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Back when my marriage seemed to be folding, I asked for my husband's definition of fun.

He defined fun as going out to listen to music, having a drink out, dancing, bicycling, golf, motorcycling.

I asked, what about the daily things? My goal is to have joy in the ordinary. Doing dishes, cleaning up, talking to the kids about what they did in school, discussing what we're read or ideas that we have run across, enjoying meals together. Buying the food, cooking, sitting together at the table, eating and together for the clean up. Sharing duties and kindnesses.

No, he said. That was not fun.

Teaching the kids how to do these things. To clean the house, to cook healthy food, to manage a checkbook. To choose clothing for school: discuss what the difference is between a want and a need. What do we really need? And often we want something that we don't need. It is okay to feel that, but it is okay to question it, too. Why do I want that? Are there other things that I want more? What do I really want? Oh, peace and love and generosity, I want those, not a sweater.

When we separated I thought about what I would like the kids to learn and the family to look like. I had tried making cookies with the IT when she was very little, and realized that teaching cookie making took twice as long as me just making the cookies. I had not budgeted enough time and was impatient and it was not as fun for her or me as I'd envisioned.

When my husband moved out, I sat the kids down. I said that I couldn't do everything, as a single parent, and they would need to help. We instituted weekend chores. Everyone had to do two cleaning chores on the weekend. On Saturday morning we would discuss what needed cleaning the most and each pick duties. We all hated vacuuming, but we agreed that really, the stairs needed it.

After some thought about cookie making and teaching, I tried again. At thanksgiving, I budgeted lots of extra time and the kids made the stuffing. I said that they were responsible for stuffing the bird. I think that it took over an hour, with both of them disgusted by the raw turkey and shoving stuffing into the cavities. They both laughed and laughed. We ate a bit late by the time it went in and came out of the oven, but they were both proud and still disgusted by the whole process.

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