Aloha is....making homemade whipped cream with Grandma.
This is a traditional family photo of a holiday tradition passed on. In this photo, my youngest niece and god-daughter, Julia, is making homemade whipped cream with my grandmother. Julia is five years old and Grandma is 93. Don't ask me how old that apron is because it could very well be at least 20 years old!
What's so special about this photo is that it brings back a flood of memories growing up in Connecticut and all the holidays spent at Grandma's house. In fact, right now I can hear all the hustle and bustle in her kitchen on this Thanksgiving even from way over here in San Diego. I'm sure Dad is in the corner of the kitchen, carving the turkey. Mom is at the stove, checking to see if the boiling potatoes are ready for mashing. And then there's Grandma. I bet she's over by the sink where she can peer out the window into the backyard, preparing to make whipped cream for the pumpkin pies she and Dad made the week before.
Only this year, it seems we have a new family member who's ready to step up to the plate and get her lesson in whipped cream. Every kid in our family has learned how to make whipped cream. And, every kid has learned that if you make the whipped cream, you also get to lick the beaters afterwards!
Grandma is always looking for an opportunity to teach, share or love someone in a way that makes them feel a little smarter, feel a little better, feel a little taller, and feel a little more like they mattered by the time she's done with them.
And, today it was Julia. I can just bet you that she saw Grandma getting ready to make the whipped cream and that Julia got curious. Grandma could always see the light of curiosity in someone's eyes. She always knew when they light went out, too. But when it comes to teaching a "student" - whether it's someone she knows or not - she will give it all she's got!
I can hear her voice calmly instructing Julia that, first, she needs an apron. Then, I can hear her footsteps, heavy on the kitchen tiles in her high heels (yes, she still wears them), make their way to the pantry where several homemade aprons await their next culinary adventure. Then, I can imagine her helping Julia put on an apron that Julia's chosen, one that's at least five sizes too big for her but in a color that she approves. I can also see Julia trying to pull her hair back behind her shoulders to help keep her hair from being in the way.
Then, I can just hear Grandma's voice instructing her step by step on how to make this bowl of white liquid magically turn into a foam of sweet goodness. I can hear the hand mixer start and stumble as Julia makes her way around the bowl, with Grandma's hand gently guiding hers around the edges. But, most of all, I can feel her excitement and the pride she feels in doing something she's never done before, especially something she gets to do with Grandma.
We never stop learning; therefore, we should never stop teaching. They go hand in hand. While we all have the ability to learn things even up into our ripe old age, we also have the ability to teach. We can teach from education, from experience, from expertise and from wisdom. It is a matter of looking within ourselves to find what it is we want to share - knowledge, advice, expertise, wisdom or love. There are lessons to learn in every aspect of our lives; therefore, there is always something we can teach one another.
I believe that when one person's path crosses the path of another - for no matter how long - there is an exchange. You teach something to and you learn something from that person. It is up to you to find the lesson.
This story is not just about how to make whipped cream. It's also about making memories. It's about sharing experiences. IT's about connecting. And, it's about sharing family traditions.
Look at the traditions in your family. Think about not only the memories you can make but what you can teach from those memories.
No doubt Julia learned how do something new - to make whipped cream this Thanksgiving. But she also learned that she can learn, do and try "old" things with others, too, as in traditions. She also learned that her great-grandmother sees her, wants to take the time to teach her and wants to share a special moment with her.
I bet it was the best whipped cream Julia's ever tasted. And, I bet she won't ever forget it.
Live, Love and Lead with Aloha.