Just a few quick thoughts, warmly sent from me to you, before we leave our little home to meet Shabbat at my mother's...
Visiting Grandma a couple of days ago brought these on.
My dear Grandma is a woman of incredible talents and skills in the area of homemaking; throughout her long career as a wife and mother, she excelled in cooking, baking, gardening, canning, sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, decorating, and more and more. She also knew how to be creative in the tightest spots, when often there was barely anything to cook from, or to make clothes from.
Today, Grandma is as skilled as ever, though age-related weakness prevents her from being up and about for as long as she could ten years ago. However, there can be no better teacher - and I got more than a few cooking, baking and knitting lessons from her. I remember hours spent together in the kitchen, Grandma sitting in a chair and instructing me ("just a little bit more cinnamon..."), while I bustled around from here to there - and then the delicious smell of our creations as they came out of the oven.
I remember her sitting in the sunlit living room and patiently correcting my stitch or telling me about the delicious home-grown fruit and vegetables in their garden, which was sadly sold before I was born.
However, even more importantly, I learned that we aren't loved for our skills. We are loved for our hearts and souls, the very essence of our being. Not all of us can be gourmet cooks. Not every woman can make all her family's clothes. But we can all smile and be welcoming to our husbands and children.
A simple sandwich, lovingly served on a pretty plate by a calm, smiling, loving wife, is a thousand times better than an elaborate five-course meal slammed on the table by a woman who walks away with gritted teeth and grudgingly starts to wash the dishes...
Not that we shouldn't try and improve as homemakers. It's heart-warming to step into a clean, cozy home that smells of good food. But what will it be worth without a loving, open heart, and a calm spirit?