Moments of Joy: February 2015

The “moment of joy” for last month was a laughable moment.

This month it’s more of a tug on this mother’s heart-strings.

two cut lemons and a plate of lemon bar desserts

adapted from photo by Miki’s Kitchen

On a sunny but cold mid-week morning, I am assembling a shopping list in preparation for a trip to the grocery store.  My daughter walks up and says she wants to add items of her own to the list.  I take her dictation:  “lemon juice, cake mix, powdered sugar…”

“What do you need all this for?”  I ask.

“I’m going to make lemon bars.  I found this recipe that looks really good!”

My daughter loves all things lemon, but I don’t remember trying any kind of bars at our house.  “You haven’t made that before have you?”

“No, but they look delicious!”  Then she adds, “I want to make them so I can take them to the neighbors.”

    “Oooo,” I think to myself, “she’s a brave girl wanting to try out a brand new recipe on the neighbors.  She may change her mind about sharing, depending upon how these lemon bars turn out.”

So, off we go to the store to gather all the desired goodies as I wonder why my daughter has decided that the neighbors are suffering from lemon deprivation.

A few days later, my dear daughter gathers the ingredients we had neatly tucked away in the fridge and cabinets and begins to bake her new dessert creation.  With only a few words of guidance solicited from me, she completes her masterpiece and asks me to try a sample.  Pretty tasty!

She arranges a few of the sugary squares onto a paper plate and takes them to the kind, elderly couple who live directly across the street.

    “How sweet of her,” I muse.  “Hmmm…those are quite yummy.  I think I’ll have another taste.”

Time ticks by and the dish of dessert gradually shrinks.

    “Just one more square!  I wonder how good these would taste with ice cream?”

By the time my daughter returns, three more lemon squares have mysteriously disappeared.  I hear a loud voice from the kitchen, “Mom!  What are you doing?!  Stop eating these!  I told you they were for the neighbors!”

“What?” I respond.  “You should have covered those things; they evaporate when you leave them sitting out!  Didn’t you know about that?”

She quickly shoots back, in the classic exasperated-teen tone, “Mo-om!  Leave them alone!  They’re for the neighbors!”

I counter her complaint with, “They taste good!  You said I could have some.”  In a more humble tone, I add, “Ok, I did get a little carried away, but you already took some to the neighbors.  I thought the rest were for us.”

I become privy to what her true plan was all along when she explains, “I wanted to give them as a gift to our other neighbors when I invite them to the preaching next week.”

My eyes light up and my heart swells as I realize that she is speaking about a family who moved into our neighborhood several months ago.  After meeting them a few times and learning about their struggles, my daughter has been concerned about them and has been seeking opportunities to extend a friendly hand.

I proudly smile as my daughter walks out the door, her hands full with another plate of lemon bars and, tucked under her elbow, a sheet of paper outlining the details of several evening bible lessons scheduled for the following weekend.

I’m thrilled to see that my girl can look outside of the all-to-typical, selfish teenage world and take the initiative to reach out to other people.  This is a happy moment, indeed.  Maybe I’m doing some things right in raising this kid…

a cartoon heart with a smiling face on it

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