Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Easy Bake Oven Retro Tupperware Party






You should have guessed by now that I'd have a life lesson in my tupperware and easy bake oven. Here are pictures from our latest retro party. I love that the kids were good about taking turns pouring the ingredients into the little bowl, stirring the cake mix, and even shared time and space peeking through the window to watch the cake bake. We made brownies that I thought 'flopped'- they were gooey and sugary. But, when I put a small scoop on top of the kids' bowls of icecream, they all thought it was the best brownie topping ever! I realized that it's not about how the miniature dessert turns out, but about the time spent creating and being together.
Of course I've got a story behind that easy bake oven...it goes back to a time before I ever had any kids. I had made Chip promise me and swear over and over that he agreed to never having kids- that he could be happy in life without them, for me- when he proposed to me. It was my biggest concern when he popped the question to me one night in June 1994. I was at a point in my life where I had decided I never EVER wanted kids...they just didn't 'fit' into the future and dreams I had for myself in my head. I had loved kids and babies when I was young. I was one of the most sought after babysitters in my church and neighborhood. I worked at the YMCA in the nursery department (for my first 'real' job). At age 5 I had even mentioned I wanted 100 kids when I got married and grew up...my concern was how I would get them all dressed and to church on time. =)
But, after years of waiting tables and seeing kids and families at their very worst, I decided kids were not for me. End of story. Besides, I had spent a lot of time, money and energy in school, and upon graduation I decided kids would make a career and all the 'luxuries of life' too complicated, and I wasn't in the mood to change my life for someone else.
Little did I know that God had other plans for my life. I was in for a life-altering change...one that turned my life upside-down in a very good way. But try telling me that when I'm in the midst of selfishness. I happened to find out that I was pregnant on the morning of the day Chip and I had plans to fly to Chicago for our first annivesary. Uh, huh. I typed that right. We were celebrating our first wedding annivesary with a three day weekend in Chicago. We were going to take in the city and just enjoy our time together.
Imagine Chip's disgust at me when I had a terrible attitude from the ticket counter to the wait before boarding the aircraft, and finally at my sarcasm toward the guy who plopped down next to me. [Side note: This flight was a choose-your-own-seat flight, and there were several open seats on this flight. This guy literally 'fell' into his seat and stuffed his carry-on under the seat in front of him and basically spread out and imposed on my space! Bad idea!!] So, as Chip began to lecture me about being rude and having a lousy attitude when we were about to head out on the most fun weekend we'd had in a long time, well, I lost it. I started sobbing. I am SO NOT the kind of person to cry in public, so Chip knew something was up. Even after being married only one year- he picked up on that right away. =)
I had told myself I wouldn't tell Chip about being pregnant until sometime well into our weekend...or maybe even on the flight home. But the minute my tears began to flow, I knew I had to tell him, or he would be snapping at me all weekend. I remember being scared to death of telling him my news. Which, looking back on it, makes me sort of laugh. I was the one who had issues with the idea of having kids- not him. But still, I remember being scared to tell him, so between my sobs, I choked out the words as whispers in his ear. When he finally had it sink in and he realized he had heard me correctly at least three times, he pushed me back at arms length and smiled the biggest grin I think I have ever seen from him. He was stunned. He was happy, and I think relieved to know that I had a valid excuse for my less-than-stellar attitude on the flight and to the guy sitting next to me. But suddenly his expression changed, and I think he recognized my tears were those of fear and even a bit of disgust. The plans I had made him promise to me just about two years earlier were falling through. He knew I was feeling anything but joy inside.
He spent the rest of the flight calming me, reassuring me, and trying not to smile every time he knew I was looking at him- although he was bursting with happiness inside. I was sad at myself for feeling like I was stealing his joy at that time. When we finally landed (that 52 minute flight from Minneapolis to Chicago felt like forever) and went to collect our bags, I got the best hug I had ever had in my life from Chip...he wrapped himself around me and it was a moment I will never forget. Despite my mixed-up, messed up, hormonal feelings, I felt myself melting in his arms and telling myself, "If this was going to happen to me, at least it is happening with Chip". I knew he was going to be the one person I could count on to get me through this pregnancy and make sense of our future for all of us.
That's the long story behind how I got my 'Mrs. Field's Easy Bake Oven'. For Christmas that year, when I was about 6 months pregnant and still not thrilled with the idea of having a baby change my life, Chip gave me a big box and said it was a gift to help change my mind about how I was feeling about a baby. (We didn't know what we were having.) I opened up my easy bake oven and Chip said, "See? You're just gonna have to focus on all the great things having a kid will bring to your life...you'll get to bake with a toy oven". I thought it was so sweet. He knew I loved stuff like this, and so he took the opportunity to show me a glimpse of my future- one that showed me a glimpse of happiness and fun that was lacking in the pictures I was playing in my mind at that time.
Flash forward a two years, and I pulled out the little oven and baked up some goodies with the joy of my life, Teagan. Baking that first pan of brownies were an experience that thrilled my soul. For real...I'm not kidding! I can't believe me, the queen of taking pictures, didn't take photos of Teagan and her pan of brownies that day. We must have been having too much fun. It wasn't something we did often, but enough for me to remember how much fun we had together. Then Brock was born and he got in on the baking when he got a bit older. He always loved the cake the best.
I pulled it out after Teagan had died, and Wyndham was big enough to peer through the window and kick her feet while I held her up to the window. I was careful not to let her touch it though, because the little viewing window had smudges and fingerprints on it. Those prints were Teagan's.
This past weekend when I popped in the pan of brownies, the kids pulled the little chairs up next to the oven and were yelling with excitement who got to peek inside first. Brock was first and as he looked inside I told him, "I'm never going to wipe the window clean because those are Teagan's fingerprints." His eyes got so big and he took a close look at the window. When his sisters got too close, he would say, "Don't touch the window, those are Teagan's prints!" I let him know that it's okay if the window gets smudged or bumped...peeking in is the most fun part of baking in an Easy Bake. I wasn't about to ruin the fun. And really, the window isn't that smudged. I personally like it that way.
I am reminded that my life took another path- one that I wouldn't have chosen- at least not when I was young and first married. I have learned that sometimes what I think is best for me really isn't even close. I have been given blessings and joy in life...sometimes totally undeserved and not even close to where I would have looked for them. I have learned that it is true, God knows what is best for each of us, even if it means walking down a bumpy, narrow path, that we would never have chosen to journey down on our own.

