“Here, let me do that for you dad.” Mae positioned herself on the step stool next to me, asked for the knife, and buttered her bread. Then, she applied the almond butter and mint jelly (ech.), and cut her creation in half. She scooped cottage cheese and applesauce into their compartments, buttered a matzo cracker, put them all on the plates (mind you she did this twice, one for Haze) and brought lunch to the table. I watched in awe, with a wee bit of anger.

She was invading my territory, getting in my way, and taking away a job that I, anally so, take pride in. I never round a cabinet without purpose; I twist the salsa jar lid at just the right speed as its transported from the counter to the refrigerator so it’s tightened by the time my left hand is needed to open the cooler door, spin around with a mug from the cupboard, pour my tea water, flip the quesadilla, grab two dishes, and juggle it all on to two plates while cleaning dishes, and whistling. I am the meal preparer whiz, there isn’t a dish that goes undried, a leftover untried, or a twisty on bread untied.

Now I have to share my space? I mean, we have been sharing our space for five years, but I was the director, the one who did things, it kept me busy, and ‘in the know’ of what went into their bodies, hard to tell sometimes when seeing what comes out, and here she is, little miss ‘independent’ walking out of the kitchen with a bowl full of ‘Pirate Booty cheese puffs’, really? I stopped short of saying “Who said you can have those?” and watched her walk by proud as proud can be – pretending not to see me.

My Papa Sense tells me:

When Robespierre and I first moved in with one another, we were young and without established ways of cleaning, cooking, and carrying on with our household duties. She knew, and knows, that I am a tad controlling of my environment. This, I am working on. It has served me well as I run the house with two little ones, but now I feel like I’m moving in with a new girlfriend again (That felt really odd to write.). But, seriously, I have to be okay with the fact that two more humans are going to have their way of doing things, and that they need to be left alone in the kitchen while they learn independence. Teaching independence is hard, it means you have to relinquish control and allow them to do things ‘their way’, when clearly my way is ‘the way’.

The ‘lessons’ the girls teach me seem to come at the right moment, or the moment is always right to learn to let go of the unimportant things (she screwed the cap on the jelly wrong and left it wobbly) and relax. Relax so that when they are doing things for themselves they are not in a frantic rush, but enjoying the task at hand. I’ll get there.

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