Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Savory Tomato Cobbler with Cheddar Biscuits...and trying to grow up before the teens do










"It's hard.  It's so darned hard. It's so crazy hard...this life we stumble through".  I was tossing and turning late last night trying to put decisions, hopes, and dreams into muddy perspective.  My mind resembled that of concrete highway lanes twisting and bending with some thoughts exiting, others thoughts merging, and still more streaking over three lanes of highway nonsensically plunging into last minute decision making.

Would I prefer to go back then to the difficulty and stress of raising little ones again as opposed to the difficulty and stress of raising teens?  

Didn't I lament the sleepless nights, the skinned knees, the clutter of toys, and the constant "no's" and "absolutely nots"?  Patience was always elusive for me and never around when I reached for it, like a balloon that you grasp but know that as your fingers brush against the thin wispy string, it was too late to hold on...and it floated lazily up into the sky.





I look to the right.  I look to the left.  The examples that I wish for in life to give me guidance, or help, or reassurance are not there.  So, like so many others making it through this life, I stumble on, seeking wisdom, love, acceptance, and grace wherever I can find it.

Why am I tossing and turning late at night?  Why do the bevy of thoughts leave me swinging from intense happiness to intense fear...from intense satisfaction to intense yearning.  I  have so much to say, so many thoughts to work through, so many emotions to unleash that I could fill the pages of this blog "thyme" with dish after dish of food that symbolizes my onslaught of creative energy, nervous energy, and enthusiastic energy.  

Whereas the  morals and values we work to instill in our children are seeded when they are young little tots and the teachings center around helping others, being kind to others, and showing respect for others...the real tough teaching I think begins now...the teen years.  

This is the tough stuff.  This is the time of parenting that leaves both parent and child open to vulnerability, pain, but also intense love, compassion, and nurturing.  Sometimes that range can exist all in the span of one tiny day...from morning 'til night.






Mannerly discussions, heated debates, thought provoking queries, and perplexing exchanges dominate our family time at the supper table.  Politics. Religion. Global Affairs. Science. History...interplay within our household conversations whether it be forming an opinion about a commercial on T.V. or remarking on an act by a stranger at the grocery store.   As parents, all of a sudden it seems like we are supposed to have all the answers to the perplexing problems of the world.  

Do I have answers?  I had answers about how to tie shoes, how to skip rope, and why to say please and thank you.  

Now, I grapple with the weight of the level of questions being asked.  I grapple with the example that I am setting on ages that are 10 times more impressionable than at younger ages.  I grapple with the fact that I am so flawed and inconsistent that I must consistently face responsibility for this flub or that blunder.

Wait...since when again did I become an adult?  Is there an "opt out" button that I can press?  

Being parents of little ones feels like an entirely different definition than being parents of the big kids.  I often wish I could be the one seeking  answers to the very questions that are being posed with feverish frequency and deliberation to us as parents.






Many families lay down belief systems for their children.  From young ages, they are assured and instructed in the right way of thinking on this issue and that issue in a range of passed down teachings that are traditional, historical, and unshakable.  We have taken an entirely different path with our kids.  We tell them we hold no answers, it's o.k. to seek  answers, and many times we live with unknowns and misunderstandings.

Watching the shell of innocence that protects young children from the horrors of this world crack its exterior of protection and reveal so much of what most parents work so hard to screen, protect, and shield in youth is an experience of being a parent that is draining at times and so fulfilling at others.  

I love the questions and debates going on in our house.

I fear the questions and debates going on in our house.

I toss and turn at night because of the questions and debates going on in our house.

We ranged in discussions this week from the terror inflicted on the early colonial town of Salem, Massachusetts during the "witch trials" to the absolute exhausting quest to understand the boundaries, if any, to our rights concerning freedom of speech in this country. Good stuff.  Good debates. But, oh so  draining at the same time.






