The air smells of freshly baked goodies; on the table sits an ornate, ivory porcelain tray filled with perfectly round chocolate chip cookies. A tall glass of milk stands proudly by each seat.
Little feet walk calmly into the room (after washing their hands, of course) and politely sit down to enjoy our 3 PM snack. We talk about our goals and needs, share insights and inspiration.
I smile to myself as each child waits for his/her sibling to finish talking before sharing their thoughts. No one talks while chewing.
So well behaved!
Everyone finishes up, wipes the table clear of crumbs and goes on their way.
And then I open my eyes.
Pounding, stampeding, shoving and talking loudly, my boisterous crew storms the kitchen, ready for snack.
As fast as only a mom can do, I peel and slice apples; some rectangular, some triangular; some with peels, some without peels; with stems and without stems, all custom ordered. Whoops, it wasn’t rectangular enough. Quick fix and it’s better. Uh oh, still a .01 cm of stem left; my mistake.
Brother #3 pushes brother #4 off his chair and brother #2 knocks sister’s plate on the floor.
Phew, everyone is settled.
And then everyone is talking at once. They share details of their vivid dreams (amazing how brother#4 always has the same dream as brother #1!). They talk about games they invented, crafts they made…I catch every fifth word and nod enthusiastically.
Such excitement! Such energy!Such a great group of active kids!
Forget the porcelain plates. The cookies. The milk.
That was how I thought it would be- before I had kids. Oh boy am I the wiser now!
It took some months (ok, years!) till I discovered that it was me who set the bar of a picture perfect snack time. I was the one who had set the unrealistic expectation!
And since the day that I realized that I was the one who had painted the cookies and milk image, I took the liberty to remodel it.
And while I was at it, I changed the definition of picture perfect too!
I gave up on the impeccable snack time illusion and embraced my reality of “picture perfect.”
And they’re off. Before I could even give out drinks!
Today is not one of the days I’m going to reprimand them for leaving a mess behind. They’re too busy with more important things. There’s a whole world out there for them to explore and I know they’re working on it!
(And I confess, I don’t think they washed their hands before eating. )
3 thoughts on “A Picture Perfect Snack Time”
What a beautiful and insightful view of family interaction. Even better is the message that we can change our vision to fit our reality. I’ve learned that if I don’t expect anything from others, whatever I get is a pleasant surprise. Who said I am here to get? Good stuff.
It is very nicely expressed. I wonder, does it have to be either or? Can’t there be a balance between having some order and allowing kids to explore too? Some order is a good thing, isn’t it? Raising kids to do things b’seder is also important, isn’ t it part of raising healthy mentchlike kids?
Thanks for your comment, I always like to get feedback – please keep it coming! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating running your home as a free for all! My musings are on how to manage when the best plan doesn’t survive contact with reality.