I am a control freak. There. I said it. Sometimes I can be difficult to be around because I believe there is one way to do things…..my way. One of the purposes of trying to cultivate a new attitude through new experiences this year is to help me focus on what is important rather than killing myself with details. And the details are often where I focus when people are doing things in a way differently than I would. This is often a source of tension and stress for me.
My sons and husband often face the brunt of my controlling ways. What’s even worse is when I can see their way of doing things will not result in success. I want to jump in, take over, show them the errors of their ways, and prove my way is best. “I’m doing it for them,” I’ll say to myself. But I know the truth. It’s not about them, and my way isn’t always best.
I am learning that even when a mistake is in the immediate future, it’s not always a bad thing. We learn from mistakes and failures. And as much as I’d like to protect my children and family from mistakes, I would not be doing them any favors if I stepped in every time.
It sounds like a simple lesson. It sounds so easy to do. But every ounce of my being tries to revolt against it. So tonight’s first….allow my son to prepare dinner with NO input from me unless asked. My son loves to cook and bake. It is his desire to go to culinary school and be a chef. He is creative and loves food. Most times he is in the kitchen, we end up upset with each other because I want to come in and “fix” him and his “mistakes”, but I’m learning they aren’t mistakes. They just happen to be his variations.
Tonight he made spaghetti and meatballs. He’s made spaghetti and meat sauce before, but this was his first attempt at meatballs. I tried to stay out of the kitchen, but out of the corner of my eye I could see him lacking something to bind the meatballs. I bit my lip. I watched him have the heat too high. I gripped the bottom of my chair. But I did not speak.
He asked for my help on a couple of occasions and I provided limited help in those situations such as moving things in the pan and turning down the heat, but otherwise I remained a silent bystander.
He finished preparing and plated our meal. We sat to eat. I could see his smile of satisfaction as we enjoyed his dinner prepared with love for us. The lesson I learned today: often my attempts to “help” are about me and my need for control. Additionally, by trying to “fix” other’s attempts, I can suck the joy right out of them and their gifts of love. I don’t want to be that person. This is another first that will not be a last.