This post is in honour of my parents’ 39th wedding anniversary on Saturday.
I am a chef/baker’s daughter. The celebration of food is what put clothes on my back and a pillow under my head while growing up. People have often asked me why I am not 300 pounds after hearing about Michael Conchie’s famous cinnamon buns, donuts, cheddar spud bread, apple raisin danishes, decadent brownies and giant muffins. I think that God knew I needed a fast metabolism. I loved waking up every morning to all of those aromas. You would think that after cooking Monday-Sunday morning and night for work that Dad would want some quiet days off where he could stay as far away from the kitchen as possible. No, days off were an excuse for partying and making food for guests. Sundays after church, birthdays, sunny days, rainy days. It was rare for our family not have additional honorary members at any given time. While Dad’s cooking often brought people to our home it also took him away from home. Whether it was cooking for miners up in the northern territories or driving out to Maple Ridge camp for the summer or labouring in his bakery I often missed my daddy and I am so glad for the seasons of helping him in the kitchen and I rejoice that he is nearby now.
Growing up as a chef’s daughter prepared me in many ways for my marriage to Forest. Forest has a passion for cooking. I talked him out of the stressful career but he keeps it as a life giving hobby. I love being his sous chef and am even starting to enjoy cooking shows. I remember one time we had invited some of Forest’s coworkers for dinner and we were running a little late in prep. My parents’ training saved the day as I was able to whip up a salad and fruit platter. Some kids grow up with sports or dance or musical training in the family. I grew up learning how to wash hundreds of dishes, make good coffee and use a paring knife to add pretty designs to mushrooms. Forest has a professionally trained housewife 😉
I am an artist’s daughter too. My mom’s paintings grace our home. Her keen eye for detail and creativity made homeschooling a fun adventure when I was little. She resisted making a profitable career out of her art, other than a few successful contracts, because she loves creating for joy and gifting her masterpieces to those who could not afford the true price. She often worked alongside my dad adding her creative, orderly expertise to the enterprise. I got so used to the idea of spouses working together that I wanted to go along with Forest to work when we got married. (Sometimes I go and make everyone lunch).
I have to admit that as a child, sometimes I wished that my parents had “normal” careers and that we had “normal” lives. But I don’t think that now. While most of my friends grew up in one home and their dads had one job for decades, we embarked on the Conchie Creation adventures. First in the wilderness of Esperanza on Vancouver Island’s North West coast; then a catering company bearing the Conchie Creation name (our glorious year was serving the CBC camera crew for the 1994 NHL playoffs); then the Trout Lake farmer’s Market, Little River bakery and many other adventures feeding people, riding horses, swimming in the ocean and calling several houses home.
We had trials. Some trivial and some deep and long lasting. But looking back now I wouldn’t trade it if I could. I missed out on my ballet lessons and some other comforts and stabilities, but I gained many riches, met many people, saw some of the world’s most beautiful land and became the woman that I am today.
My parents showed me that marriage, careers and family life are not one size fits all. When I think about my own children to come, they will most likely grow up in one home for several years and their dad will probably have a 9-5 job. But who knows what the future holds? In either case, I want my kids to hear stories from their grandparents and learn how to make fancy mushrooms and paint. I want them to learn how to weather the storms of life. I want them to learn how to value people and experiences in all shapes and sizes. I want them to learn about God’s faithfulness in the midst of all and how He will always bring us safe to shore.
When my parents ran their Conchie Creations catering/bakery company, Mom would often say to me, “you are a Conchie Creation too!” I usually blushed and groaned at the thought of my conception and all that it involved. Now, as I look forward to starting my own family one day and having lil’ Li’s,
I am proud to be a Conchie Creation. And I am thrilled that my family is once again all together, healthy and happy.
Happy Anniversary Dad and Mom. The best is yet to come.