Sometimes, my kids ask why should they entertain programs or opinions that fly in the face of their own personal beliefs and opinions?  I tell them that no one should have absolute beliefs and opinions shaped and solidified at their ages. I tell them that an entire lifetime of listening, watching, and examining life is the only way to understand the mysteries of why things happen the way they do, why people behave the way they do, and why events transpire the way they do.






It is so challenging as parents to resist lining up neat little answers to issues ranging from politics to social and economic issues.  It is so tempting to make their lives easier by defining their beliefs for them and giving them patent answers to pass along with scripted words.  

The true challenge for me is to sit back, shelve my own opinions high up on the top shelf, and let these young minds exercise their newly acquired teenage freedom of speech that is bulging with new ideas that are ready to be tested against this world.


















Free speech.  The press.  Public school systems.  Government gridlock.  Gay rights. Abortion restrictions. Gun Control.  Natural resource management. International sactions.  

Heavy stuff.  

What happened to "Teletubbies" and "Doris the Explorer"?  I was really good at that sort of lineup.  I swear it was just yesterday I was pulling my hair out with concern over whether or not my child should be quicker at math flash cards or is ready to cross the street by himself.






Most days, it isn't the  "what" of what I am saying in our more mature conversations but the "how" of what I am saying as I struggle to walk that fine line between parent, teacher, and friend to my kids.

Tone.  Darned tone.  That is what is keeping me up late at night tossing and turning.  These conversations about weighty matters of the world, love, and life need tones of maturity and respect.  

If conversations get too heated, I just want to stomp around and call it quits...declare it "bedtime" or say "you're grounded" ... something that lets me squirm out of the adult realm of respectful behavior and hide away in an emotional filled angst.










But, those days are gone.  Poof, I tell you. That is how it feels.  One day "Teletubbies", the next...Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" or Ken Burns' "The Holocaust".

Exhausting.  Thrilling.  Unnerving.  Fantastic.  

These emotions range from morning til night sometimes.  I am learning at the same pace as my kids right now.  Growing up doesn't only happen for the teens in the family but those teens push us as parents to move from our own immature beings into ones better equipped for this adult world.

Who would have thought the most growth we have done would happen during the teen years of our own kids' teen years?  Crazy, but true. Because it's future relationships that are on the line.  The future of "us" as a family is on the line if we as parents don't grow up at the pace of our kids.  

I want to continue cooking meals like this "Savory Tomato Cobbler with Cheddar Biscuits" and have my family come around, sort out their thoughts about the world, query their observations of events, shout out their passions about happenings...

All while tucking into meals that embody love, understanding, and tolerance of who they are as budding individuals in this crazy, wonderful world where kids are sometimes much more mature than their silly childlike parents.  

I've got to get some sleep tonight.  Or better yet, maybe I should get a box of those little "teddy grahams", hunt through the channels until I land on "Franklin" or "Magic School Bus".  Oh, remember "Magic School Bus....













29 comments:

  1. A wonderful idea and dish! This cobbler must be really scrumptious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. My oh my, what a wonderful post! You are such a great example for your children, you should have no worries!

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  3. First, I still love teddy grahams. Second, my heart goes out to you! You share your experience as a parent so beautifully here. The tomato cobbler and cheddar biscuits are making my mouth water!

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    1. Teddy Grahams were a favorite here. It's funny how children get nostalgic for things from their childhood and parents get nostalgic for things from their children's childhood too!!

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  4. I'm in love with tomatoes right now, and lucky for me, I can enjoy the season while we're here in the States.
    Your cheddar biscuits with these sweet tomatoes sound divine!

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    1. Great fun following you along and seeing how you snap photos in the U.S.!! That brioche dish was crazy good!

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  5. Perhaps cooking helps to relieve your stress and anxiety a bit? I know it does for me at times. I turn up my favorite music and just get lost in the rhythm of chopping and making just good food. :-)

    Also, even though the US isn't perfect, at least we have freedom of speech, improvement in gay rights, and journalists that aren't imprisoned for everything they write. In Turkey, where I last lived, it seems like the country is going backwards and there are very few rights like this.

