You may remember my previous post for Thanksgiving week about living above the fray in regards to the petty issues of life. I spoke about relationships in general, but more specifically about discord within families that so easily can occur during the holiday season. I mentioned that, in the past, with my own family in particular, Thanksgiving get-togethers were not always entirely pleasant. But, I did also relay the positive progress my family has made in our family interactions as a result of our commitment to U Love.
In general, all this is true; however, this last Thanksgiving was another story. In hindsight, it seems as if God was giving us a little reminder that we still have some progress to make in mastering this U Love concept. We’re certainly by no means perfect at it yet, as you’ll soon see from my upcoming saga! Unfortunately, my story from this recent Thanksgiving precisely illustrates my point. It’s easy to fall into family holiday conflict. Here’s this year’s catastrophe.
Before I begin my story, I must mention that I have my mom’s full permission to write about this incident. If you’re guessing that my mom was involved with the U Love blunder I’m about to describe, then you’re one-hundred percent right. In my mom’s defense though, she was not in tip-top shape to handle any kind of fiasco this Thanksgiving. She was not feeling well the night before, nor the day of Thanksgiving; although she is doing much better, now. “Mom, I’m glad you’re feeling better!
And, so, my tale begins. The fateful day started with me taking over the helm of the cooking because my mom was feeling sick. I’ve never had the honor of completely overseeing the entire Thanksgiving meal on my own before, so this added more pressure to the occasion. (Even so, this turned out to be an unexpectedly rewarding experience for me.) Next, as I had my hands full preparing my famous sweet-potato bake, my mom tried to help me out by basting the turkey, which only led to a sudden grease fire in our oven (not on my watch, I might add). Oy. The fire turned out to be minor, and was easily squelched. Nevertheless, this only added turbulence to the already highly, stressful day.
With tension already running high, the time of day came about for my dad to prepare the one dish he cooks every Thanksgiving….. the stuffing. Now, you have to understand, having my dad even walk into the kitchen, let alone cook there, adds a whole new level of anxiety for my mom. This is because my mom runs a tight kitchen. She has certain ways she likes things to be done, strict procedures to adhere to. And, my dad, shall we say, has “trouble” sticking to these practices.
In reality, my Dad doesn’t oppose the system on purpose; he just has a different mindset about kitchen strategy from my mom. The end result is that when my dad cooks, things seem to always happen in the kitchen that don’t really bother him, but cause major stress for my mom. Over the years, this has been an ongoing disagreement between my parents; but, has improved by leaps and bounds since our devotion to U Love has ensued. Yet, in tense times, this kitchen clash still likes to rear its ugly head. And, boy, did it ever do so this time. As a side note, I’m beyond overjoyed that I had nothing to do with the debacle this go round.
To continue, my dad was in the middle of preparing his famous stuffing, with my mom hovering over him, watching his every move, for fear he would do one of his typical “mishaps” so common to him in the kitchen. However, at one point, my mom had to step away from dad with her attention turning towards something else. Taking her eyes off my father for that instant ended up being a colossal mistake. Because, in the one minute my mom looked elsewhere, a cooking disaster of unimaginable magnitude arose. I guess with my parents past kitchen history, it was inevitable.
Between you and me, I don’t know how my dad managed to accomplish this cooking calamity in a matter of seconds. He seems to have a knack for doing these things, much to my mom’s chagrin. Apparently, my dad was carrying from the stove to the opposite counter, an enormous bowl filled with piping, hot chicken broth that he wanted to pour into the stuffing. Somehow, he carelessly flung the pot around in such a manner that the chicken broth spewed out of the pot, and landed EVERYWHERE……and, I mean, EVERYWHERE.
Chicken broth splattered all over the counters, the floors, and inside the drawers and cabinets, which were filled with utensils and other cooking items. They were all now drenched in the hot liquid. In the aftermath, broth steadily dripped down the inside and outside of the cabinets, just like rain drizzling down the windows after a major storm. I have no clue how that chicken broth slithered its way into so many spots in the kitchen, but it did. Need I say more? The kitchen was a mess!
You have to understand that one of the primary kitchen rules my mom has constantly communicated to my dad is to keep all drawers and cabinets closed at all times while cooking, just in case this type of accident happens. Yet, in typical fashion for my dad, he forgot this rule. Most of the drawers in the kitchen were wide open, just waiting to receive the sopping, wet mess. In the split-second after the disaster occurred, my dad stopped still in his tracks, cooking pot held mid-air, with his eyes and mouth popping wide open. My dad is no dummy. He knew exactly what the ramifications for this disastrous infraction would be.
Hearing something amiss, my mom immediately spun around from checking things out in the oven, only to be greeted with a chicken broth covered kitchen. Most everything was completely wet, inside and out. She gasped in disbelief, eyes darting in panic from one spot to another. There was one painful second of silence…..one excruciating moment of stillness, with only the fury of the impending explosion becoming evident upon her face. And, then……….BAM! She just LOST IT! To be honest, I really don’t blame her. The kitchen was a mess!
You could tell from my mom’s demeanor that she had wanted to hold back all the anxiety of the day. After all, she usually tries to put U Love into practice. Unfortunately, the events of this particular day had been building towards this climax; and, my mom is only human. After all the prior incidents, this was the drop that spilled the barrel for her. She was past the point of keeping silent on the matter. For the sake of her privacy, I’m not going to go into the details of the choice words my mom blasted my dad with for the next several minutes; but, let’s just say, U Love was nowhere in the mix.
My dad, however, was not innocent in all of this, either. U Love would have called him to take extra care during his time in the kitchen, and to be as respectful as possible of my mom’s kitchen requests. This would have been the kind, selfless thing to do. It would certainly have helped to bring calmness into what was already a stressful day. Unfortunately, both parents fell into old, careless habits in the weakness of the moment. Sadly, U Love was forgotten for the time being.
In my opinion, the worst part was the fact that all the cooking had to be halted in order to clean up the enormous chicken broth mess. And, guess who ended up having to do a lot of the cleaning? You guessed it…… yours truly. My mom was so annoyed with my dad that she said she never wanted him to cook in our kitchen again. (This command has since been amended; you may be glad to know). My dad was swiftly banished from the kitchen area. Mom and I spent the next hour pulling apart practically the entire kitchen, and tediously cleaning out every nook and cranny. That was so much fun (I say sarcastically).
The cooking hiatus that became necessary due to the spill disaster didn’t bode well for the preparation of our food, which was halted mid-stream. Yet, somehow, our Thanksgiving meal ended up tasting quite delicious when we sat down at the table to partake of it. That was a blessing in and of itself. Even better, though, was what took place between my parents soon after the chicken broth calamity occurred.
You see, because my parents have been so drenched in U Love as of late, once they cooled down from the heat of the argument, they were able to come back to their U Love senses. My parents came together, admitted their faults to one another, apologized, forgave each other, and made up in love. I have to say I was quite the proud daughter at that moment. They beautifully exemplified how to turn an unpleasant situation (even after it has already exploded) right around into a love-nest of kindness, mercy, and compassion. In the end, this proves that they are, indeed, steadily making progress in the area of U Love after all.
I think we can all take a lesson in how my parents handled the aftermath of this situation. Obviously, it would be best not to let things progress to a destructive point in the first place. But, if situations happen to get out of hand, which will happen from time to time since we’re imperfect, we have a lovely picture of how to get things right back on track with each other. This is a direct result of having God’s unconditional love in our lives. Thanks mom and dad! You guys are a real U Love example!!
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