Our oldest daughter is nearly 12 (sympathy accepted). She is a lovely girl with a quirky sense of humor and a need for something interesting all the time. She is also the one I butt heads with most often. I've yet to decide if that is because we are exactly the same or complete opposites. We both have the overwhelming need to be right and in charge. You can see how that may be an issue causer right?
This weekend she was sick with a summer cold. The worst kind of cold in my opinion. She wasn't feeling on her game and honestly I wasn't either. We also happen to be milking our neighbors jersey cow. 3 gallons of glorious milk a day is a good and bad thing. A very good and very bad thing. In an attempt to use all this milk I decided to make cheese and butter yesterday.
I usually do these kinds of project cooking times by kicking all the kids outside and plowing through the project. With a sick one who didn't want to stray very far, the kicking out wasn't going to happen. Normally I get really frustrated with kids in the kitchen. My brain works at high speed, always looking 5 steps ahead. The constant kid chatter can drive me crazy and distract me.
Yesterday though was different. Yesterday my daughter and I worked together. We planned, we talked, we laughed, and we took selfies. She enthusiastically helped make butter the old fashioned way with marbles. She was happy to check the cheese temperatures. She wiped up spills and set up supplies. She did it all with a smile on her face, not a single eye roll to be seen. I didn't cringe at the incessant chatter or have to breath deep with the constant invasion of my (very large) personal bubble. We took it in stride. We didn't watch the clock as the hours passed.
A friend once said "The moment you want to pull away from your child is the very moment you want to draw them close and focus on them." There is something in my OCD type A brain that rejects this notion even though my heart tells me it's true. My mom had her own version of this "The child that struggles the most is your favorite. That child will be ever changing because each child goes through struggles."
As we worked side by side with laughter AND smiles I couldn't help but think of their wisdom. Maybe we clash because our natural inclination is to push rather than gather together. Maybe if I did take this advice, maybe she and I would find some common ground that has nothing to do with a battlefield.
Yesterday, my cranky, funny, demanding, headstrong daughter actually got along with her demanding, list driven, introverted mother. The world didn't end, there was no tragedy to propel us in the right direction. All it took was a summer cold and a lot of butter.
I think I will keep cream on hand everyday.
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