It was the only time playing with my food was acceptable. In fact, I thought it was the right way – the only way – to eat scrambled eggs–
Pressing the tines of my fork into the center of the curdled mound until eggs squished through the rows and formed a respectable bite.
I don't know if my father ever actually instructed me to eat them this way, but it was the way he did it and I was dutiful ducking. I don't remember how it came to be. Just that It Be.
Same thing with grits, I followed his way; a generous dollop of butter and bacon pan-fried crisp then crumbled and stirred in.
I don't know how old I was when I discovered that not everyone ate eggs and grits the same way we did. I have vague recollection of cutting my eggs with the side of my fork and scooping up a bite so I wouldn't look stupid or silly to the people I was with. I didn't want to get in trouble (or be questioned) or insult my friend's mom for playing with my food. But they didn't taste nearly as good.
Now almost six years past his death, I still think about Daddy every time I eat scrambled eggs and grits. I squish the eggs with my fork and don't give a damn who's looking or what they think. I make or ask for bacon extra crisp so I can crumble it into my grits. If it's not on the menu, I feel cheated; they're never as good, no matter how much butter or cheese or salt and pepper I add.
It's an oddity, these things we pick up from our parents without realizing it. I wonder what else I say or do that mimes my parents. Having lost Mama when I was only nine, is there anything I do like she did? There's no one around to tell me.
And my own children, what have they picked up that I haven't intentionally taught them? Someone years ago asked me how I "got my kids to have such good manners" and I explained, for me, using good manners was like breathing…natural…an extension of who I was. I didn't demand they use Please and Thank You; I Pleased and Thank Youed and they were my ducklings.
Someone recently noticed and told me my son walked like my husband. There are words and ways of my husband that I've seen in his father. My daughter, now 20, has found herself recycling some of the things I say before she even realizes what's coming out of her mouth. She'll think (or sometimes even say out loud), "That wasn't me…that was Robin Dance…."
Knowing the powerful, lifelong influence we can have over a person's life is…
Opportunity to be who we hope our children will be…
Sobering to realize they might "catch" the worst of who we are…
Blessing to see a piece of me, a legacy of sorts, living through the next generation…
When you're living a moment, there's no way of knowing for sure it's going to be one you remember 10 or 20 or 30 years from now; and you sure can't predict what will be significant enough for your children to remember.
There are things important I want to press into my children, to make sure they know or understand or believe.
The truth of Romans 8:28, that all things eventually work together for good…
That Jesus invites their honesty and can handle their doubts (Mark 9:23, 24)
That the will of God begins with loving him and loving others….
That life isn't fair and this world is fleeting and their choices now have earthly consequence but matter throughout eternity….
It doesn't matter what I've said to them about such things, really; but have I lived them so they know and understand and believe…?
I wonder if they've ever noticed how I eat bacon and eggs.
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Kelly at Love Well Blog read this post and thought it would be a perfect piece for the Parent 'hood, a weekly blog round-up of all things parenting. Who am I to tell her no? Be sure to click the image and you'll find a collection of wise and warm words from other parents sharing their stories and perspective.