I’m digging through drawers at my parents’ house, looking for stole-me-downs [(n.) stuff you take home from your parents’ house], and I’ve come across a pile of old papers and photographs. They are valuable the way a foreign currency is valuable – only to the person who comes from the same place. The place is my childhood, a country of one. I’m the only traveler who would look at these and think I had found something worth keeping.
There are letters I wrote to my mom from camp, newspaper clippings of a diatribe I wrote to the Editor in high school, yellowed pictures of a school play. I found things I drew when I was daydreaming. It’s all wrapped in a dust sarcophagus that makes me sneeze.
So much goes into the making of an adult. In this country, typically tens of thousands of dollars of expense, schooling, training, coaching, discipline. If the ingredients of a recipe cost this much and the cooking took this long, you would expect an extraordinary meal. You kind of think most adults should be marvelous instead of mundane. Maybe we are. Maybe we are simply so surrounded by one another that we take each other for granted.
I’m mixing a couple of recipes of my own. We take pictures of them with Gramma and Grampa, which will in this generation will never yellow. They will go in a digital file somewhere, numbered, and be forgotten for a generation. They will not make anyone sneeze when they’re discovered.
There are certain key ingredients. Today I took them to church. At the lunch table, we talk about the faith. We talk about what Jesus thinks and what the Bible says. We talk about what it means to be good. In my room, I’ve found notes from the first Bible study I joined in college. Someone made sure that was part of my recipe along the way. I’m making it the most important part of theirs.
To me, the recipe is worth every penny. If I accomplish nothing else, I hope that my children are my masterpiece. Somewhere deep in my soul I find a longing to make sure that they have everything they need and become everything they want to be. I am crafting a work that will last forever.