We have this new oven. Brand new. Double, shiny and chrome and all that (though its not a brand you’ll have heard of).
Thing is, its stuck in the middle of our kitchen floor. Has been for 3 weeks now.Here it is:
Doesn’t it look lovely. Well, sort of. The rather important point about it being stuck in the middle of the kitchen floor reduces its appeal somewhat. Hardly something you jump up and down with glee at after years of an oven that leaks hot air like an Irish woman with the gift of the gab. (It’s ok, I can say that – I am half an Irish woman, with the gift of the gab.)
It’s not where it should be, and until it is, it’s useless.
Now, before you pick up a hint of marital strife, I can say that my husband isn’t actually to blame for this. Something to do with gas pipes being the wrong place, and that its bigger than our old one, and plumbers being as rare as hen’s teeth in the autumn months.
So, as our old one was turfed out for the Travellers to come and pick up from the verge when doing their regular rounds, I’ve been falling back on my ingenuity for cooking everything on a hob. I shouldn’t complain as I had a month’s worth of training for this a couple of years back – it was during the coldest December in living memory when the timer switch failed and we had to wait for the promised replacement to be driven down from Scotland in the snow. I think they ended up asking the squirrels to pass it down manually via their network of relatives. Sadly a squirrel wasn’t allowed to do the final delivery….kids would’ve loved that.
Anyway, I witter. Why am blogging about this, you ask?
Well, it occurred to me how this oven is like the skills and talents we have in our lives that go unused, often because we’ve forgotten they’re even there thanks to the small thing that happened in our lives called Children. For those of us who’ve stayed at home to bring them up, we can forget about the wonderful talents, experience and creativity we have (not had) that has been submerged under the daily grind of domestic drudgery.
And so they sit there, fabulous and shiny, wonderful in their potential, but remain, well, frankly, fabulously unfunctional whilst they’re not being used. In fact, we end up resorting to other less brilliant tools or skills in our efforts to get the job done without them, and then get worn out in the process. I can tell you, frying fish fingers is the least good way to cook the darned things.
The amazing thing is, we end up not even noticing the elephant-oven in the room after a while, like I have with my oven. Initially I found I had to remember to not walk in a straight line to the kitchen sink from fridge, owing to large bruises on leg that would occur. Now I dance around it like it doesn’t exist. In other words, we get used to using the inferior skills and make allowances for the fact that the better one is lying dormant right bang in the centre of our lives.
Last year I asked my sister in law for a small sketch pad and pencils for my birthday so I could start to sketch again, for just 10 minutes even. I’d been inspired by my husband’s cousin who has 5 children (yes, FIVE) whom she home schools in Perth, Australia, yet she sketches whenever she can as a way of relaxation. She doesn’t make it a master piece, it’ll be literally a sketch done in a few minutes, but the point is, she did it, even if it wasn’t perfect or for very long. I used to draw, and I know I have a talent, but I’d hidden it under the pile labelled ‘Too Tired and Far Too Busy’. Now, what I do when I have an hour whilst the kids watch a film, is sometimes pick it up and sketch. Limiting myself to 15 mins makes me even more focussed and less perfectionist….
I could just pick up my mobile phone and take a shot of the scene thats caught my eye. But how much satisfaction is there in that? By sketching my son, I have to look closely at him, I develop a keen eye for every beautiful angle of his face. And at the end of it, I build up my self-esteem as I gain satisfaction in something I’ve created that’s got nothing to do with meeting my kids immediate needs.
So, what skills, experience and wonderful gifts do you have that you’ve allowed to be hidden under a pile of laundry? Can you pull out at least one and find a way of nurturing it?