Isley had a birthday last week and her big sister gave her the most thoughtful gift. The gift of her time, and not just quality time, but baking time.
Since we have been in isolation during the pandemic, having limited contact with friends and family, it has been very hard on my littlest. She has tried to adjust. She had tap and ballet via Zoom. She had co-op via Zoom. She has had church via YouTube streaming. It has been such a dramatic shift for her, for someone who loves and craves in-person interaction. We have had to keep distance between our neighbor, Anna, and their two children. Isley used to play with them often, seeing them outside, running to play with them only now, they have to yell across the yard and stand away from each other; but at least there is some interaction. This really has been tough for our munchkin.
Fast forward to her birthday (there will be another post about that day) and the gift she receives was both in a box and on the phone. Keira asked to be on the phone when she opened the gift. During the call, Isley received both an apron and a cook book, Isley was excited to just have Keira on the phone. Keira then announced on Monday, August 3rd, she wanted to have a cooking session with just her and her little sister! Isley was so happy. This was such a touching moment for me as I know how much Isley longs to spend time with her sister and how much she loves cooking too. Isley was given the choice of any recipe in the book and she chose cupcakes, who doesn’t want cupcakes?
Today was the day. Tatana and I set up the kitchen as best we could, Tatana did the cleaning and I set up the technology (I got the easier part of that bargain). The call came in while I was in a meeting for work and Tatana has to take Jonah to an allergy appointment. This plays into the self expression and self confidence that Isley gained because she had no help from her parents and really had to rely on her big sister over the interwebs (yes I said interwebs). Isley, for the first time had to preheat the oven, I did not know she did not know how to do that, sorry Isley. She had to learn how to make buttermilk with lemon juice. She even let me help her put the pans in the oven, since she has not learned how to do that yet and “did not want to burn off my face,” according to her.
Every step was guided by her big sister, advice was shared, not just cooking advice either. This was such an awesome time and precious gift from Keira. I came upstairs once the call was over to assist in the scooping of the mix into the muffin liners. Although that was short lived because, “Daddy, I can do this,” was announced. Isley took a yearlong cooking classes in her co-op, thank you Mrs. Kim, so I knew she could do it, but I just like helping. I was allowed to put the liners into the muffin pan and put the pans in the oven, I was also allowed to wash the dishes, measuring spoons, and mixing bowl so they can get ready for making the buttercream frosting.
While the cakes were cooking, the two sisters sat and talked about life, kittens, fun, school, and anything else that came up. My heart as so full as I overheard some of the conversation while not trying to interfere at all. Tatana came home while the cupcakes were cooling just in time to assist with the frosting. Seeing my three ladies spending this precious time together was so fulfilling as a father and husband. Cooking together really helps us emotionally and mentally, and physically, once we eat the food we cooked. The passing on of ideas and tricks, the experiences of falling cupcakes, adding salt instead of sugar, realizing the mixer did not get all of the flour; all of these things are challenges that you must adapt to and things you will need to overcome and work through together. (Those did not happen today, I’m just reflecting on the learning side of cooking.)
In the end, there were some beautiful and tasty cupcakes. But even more, there were two sisters and a mom who were able to share some precious moments together. Oh the name, Kisley? Isley decided that was the name she wanted to put on her Zoom screen to signify the two of them spending time together.
Take some time to reflect on how you give time to your family, and to your friends. Take some of that time and spend it with others, even over long distances. It means so much that you spend that time with them.