KRISTINA BEERS: The results are worth the effort

As you may know, I am a wife of 20-plus years and my husband and I have five sons. It’s kinda crazy, but it’s so much better than I could ever have guessed. It gets expensive and some months, I have no idea how we squeak through, but we make it.

It also helps that while our finances necessitated me to pick up certain homemaking skills, I found that as I did, I fell in love with both the learning and the joy of my abilities.

I quilt. I sew. I hang out laundry (my absolute favorite). I can fruits and veggies. I cook from scratch. I bake bread. And because of all my hard work and effort, my kids act like they hit the jackpot when they go to a friend’s house and eat “Macaroni and cheese from a box! It just goes in the microwave and comes out done! We should get some!”

Um…that would be no.

Because at some point my cooking and canning went from simple needs to a desire to care for my family with my hands, putting love into every stitch of the needle and stir of the ladle.

I think of the old story about the “special ingredient” grandma had on the back of the stove, the box old and worn with age. The box, on the inside, says “Love.” I took that to heart and do the same: cook with love. It is truly the magic ingredient.

On the flip side, if you are angry or upset, tenderizing meat is about all you should do because otherwise, as the love transfers to the meal, enhancing the taste, so too does anger and resentment; the dinner won’t taste nearly as good and the bread never turns out.

As we approach the holidays, I brace myself because I know there will be many hours spent in the kitchen baking, decorating and many tired nights with an achy back and sore feet.

I always start out with grandness and end with ‘This will do.’  I both truly enjoy making treats for friends and family and dread the long afternoons, but that’s OK.

It’s the times when the boys demolish in 15 minutes what took most of the day to create that makes one wonder how on Earth it could be worth all the effort. But then, in a moment of suspended time, your family sits all around a table, eating, smiling and laughing and there it is — the reason every single frustration is gloriously worth it.

Then someone belches while two more fight over who asked for the gravy first and I am back to my testosterone reality. That’s OK, too, because it’s all a part of life — the ups and downs, the crucifixion and resurrection — the cycle of living a life to the full.

Kristina Beers lives in the Remus area with her husband and five sons. She shares her thoughts on parenting teenagers and young adults on the first and third Saturdays of each month on the Herald Review’s Family and Friends page.