Friday, April 8, 2016

Gardening, Running...and Cooking

Joshua was happy to be back at Therapeutic Recreation (TR) last week.

He was also really excited that we were celebrating his birthday with a "family" dinner at home. His birthday was on Monday, but Holly told us that Aaron-the-son-in-law had a meeting on Monday night...which, in our family is code for: "I will be eating dinner with you guys and can we please order Chinese food?"

I asked Joshua if it would be okay to have his "family" dinner on Tuesday night, so that Aaron could join us, and he said, "shuh!" I asked Joshua if it would be okay to order Chinese food for dinner, and he said, "shuh!"

So, on Tuesday morning, we headed down to Little Rock for TR. Their group was going to be working in the little garden they have at the Center. They were also going to be walking toward their "reverse marathon" goals. They try to walk at least a mile every time the group is together...and they are keeping track of it on a big chart at the Center. When they all complete 26.2 miles, they are going to have a big party...and everyone is going to get a marathon medal! The FRIENDS are all so excited!

Well, they are all so excited about getting a MEDAL. They are all NOT excited about the actual work it takes to achieve that goal.

But they press on.

I sent Joshua to TR with a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, which, to him, is code for: MY MOM HATES ME.

Jussssssssssst kidding.

Joshua is not much of a "sandwich" person. He likes to take our dinner left-overs for his lunch.

But I knew we were having STEAK for his day-after-his-birthday birthday dinner...and I was pretty sure he could eat a sandwich for lunch and not die.

Jim grilled steak and some veggies for our dinner. I made mashed potatoes, because Holly loves them so much...and so does Joshua. I baked a sweet potato for Jim. We had a big salad and some rolls. Mmmm...

The past couple of years, Joshua has requested a peanut-butter pie instead of birthday cake, so I made one of those, and it was yummy (I used Pioneer Woman's recipe)!

He was supposed to have a "cooking day" at TR on Thursday. When I got there, I asked what they would be cooking. They said, "sandwiches." I thought, "mmmm...good luck with that."

Because they've had cooking days before. They've grilled burgers and hot dogs, they've hosted the TR staff with a chili lunch...they've made desserts...they've cooked lasagna and chicken alfredo.

Sandwiches sounded pretty me.

The Director, Ms. Sherrie, said that it was a very "telling" activity...and that she learned a lot about the FRIENDS. She said that one of their aides made the comment, "well, THIS activity isn't going to teach them ANYTHING."

They had 4 kinds of meat, and several kinds of cheese. They had lettuce and onions, and tomatoes FROM THEIR VERY OWN GARDEN there at the Center (THAT was cool)! They had bread...bun, rolls, tortillas. They had olives, pickles...and allll the condiments.

The FRIENDS had unloaded the groceries from the van. They split up into groups and everyone worked together. They put the meat and cheeses on plates and arranged them to look pretty. They washed and separated the lettuce. They washed and sliced the tomatoes and onions. A couple of the FRIENDS are gluten-free...they have special bread or other things they can eat...they know it, all the FRIENDS know it...and they all know where those items are located. They opened the bottles of condiments. They got out the bags of chips. They arranged everything on the table. They got out paper plates, napkins, and silverware. They set up the tables and chairs.

All things we could do in a matter of minutes. 

All things we could probably do in our sleep, and with little-to-no help.

But there are some critical thinking skills in play here...planning, counting, organizing. And some team work skills...seeing what needs to be done, and figuring out how to do it.

A LOT more than just "cooking sandwiches."

Some of them, Ms. Sherrie realized, could not even make their own sandwich. They were PHYSICALLY able to do it...but they had never done it before. They would stand there with the bun or bread on their plate...and everything else they needed spread out on the table in front of them...and literally have no clue how to make their sandwich.

And the sweetest thing was when the FRIENDS would help each other. "Hey, Crystal...put some meat on the you want cheese...let me hold your drink."




"I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3

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