The following post is part of my account of the fairy-tale that I was lucky enough to have my friend share with me earlier this month. If you’re so inclined, please feel free to start at the beginning: Tuna Cavatappi Be Damned (6/6/12), Unintentionally Apt (6/7/12), The Demon Known as Self-Doubt (6/8/12), Time Present and Time Past (6/11/ 12), Enjoy the Ride (6/15/12), At the Gates (6/18/12), Lavender, Who Knew? (6/19/12).
It’s remarkable how something as simple as a good meal eaten in silence can change everything…well, almost everything.
Friday, June 1
Parenthood is life-altering. It just is. I don’t think that anyone who is a parent can really explain sufficiently to those about to become parents how their lives are getting ready to change. It isn’t just about your heart expanding to sizes you never knew possible or about how that expanded heart will live outside of your body and wander around on a daily basis in a world fraught with danger. It’s also little things: piles of laundry that grow exponentially in mere seconds and meals that are never eaten at the preferred temperature or finished by you alone. And even if you do share these experiences, the parents-to-be will never fully understand what you’re talking about until they experience these things for themselves. They can’t understand—it is Mother Nature’s way of ensuring that their unenlightened minds don’t break under the strain. After all, what sane, childless person really believes that for the next seven to ten years, his or her meals will primarily consist of cold leftover chicken nuggets or half-eaten fish sticks consumed in a state of stupefying exhaustion?
Imagine, if you can, spending at least five days a week (four if you have a sainted husband who not only has some cooking talent of his own in addition to a sympathetic streak three-quarters of a mile wide) preparing, eating, and then cleaning up after these meals. What must it be like to wander into a tastefully decorated dining room with an ice-cold drink of your choice—one you get to finish all on your own—be handed a menu filled with exotic delights, things no one in your family would ever want to eat on any given day? I’m talking about things that if you put them on the table at home almost everyone would ask, Where’s the mac ‘n cheese, Mom? What would you do?
Me? I chose the Hacienda Burger. The one smothered in spicy barbecue sauce. The one prepared with fresh tomatoes and caramelized onions. The one topped with jalapeño jack cheese. The one made of bison. Bison.
It was made for me. Just me. Only me. I ate it. By myself. On my own. I mean, Cheryl was sitting right next to me, so I wasn’t alone; however, my meal—I ate that all by myself. No, Can I have a bite? No, Ewww. I don’t want that. Just me and one divinely, delicious burger made of B-I-S-O-N. And I ate every bite of that juicy, scrumptious, tangy, spicy, sweet, under four-hundred calorie taste sensation.
Cheryl was having her own I didn’t have to make this and I sure don’t have to share it with anyone moment herself—crispy Chalupas Compuestas with guacamole and a side of tomato salsa.
We didn’t say a word, nothing beyond the occasional, “Mmmmmmm,” for the entire meal. And then, as if having a delicious, healthy meal prepared for us and us alone wasn’t enough, our plates were promptly removed from sight and we were given our dessert options: peanut butter and chocolate frozen yogurt or pecan-praline and coconut frozen yogurt. Cheryl went for the peanut butter and chocolate and I just about bounced out of my seat for the praline-coconut option.
Ten more minutes of complete silence ensued. Fro-Yo had never tasted so good.
It was at this moment that I decided what my personal plan for the weekend would be. I’d been leading up to this for some time, and after this meal I was certain. How often do you get to step away from who you are to go someplace new, to meet new people? And how often do you get to do this with someone who probably knows you better than you know yourself?
From here on out, I was going to try to do something new—whether it be to try something I’d never eaten before or to take a class in something I’d never contemplated ever—each day. It was a small plan, a simple plan—a plan that started with a burger made of bison.
I ask you, how often does one get to say that?