Late last night my son Zach tagged me in a comment he made on Facebook. It was his answer to a picture with a caption asking people to name the food(s) they thought their grandma cooked better than anyone else. Here is his comment: Granny Great’s rolls and wilted lettuce. Best in the world. Am I right, Darla Noble?
Zach was referencing my Granny (his great-grandmother). Granny was known for many things—including the fact that she was an amazing cook. It wasn’t just the fact that she was a great cook, but it was why she was a great cook. You could literally taste the love and care that went into everything she cooked even though she did it all so effortlessly. It was just part of what made her…Granny. While I was replying to Zach’s comment I was giggling because for some reason just a day or two prior to this I had randomly recalled another memory about Zach, Granny, and her cooking…
As soon as we got to church every Sunday the kids ran straight to Granny. On this particular Sunday Granny said she’d cooked a pot of chicken and dumplings for lunch and asked if we wanted to come eat with her. Of course we said yes. Now in our family, if you have chicken and dumplings you have mashed potatoes to go with them. But when Granny went to peel the potatoes she discovered the potatoes were bad—all except two. What to do? She had a small box of instant potatoes she used for thickening soup, so she just added some of them to the two potatoes to make enough for everyone. No big deal, right? WRONG!
Zach, who was ten or eleven years old at the time, happened to pass through the kitchen just in time to see Granny mixing the instant potatoes into the real ones. He couldn’t believe his eyes! His Granny Great, the absolute best cook in the whole world…the Granny who loved us more than anything was feeding him “fake potatoes”! What was the world coming to? His reaction was a mixture of shock, disbelief, and yes, even disappointment. It actually took Granny a few minutes to explain what she was doing and why and to assure him that she was still the same Granny he knew and loved. Zach knew that Granny’s cooking skills was only one of the ways Granny expressed her love for us, but it was also one of her best ways. So when she ‘cheated’ he took it personally.
I’m happy to report that by the end of the day we were all laughing about it, and that night at Bible study she and Zach even shared the story with our friends at church. I’m also happy to report that Zach and Granny laughed and smiled about a lot of other things for several years to come—including him making her a great-great grandma twice before she passed away.
So what do instant mashed potatoes and cooking skills have to do with parenting?
We all have one or two things we do that stand out to our children and grandchildren—things we do (or say) that they view as expressions of our love for them. And we have a responsibility to make sure we don’t disappoint our loved ones by giving them cause to think our actions are anything less than genuine and sincere.
If you asked your children what they associate your love with, what would they say?
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.