Yesterday evening was another interesting evening in the kitchen of our house.
Our half a duplex is fairly spacious – 4 bedrooms, 2 toilets – and a decent rent. But with seven of us, it still makes for tight quarters. We can’t use a bedroom for an office, because we need it for a bedroom. So, my little office consists of a tiny little desk with my laptop and a bulletin board on the wall in front of me as I sit on a tiny little desk chair. This “office” occupies a corner of the dining area of the kitchen. Making do with what you got is something I’m an expert in – up until a month ago, I didn’t even have a desk; my laptop and everything sat on a corner of our large kitchen table.
So, needless to say, I’m in my kitchen a lot and it’s not because I’m baking. Well, some baking goes on.
My recently turned 13-year-old, whom I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs as my 12-year-old, does the dishes as his chore in the house. So, every evening, he’s in the kitchen.
Now, I try not to spend my evenings in my “office” because I want to spend them with the kids and my husband. Monday nights, however, are a bit of an exception. My husband likes to watch wrestling and I really do not. So, Monday nights you will sometimes find me doing less than constructive things on my computer while my husband dominates the television in the living room (love ya, babe ;)).
So Monday nights, I’m often in the kitchen too.
My 13-year-old is a lot like me when I was his age (I think) or at least like I was when I was little. I always had a curious mind when I was little and I’m sure I peppered my parents with questions about everything around me.
“Why is the sky blue?”
“Why is the grass green?”
“Can you explain the molecular basis of deoxyribonucleic acid structure and the significance of its mutation?”
Ah, the questions of children. And when they’re little you can get away with pat answers to the questions that are beyond the average Joe’s field of knowledge:
“Because it reflects the ocean.”
“Because God made it that way.”
My middle son has always had a very sharp mind. And that can be difficult when mom’s once-sharp-mind has dulled to a butter knife edge.
My son has always assaulted me with questions whenever there was some time to kill, like when we’re driving to his doctor’s office across town, and as he gets older his questions get more and more sophisticated. What’s more is he hasn’t quite approached that parents-are-completely-stupid stage of adolescence, and he’ll ask questions that require a psychic ability or the use of the force to answer – I wish I could think of one of those questions right now – expecting me to have an answer.
But now I get those questions on a pretty regular basis, since he’s in the kitchen when I am and it’s not just on our quarterly trips to the doctor. And now that he’s in junior high, he’s asking lots of political questions. Politics – not my strong suit.
But, I have to admit, I enjoy our little meetings in the kitchen. He spent a lot of his last year of elementary school very sullen and angry. And now he’s engaging me in conversation. Definitely an improvement.
Even though this racking of my brain is making me a little dizzy. 😉
Meeting your kids where they’re at is important. I often feel like I failed my son last year. I couldn’t think of a way to engage him – and it’s hard to engage someone who’s simmering in hostility. We sought some help for him during that time – help that really didn’t seem terribly helpful to me.
I am certain that the changes there have been in my son are attributed completely to God. I’m sure there are positive changes in me as a result of God and changes in my son, even though he hasn’t accepted Christ as his Savior yet, as a result of a lot of prayer on my part and I’m sure on the part of others (like his youth pastor and grandparents).
I love my son more than anything and I hope I’ve let him know that – saying it has never been easy for me, but I’m trying to change that (though saying “I love you” to teenagers, especially when you never said it much before, is difficult because you won’t get the response you’d like). I’m proud of how he’s grown.
I hope we’ll keep meeting in the kitchen.