On Sunday, Lil’ Mo turned 10 years old. She was at her dad’s on the weekend, so although we stopped by his house on Sunday morning for some quick birthday hugs and kisses, we waited until last night to have her officially family birthday celebration at our house.
Our family tradition is that the birthday person gets to choose whatever they want for the meal. Her pick was home made sushi, which I usually only ever make a few times a year. For dessert, we had molten lava cakes and ice cream.
This year I was particularly excited about her birthday gift. I got a spark of inspiration back in January and decided to run with it. In the past year or so, Lil’ Mo has gotten particularly interested in cooking. Thanks to shows like MasterChef, and particularly MasterChef Junior, she has seen some pretty impressive work in the kitchen by others, in many cases by kids her own age and even younger. I’m a decent cook myself, and for the past few months I’ve been doing my best to teach her a few things in the kitchen we have the opportunity. She’s been soaking up all the information like a sponge, and has shown that she definitely has some natural ability there, too.
For her birthday we gave her a chef’s starter kit: A beginner kid’s cookbook, her own set of chef’s knives, pot holders, a cut-resistant glove (she’s nervous to use sharp knives) and her very own genuine chef’s apron with her name embroidered on it.
When she opened up the gift last night she was over the moon. She was particularly impressed with the chef’s apron (“They’re just like the kind they wear on MasterChef!”) and her own cookbook with lots of recipes and cooking information. I don’t remember how many times she thanked me for the gift, and told me, “This is so great because this is something I never would have thought to ask for, but I love it!”
I think a lot about the adults that my daughters will one day become. It’s still a long way off, of course, but I also realize that who they will ultimately become is being shaped and molded by the things that are happening to them now. It’s not my job to try and force my daughters into certain roles; it’s my job to give them the opportunities to explore their interests and figure out for themselves which direction they should go in.
Perhaps Lil’ Mo will grow up to someday become a successful chef. Or maybe she’ll just like to dabble in the kitchen, making delicious meals for her family. Or maybe in a couple of months, she’ll abandon the whole thing altogether. No one really knows. That’s the beauty of life and the exciting thing about being young; life can go in any number of directions. But you can bet your butt that anytime my girls show an interest in giving something a try, I will do my best to support and encourage it. Eventually one of those things is going to lead to their future passion or future career. It’s exciting to think that I will have helped both encourage that, and given her the space to discover it all on her own.
It seems like every single day I am reminded of what a gift motherhood is.