I am thankful today, for the journey, for the hurts, for the disappointments that turned to blessings in disguise, and for the lessons in life that come packaged up in boxes- like Easy Bake Ovens.

17 comments:

annette said...

Oh, Jody your words are so wonderful...I am so blessed to be a part of your life...even able to recapture some of my youthful moments...You are the greatest...~~love~~

Maija said...

Thank you, Jody, for this story. I don't know if you recall, but I asked you to tell this story a few weeks ago - I'm that 20-something who right now can't imagine having kids. I got a kitten last year & that was a big decision! Such a responsibilty! :) Two of my closest college friends (a married couple) are now pregnant, and it's really thrown me for a loop. I feel like it will change everything in our group of friends - and makes me feel like we're all getting older.

I am sneaking a peek at this at work & I had to stop reading, so I didn't start bawling at my desk. I didn't realize Teagan was your oldest, and that made it all that much more touching. I loved the tie in with the Easy Bake oven, and your kids playing with it in present time. This would make a great magazine piece, if not a book! Oh, and by the way, I love the time difference - I live in Oregon, so usually by the time I get online in the morning, you have a new story for me!

Brad said...

First of all, Easy Bake Ovens ROCK!

Secondly, this post rules in so many ways... Great insight and honesty.

linda t said...

That husband of yours is the best!
I just melted to hear that Chip would know to get you that oven before you even knew what an awesome Mommy you would be... but he knew... and the Lord knew... wow... what a precious story!

beth j said...

so thankful for you and the reminders of the simple things in life like easy bake ovens. wish i could be there to see how the thing works...i have never seen one in action. i know, deprived child. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so touched and moved to tears at the mention of Teagan's fingerprints. Oh, the wonder and marvel of a child....the Lord knew when He created Teagan how very special she would be. I too hope those precious smudges never disappear....they speak loudly to your little ones of the love & joy of Teagan.

tammy said...

Hiya Jody~
What a precious heartwarming story! You so amaze me at how you can take such an ordinary everyday object (like an Easy Bake Oven) and weave together this life lesson that makes us see things in such depth. I hope Teagan's fingerprints are on the oven door forever and never get erased, just like the prints she's made in your hearts and lives.
God bless you~
Tammy in Michigan

Jody M said...

Jody,
We've never met but I feel like I know you! I read your blog daily and am always touched by your life lessons and am inspired by what you have to say! I don't take the time I have with my children for granted anymore thanks to your stories! Hmmm...I think I'll go ahead and pull out our Easy Bake and make some memories err, I mean goodies with my 3 year old daughter ~ Thank you!

Miriam said...

That is a beautiful story. Thank you. I have been reading your page everyday, but today is my first comment. You have really touched my life with your stories and experiences. I look forward to having kids someday--I hope they have as much fun as your kids look like they do!

Kristine said...

You truly amaze me...using your gift with words to paint beautiful pictures that we, as your readers can visualize.

You have been given a talent and are sharing it with so many. Thank you for touching my life in a beautiful way.

I look forward to reading your blog daily. Thanks for sharing your joy so completely with all of us.

Crystal said...

Jody, you are such an inspiration and light in my days! Your ability to paint these incredible pictures with your words and your wisdom is such a gift. Thank you for sharing these most intimate and personal experiences with us. You always help me to see what the big picture really is and how God works in our lives. ((( HUGS ))) - I hope someday I will have the honor of meeting you!

jen lawson said...

Hi Jody,
This post came at the best time. We are at a point in our lives when we are trying to have children (and may already be pregnant). I always said I wanted children, but at this point in my life(I am almost 33), I am pretty set in my ways and as you said, children don't seem to fit into my future (selfishness). But this story has given me hope that these feelings will pass. My husband really wants children (just as Chip did) and I hope I can get over my not wanting children and be as good a wife and mother as you have been to your husband and children.

Joyous said...

Aw, I like this story a lot, Jody, thanks so much for sharing it!

Tricia said...

sniff sniff! I love this story! I really hope you win SOTY! I'm am cheering for you. I met you in B'ham at the scrap event. You were in the wrong room and we were sitting next to each other. I asked about your shirt and you gave me a card with the blog address. You realized you were in the wrong room and had to move across the hall. You made a comment that it must have been meant for us to meet. I had to check out your blog after you said that! I have been checking it but never left a comment until today. I love the blog about joy! That has totally hit home with me.

Natty said...

Another beautiful and homiletic post, Jody. Thanks for sharing it!

erika said...

i loved this post.
i thought about it a lot yesterday.
xe

javieth said...

when i bought my house throught costa rica homes for sale i wanted a great kitchen with a big space to put a big oven. Now i can baking every kind of cakes in there.