More Than Lemon Bars

The Next Family

By: Joey Uva

Two dads and a little lady baking

We are constantly teaching and learning.   As parents, partners, and families, we all have something to learn and teach each other.

It’s Saturday morning.  Trevor had to work today.  Grace and I are sitting at the dining room table writing down our grocery list.   We’ve planned to do some baking together and decided on Peanut Butter-S’Mores-Turnovers and Cream Cheese Lemon Bars.  We finished up the list and headed to the grocery store.  Grace has the list and pen in hand.  As she reads off the first item, I know that it would be faster if I looked at the list and head to the baking aisle –we could get all that and then move on to the next section.  But I decided not to change Grace’s approach.  I let her read from the list one item at a time, mark each item off once we have found it, and then move to the next.  Grace reads the next item; “Grah… I don’t know this word Papa?”  We’ll sound it out together: Graham… Graham Crackers… “Oh! I like those!” she replies.   We finished up our list, ran a couple more errands, and headed home.

In the kitchen, I unload the groceries and Grace pulls her stepstool up to the counter.  I turn on some music and we begin.   As we go through the recipe and get our ingredients and supplies together, Grace asks many questions; “Why do they call this a ‘whisk’ Papa?”  And, “‘egg wash’!  That sounds funny, why ‘egg wash’?”  I like that she asks these questions.  I like that she is curious and that she wants to know.  I love seeing that ah-ha! look on her beautiful six-year-old face when she gets something for the 1st time.  We finish up the Peanut Butter S’Mores Turnovers and take a break before starting on the Cream Cheese Lemon Bars.

I am not sure at this point if Grace will love cooking as she grows into adulthood, or like grocery shopping, for that matter.  For today, it’s a great way for us to bond, teach, and learn.   I’m teaching her how to cook and follow a recipe.  She’s teaching me how to be patient, how to let go a little, and how to let her follow the list her way.

It’s Sunday afternoon, and Trevor and I need to get dressed for an Oscar Party.  Grace’s mom will be here at 4:30pm to pick her up.  By 4:00pm Trevor is dressed, looking mighty handsome in his grey blazer and stippled shirt; he’s sitting on the couch with Grace.  They are watching some Oscar preshow, Trevor asking Grace which dresses she likes.  I’m finally dressed and come into the living room to get Trevor’s approval. Grace is first to comment. “Out of the men today, I think Papa T wins!”  I guess she prefers his lighter look to my black tuxedo jacket.  Trevor and I smile at each other, and then he leans over and gives her a big hug.  I love that she feels free in expressing herself and knowing that her opinion doesn’t take away from our love for each other.  I hope this is something we are teaching her and something with which she will always feel comfortable.

And, I have to say – The Cream Cheese Lemon Bars were amazing!  We did a good job, Grace!

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