It began as a rare moment of uninterrupted dinner prep - both kiddos happily snoozing away their afternoon naps. Dinner needed a cup of diced onion, so out came the onion-cutting board-knife ensemble. Four cuts in and I knew this was no ordinary onion - but the quintessential onion.
My eyes welled up with tears and my nose began to run. The faucets weren't on drip, this onion was cleaning me out! My first thought was conflicting. I knew I ought to be glad the littles were sleeping - anytime I'm in the kitchen they are close at hand - but part of me wanted to watch their reaction to the burning, uncontrollable onion'ness wafting through the room.
I chastised myself for such wickedness....then stopped. An onion and its potency isn't wicked (taking pictures of the tears streaming down your husband's face as he chops one may be...but who does that?!). How much of my desire to see their reaction to an onion was actually wrong? Eventually, they will encounter the searing pain of an onion, a jalapeno, tabasco sauce - such is life. Granted - life for a 4 month old & 20 month old can be, and ought to be, sheltered by their parents - yet I would much rather have them experience an onion in my kitchen where I can model the correct onion-burn responses (choking back foul language, refraining from wiping those draining orifices, and NOT chopping one's hand in the effort to complete the task with all haste).
As this journey of raising children winds its way around bends and over rivers, I am beginning to recognize the shape of my responsibilities as one of their trail guides. It isn't to keep them strictly on the path, avoiding all off-roading excursions; it is in part to let them explore and be there to help interpret all the flora and fauna encountered. The wisdom I pray for is the knowledge of when to take their hands and keep them right by me, and when to let them bound into the meadow through the daisies and onion shoots.
Which brings us back to that fragrant root. I AM glad Kenzie and Judah were sleeping during the onion'nating of my kitchen. Yet I do hope that the first time their sinus' are cleared via white/yellow/red onion I'll be around to assist in the rigors of that experience. And, if my camera just happens to be handy during that occasion - well someone has to document our travels!