t know why but that’s just how I’m wired. So it could also be that I just wasn’t taught in a way that things would stick with me. I had to learn a lot of basics when I got married at seventeen, things my kids can already easily do themselves. Laundry, simple meals, cleaning, baking etc.. I’m proud of them, they have really stepped up, especially recently with me being due with our fifth baby any day now. It takes work to teach and a lot of patience to not say anything or fix things after them or micromanage. But after some time, it’s absolutely worth it! It’s not always going to get done your way but that’s totally ok, we are all wired differently and unique each in our own way. So as long as it gets done, let them have the freedom of doing it their way. One of my kids likes to be all alone in her zone, the other works best in the evenings, one of them loves for me to be near by so we can work together and talk the whole time and another one of my kids loves to blast music (like super loud) while he works. I’ve learned to go with the flow and I don’t ever regret it! Honestly I feel spoiled and like I’m really actually working myself out of a job.
So as I conclude, trust the Lord with your life and allow him to surprise you with the wonderful things he has in store for you. And the same for those of you with kiddos, trust them and allow them to surprise you with their amazing abilities.
Blessings dear ones!