I’ll be the first to admit I over think things. Totally. And having a child certainly takes it’s toll on someone who over analyzes like me.
I’m always trying to look at things in terms of how they will affect him in the long run. I’m afraid making him clean his plate will make him fat. I’m afraid not making him eat his vegetables will give him a life-long hatred of vegetables. I’m afraid that giving him juice at night might cause cavities. I’m afraid if he plays outside without his shoes he’ll hurt his feet.
And it’s odd for me, because I never really felt like this before he was born. I guess you can say I’m a little over protective. The great thing is my wife is totally the opposite. She throws caution to the wind and basically runs at things without a plan. I wish I could be more like that, especially with Jack.
Last night I had a little reminder from God, that I need to lighten up. And it has been one of the most profound things to happen to me recently.
Each night a bedtime, I read a story with Jack (sometimes two, sometimes three) and last night as we were picking books to read, he pulled out a book that my mother had given him not long after he was born. The book is titled “On the Night You Were Born.”
It’s a beautiful story that tells about how the animals celebrated the night you were born. But in the back of the book, my Mom had written nearly two pages to my little boy – two pages of her handwriting that I’m sure were meant to inspire him and teach him about life.
But reading her thoughtful words last night struck a chord with me. The note was filled with her wishes for him for the future, but a few of those stood out. Mainly it was the idea that sometimes bad things happen so that we understand the good things. We have to have those bad things happen to teach us lessons, too.
I realized that sometimes he has to get a splinter to be reminded that he needs to wear his shoes outside. He has to be cheated to learn about the value of truth. And he has to have his heart broken to learn the power of love.
I also realized that I do take things too seriously and I do try to protect him to the extent that it’s going to force him to miss out on something magical, something wonderful. I get too caught up in daily life to realize how special every moment is with this little guy.
So this morning, at 5:30 when he woke up crying for the 4th time, rather than being angry with him as I had the 3 times before, I remembered Mom’s words. I didn’t yell or tell him to go back to sleep. I just climbed into my little boy’s twin sized bed with him and we laid there talking and laughing for nearly an hour. He was late for daycare and I was late for work. But today that didn’t matter, because this morning I just got to be a daddy – and nothing else. And that’s just what my little boy needed… and I did too.
When I was a kid, this was one of my most favorite things my mom would make. I requested it quite often. And fear not, there’s no porcupine in these meatballs. They get their funny name because they’re studded with rice which makes them look like, well… porcupines! And rather than some plain old tomato sauce, Mom made a super delicious sauce with V8 vegetable juice and tomato paste. It’s so good and so delicious! Hopefully you and your family will love this simple and easy recipe just the same!
- 1.25 to 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
- ¾ cup instant rice
- ½ small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 3 cups V8 vegetable juice
- Combine ground beef, uncooked rice, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch sized balls. (I got about 15 meatballs.)
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Brown the meatballs for 3 to 4 minutes each on several sides and remove them from the pan. Drain grease and return the pan to the heat.
- In the pan add V8 juice and tomato paste. Mix well. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs back into the pan. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs.
- Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked throughout.