Friends of ours used to always say, as a harsh reality check, “People make choices.”
Yup we do. But not always.
Marc and I made a choice to try and have a child. We didn’t choose who the child would be. Or how her heart would be. But yup, we made choices.
We chose to move to the Gulf Islands, where food is a bit more expensive, but houses are cheaper. Ferries are inconvenient but there are no Walmarts. We made choices.
We also try very hard to make conscious choices about how we move through our day, with Gabrielle, with each other, in the spaces we occupy. We try to remain mindful and simple in our day to day. We try not to add unneeded stress to our lives. We try to be small. For me, being small in stature already, this isn’t so hard. But it does take practise.
So I try to teach Gabrielle where are food comes from. And how to make good food. I try to involve her as much as possible as we move through our chores.
She doesn’t need much encouraging right now to join us in the garden. We answer her questions (a million times) and we ask her questions about what she sees. We show her which plants are weeds, which plants are babies and cannot be disturbed. We invite her to imagine the garden as her jungle. Of course toddlers take very little time to imagine and own what is before them.
We say, these green balls will turn yellow and grow and then turn red and we can eat them. And she sees the processes. Mixing dough, letting it rise, punching it down, letting it rise and bake and then we get to eat it all up! She is learning the process of these tomatoes. She asks if when she is a big girl they will be ready, we tell her we hope they are ready before she is much bigger. We say this to echo both our longing for her not to grow up too quickly. And also to teach her about days and weeks.
Even though she squishes the parsnips a little when she helps harvest the radishes, even though she spills flour everywhere when she helps bake bread. Even though it is a messy thing teaching a little one. Even though it doubles the time needed for a single chore, we slow down and let her learn. Because these choices we make, to bring her along with us on what we deem important, this is what life is about!