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    1. Joy, that is so very sad to hear about Turkey. We were just there in May, right before the riots, and we were incredibly shocked and what happened in the city. That is how I discovered your blog and enjoyed all of your insights into Istanbul. Really enjoying your stories of living in Poland.

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  6. My daughter, Skylar, turns 17 this month...I can relate to this post...completely! Cannot wait to try the recipe! InJoy!

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    1. What a beautiful name...Skylar...It's such a fine line of parenting, friendship, cheerleader, and guide...

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  7. When I hear parents of young children saying that they just can't wait for their kids to be more grow up and independent,I urge them to enjoy these days. Real world problems, decisions and dilemmas will be on their doorstep before they know it. I am finding that being the parent of a young adult, who is struggling to find his way, is the hardest role I've had to date. I'm just doing the best that I can.

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    1. Exactly Tracy...but we only understand it with time, don't we? No wonder people fawn all over babies and toddlers the older they get. When do you see such innocence and sweetness knowing that they will only learn more and more about the world's good and bad after those ages.

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  8. I can just imagine what my mothr was thinking when I was a teenager, I wasn't a calm one, that's for sure :)

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    1. It's amazing how we all gain perspective and look back at our younger selves as if it were a different person altogether!

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  9. Great post, so much content and photos!

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  10. Awesome. I'm going through a massive tomato craze at the moment so will try this. Love it. Very cool recipe.

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    1. Always a challenge at this time of year to keep up with the quantity of tomatoes being produced. Such a good dilemma!

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  11. The joys of parenting...We raise our children to take their journey. We can only step back and watch. Life is good.

    Velva

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    1. I love the words that you wrote. So inspirational. I do have moments when I just sit back and breathe while they work out their own life decisions. It truly is a wonderful part of parenting.

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  12. I always remember my mom saying small children, small problems, big children, bigger problems. The journey is theirs to take, because you gave them the freedom to grow and have their own opinions.

    Love your tomato cobbler! My tomatoes are just coming in now. I’ll have to give this one a try.

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    1. Terrific words from your mom. I get nothing but curious, tickled, worried, and proud when I watch their life unfolding independently of me.

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  13. SArah, I think the kids you are raising this way will be much better off when their time comes and step into this world as adults.Much more aware of everything. And you are paying the price with sleepless night now but worth it:)
    Since there is no hard set belief system in our household as well, we always wonder how we would raise a kid. At this point,we are having the "talk" of do we want one or not, and I know we will have similar struggles. Oh well... It is the journey, not the destination :)

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    1. Oh my!! you are having "the talk"! You realize it's not longer after "the talk" before you hear the pitter patter of little feet.

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  14. Dora the Explorer is the best way for kids to learn Spanish! haha I'm not even quite sure what it is you made, all I know is I need to try it asap. It looks delicious and in a lighter way comforting with the biscuits with the sweet taste of tomatoes. Thank you for sharing this.

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  15. This was a very touching post! And I never thought to make a cobbler like that! So good :)

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  16. Your insight into your children is wonderful. Yes, we as moms feel every physical and emotional and spiritual struggle our kids feel. We want to help and make eveything better just like when they were young. But as they grow up we can't. And that is the beautiful part of your post. You seem to understand the concept of grace.This is huge. As our kids work through life and mature and succeed they need our grace more than our nurturing. Our unconditional love. You have this now where it's taken me until my oldest children are 22 and 24 to really get it. Thank you!

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  17. Your cobbler looks great :) I don't have any parenting tips, though...

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  18. It's hard to see your children grow up. I'm sure you're a great mother and with your cooking, you'll always have them coming to the table for dinner.

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  19. You are very skilled, I will try to do. Surely my husband will be pleased

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