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The Simple Things

Mommy blogger Janice Croze’s best advice for success as a parent includes this very basic principle: cherish the simple moments in life with your children.

Personal growth is vital to success as a parent.

It was time for our weekly afterschool dash to Jackson’s piano lesson. We arrived two minutes late—par for the course.

Jackson headed to the piano and I pulled the iPhone from my pocket. I didn’t have Olivia with me this afternoon and so, instead of rescuing tulips from an early deflowering while entertaining her in the garden, I was planning to spend the 30 minutes on my inbox.

But as I entered the kitchen, heading to the back of the music room, I stopped to say hello to the teacher’s sister, who was visiting from out of town. She was sitting at the table molding a small piglet out of pink marzipan. Next to her was a collection of colored marzipan wrapped in plastic, a variety of cake decorating tools and a barnyard scene made of marzipan on a cookie sheet.

She and her sister were hosting a celebration in honor of their mother’s 90th birthday, and she was making toppers for the cake. A few weeks earlier, I had noticed their shopping lists and cooking schedule. More than 100 guests were coming, and these kitchen-savvy women were tending to every last detail themselves.

“May I sit?” I asked, drawn to the simplicity of the moment. My deadline-driven, technology-dependent days were in such contrast to this quiet act of building marzipan farm animals.

The knots in my shoulders released a little. I wondered what it would be like to have time to mold marzipan at my kitchen table. I didn’t really think I wanted to try my hand at creating intricate cake decorations, since I have never even made a cake from scratch, but I did long for the stillness.

As she trimmed a paddle for the butter churn she had made, she told me about her mother and her life growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, where they produced everything they ate, even the churned butter.

It made me wonder about my children and our busy modern life. I was so soothed sitting at the table with nothing but molding marzipan on the afternoon agenda. I wanted my children to share that quiet companionship with me. Would they feel more peaceful and more connected to me if I were churning butter, tending a garden and rolling out sugar dough?

I know our days are rushed. And so I consciously try to slow down at different points in the day to just be with my children. Whether it’s stopping to let Olivia pick every dandelion she can find or snuggling with Jackson at bedtime and listening to his stories about school, I want my children to remember just “being” with me.

But maybe I need even more of those moments.

Maybe I need to clear the computers, cameras and paperwork off the kitchen table and spend the afternoon making cake decorations with my children.

Maybe I might even need to make marzipan.


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