it's true, I am an excellent butter spreader. my best friend is convinced that all people have a secret, under appreciated talent just waiting to be exploited. mine is butter spreading. at mealtimes there is a row of bread beside my plate as everyone waits their turn for me to butter for them, not too thick, without tearing the bread, even when the butter is too cold to spread itself nicely. it is nice to be appreciated.
it took a little reflection to not be stung by cora's assessment of my contribution potential in her class. I am not an ornithologist. there is no fancy title for the work I do. I don't really have a skill set that lends itself to lessons in a preschool classroom. and my day to day work probably isn't super noticeable to a six year old. I've been thinking a lot lately if I am on track or off track. I don't really have a career at this point. I'm hardly writing at all. I haven't gone back to school for that masters degree.
but I keep getting the feeling that my work is broader than I give myself credit for. I was telling a friend the other day that it is easy to feel like having kids has pulled me away from what I've always thought was my calling. I'm not working in foster care or with teenagers these days. but I have a sense of this overarching commitment to hospitality and I'm doing that every day. giving tourists directions in the bakery, hosting epic potlucks at our house, inviting camp friends to come and stay, buttering bread for the masses. I don't know how to present that in a classroom, but I think this work is good and meaningful.
it is easy for me to get bogged down and feel the sting of all the sacrifice required to live this intentional life. having kids means less free time and less pocket money. living in the woods means crummy cell service and long drives to town. eating well takes time and effort and forethought. a balanced marriage means giving up time alone to make time to be connected. all those things are worth it, even taking the sacrifice part into account. my word for 2016 is wide. I just have to step backwards to see the wider view, the bigger calling, the overarching goal. and through that wide lens I see value in butter spreading.
as my final reassurance I would just like to point out that after Cora suggested that Eric come and talk to her class about plants, she giggled and said "or you could teach us about pooting. your really good at that, papa." victory in butter spreading, my friends. at least my hidden talent isn't pooting.