This gift of Parkinson’s – I know that sounds like a strange way to describe it – but it is a gift because it sharpens the senses, it makes me more aware of the gift of life, of family, of those I love. We would all like to think that we can live forever perhaps, but the reality is that it is not the case. For me, I value every moment, every experience I have with my family and most of all with my grand-children.
This weekend I had my three grand-daughters for the weekend. We went bike riding, cooked meals together – where I shared my recipes with them – did baking and basically just hung out together. I want them to look back fondly on our time together. That I took the time to spend time with them. I am going to create a folder for them called ‘In the kitchen with Nanna’ of recipes we have made together. It is not enough now to just bake and cook for them. I want them – at ages 8 and 12 years – to be able to recreate the meals and the baking we have done together and in doing so bring back the memories of when they were children spending time together in my kitchen.
I often say to my girls when we are making a meal or baking or when I bring baking to their home, ‘what is the magic ingredient?’ and they answer every time, ‘love’. If I can show my love for them by giving them memories to treasure then I have done my best as a Nanna.
Sometimes as we get older it becomes not so easy to say ‘I love you’. A counsellor once told me about a thing called ‘Acts of service’ as a way of saying I love you without using those words. So, every cake I bake, every meal I make, even simple things like making breakfast for them – even though they are old enough to make their own – they are my ‘I love you’s’ on a plate. To my mind you can never say ‘I love you’ too much. For isn’t that something that we all want? To know that those who are most important to us, love us?
This weekend my ‘Act of service’ my ‘I love you’ was spending time with my girls in the kitchen. Spending special time together that I hope they will treasure as much as I do.