Confession: I'm not a cook. Cooking is not therapeutic for me and there are few big meals that I find are worth the clean up. Since going back to work, most of the cooking I do is simply for the survival of my family.
On Thanksgiving break a few months ago, I found a recipe for crockpot spaghetti and meatballs. It called for the homemade meatballs and tomato sauce to simmer together all day and be served over hot pasta. Since my oldest has been asking me to make spaghetti and meatballs, I obliged.
I spent the morning assembling everything and getting it in to the crockpot. My hands were covered in ground beef and my kitchen counters were scattered with emptied tomato cans and garlic peels. Those meatballs simmered all day and I came home that evening to a garlic scented wonderland. While we made the plates and grated the Parmesan, Nathan and I talked about how much food we had and how we should have someone over the next time we make this meal. We sat down at the table and began shoveling in fork fulls of twirled spaghetti. As I sat, I thought out loud about how I should have made a plate and taken it to our neighbor, a single man in his 60s. Without hesitating, our eight year old asked if he could walk some dinner over to our neighbor. He left his dinner plate and trotted across the street with a container of spaghetti and meatballs.
I want to say that my son is so quick to be kind because of the way we are raising him. But I know that's not true. I can't count how many times I've thought of something like taking someone a meal, but have been held back by my own hesitations. "What if they are offended? What if they are gluten free? What if they think I'm a weirdo?" But none of those thoughts crossed my eight year old's mind. All he saw knew was the plenty we had and a neighbor he could share it with. I want to be more like him. When I let my hesitations keep me from acting, I turn things inward. The act becomes more about me than about the other person. I want to have my son's child-like thinking when it comes to sharing with others. Because sometimes, grown ups can complicate even the simplest acts of kindness.