On the Power of Cooking!

Last week, I was sharing with my daughter that I was working on coming up with a precious moment theme for the next article. She said, ‘Mom, why don’t you write about our family gatherings? What you have is what we all want.”

My intellectual response was, “Huh?”

“Mom, take Sunday dinner. You invited us and we all came: your kids and their kids. It’s what we parents are all hoping for, that our kids will want to come home. Mom, you do this all the time and do not even think about it. What could be more precious than all of us wanting to come home and you being surrounded by your loved ones? Plus it just means so much to us. You make that happen!”

“Oh,” I answered softly. I guess I’ve taken it for granted. I invite, I cook, and voila, there it is:  a big family get-together! I have often thought to myself, Ah the power of cooking! But I know better. I remember a line under a poster when I was a young mom. It was something like a graphic of an open palm and the caption was, “Set them free and they will return.”  I took that to heart.  I have always avoided using guilt as a motivator. There was never the “command appearance” request some families employ.  They all knew they were free to accept or decline, no consequences. Maybe that’s why they are happy to come over, even if it is just pizza. They seem to love to be in each other’s company. Yes I have taken that for granted, but Julie was not finished with me.

“Mom, I have only two friends I can think of who enjoy this constant flow of family interaction and frequent family dinners. You should be proud that you have created something where we all want to come home.”

“Oh.”

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That conversation got me to thinking how easy it is to take things for granted, to not notice what is timeless and wonderful right under our noses. I cherish this family time. Take last Sunday, they arrived before 4 and left after 8. It was a magical few hours as the children played Marco Polo in the pool and the teens and adults talked non-stop. We all sat around enjoying dinner as we marinated ourselves in each other’s company. As the queen of being “in the moment” I think I was so in it, clearly, I did not even stop to reflect on it!

I thank my daughter for that reminder. Sometimes the best is right there in front of us.  Perhaps Art Buchwald was right when he said, “The best things in life aren’t things!”  Is there something special in your life right now that you might not have noticed? I would love to hear about it. I mean it.

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Donna Friess
Author and psychologist Donna L. Friess, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in Communications Studies at Cypress College in Orange County, CA. Donna has been a social activist for children’s rights. She facilitates a “Loss of a Loved One” support group and is an active professional speaker.
Donna Friess

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