Activated - - NEWS - By Joyce Sut­tin Joyce Sut­tin is a teacher and writer and lives in San An­to­nio, USA.

You can hear me bang­ing pots in the kitchen. Slam­ming doors and rat­tling glass­ware, I hastily put away the dishes. Clang­ing loudly, I slam the iron pot on the stove. Mom is in the kitchen and ev­ery­one knows to stay away un­til I am done.

Of course, I will be done quickly. I learned a long time ago that the key to get­ting a job done that you don’t par­tic­u­larly care for is to do it fast. So I speed through the jobs, know­ing a lit­tle noise is worth it to “Git ’er done!”

There are times when I put a lot of ef­fort into my cui­sine. I plan for days, study­ing recipes, writ­ing lists and gather­ing in­gre­di­ents. Ev­ery­thing that can be made ahead of time is com­pleted and placed in pretty serv­ing bowls. But reg­u­lar meals are not like that! On any nor­mal night, I could win awards for get­ting a meal on the ta­ble in record time. Step back! I’m com­ing through!

Nat­u­rally, I have a few dis­as­ters. Bro­ken dishes or burned fin­gers are not un­com­mon. Bruised feel­ings either. “Could you just wait a minute un­til I’m done here?” I snarl through a fake smile. And I’m se­ri­ous. I will be done in a minute—if ev­ery­body will just leave me alone and get out of my way.

I have din­ner done on time. I have a clean kitchen. I serve nu­tri­tious food. But some­thing is miss­ing and needs to be at­tended to.

When my kids were lit­tle, I had a record player and a col­lec­tion of clas­si­cal records in the kitchen. Be­ing a work­ing mom with a large fam­ily to or­ga­nize and feed, I al­ways had a lot on my mind. The clas­si­cal mu­sic helped me slow down and lifted my spir­its as I pre­pared the food. I would put out a plate of raw veg­eta­bles or a salad, and if some hun­gry preschooler ap­peared at the kitchen door un­able to wait an­other minute, I would tell them to help them­selves to the veg­gies.

Per­haps I should work on my work habits. I am prob­a­bly miss­ing mo­ments that I re­ally would en­joy. Even if din­ner is a few min­utes late and the kitchen isn’t per­fect, I re­ally should slow down and en­joy the aro­mas of the food as it cooks. Maybe I should even ac­cept an of­fer of oth­ers’ help, and we could laugh and re­lax to­gether.

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