As of late, frazzled has become a part of my character.
I’ve been swamped with editing, writing, preparing presentations, running school government campaigns, painting my basement and keeping up with soccer and hockey schedules. My husband recently told me that I make Taz look like he’s going in slow motion,....times eight.
Much to my shame over the knowledge of my sons’ grumbling stomachs but lacking the timely resources to cope better, dinner, as of late, has consisted of whatever I could get through the nearest drive through or out of a bag of Wal-Mart trail mix.
The trail mix has become the meal of choice since a double fisted serving consists of enough protein (nuts), natural sugars and starches (fruit, crackers and pretzels) and fiber (raisons or craisons) to marginally meet the daily USDA nutrition guides. And there’s no clean up since the dog will happily scrounge for any leftovers that have fallen between and under the seats.
So you can understandably see why, when the other day, the smell of chocolate brownies wafted down to my office, I immediately raced to the kitchen to see who had done this marvelous thing and actually baked something in the oven – the appliance heretofore being used as a dryer for wet sneakers.
There stood my husband and three sons with a look of confusion which turned into countenances of rapture when I raced up the stairs and yanked the oven open.
“Finally, she remembered how to use it,” caustically remarked Josh.
“Don’t count on it, I watched Maison put his shoes in there less than an hour ago,” whispered Mitch not daring to hope.
Ignoring my permanent peanut gallery, I checked on the shoes and then turned to every hiding spot in the kitchen as I riffled through trying to find the stash of chocolate decadence. I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before.
“Okay, where’d you hide ‘em? Come on, give it up! I know one of you hooligans broke into my recipe file and created a covert batch of chocolate something or another. I’m not backing down so you ‘d better fess up!!!” I said as I looked directly into each and every one of their guilty eyeballs with a finger popping them on the ends of their noses just for good measure.
My husband choked. “What,…..oh you mean,…..what,…we???” He began to laugh as he went for a banana and a cup’o pudding.
After holding them captive and using every interrogation trick in the book while scouring the kitchen looking for a square of chocolate sin, I noticed the burning candle next to the bread box. Earlier that morning, knowing I wouldn’t have time to clean, I’d lit the dang thing in a futile effort to hide the smells and stenches I didn’t have time to unearth and vanquish. I should’ve looked at the label before torching it.
It said, “Essence of Chocolate Bunt Cake”
I turned and smiled ever so sweetly at my lost looking sons. “False alarm, gang. I know I’ve been a bit spacey lately so how ‘bout I make it up to you? Get your sneakers out of the oven. I’ll let you choose the tonight’s drive through and I’ll even buy dessert for you too!!!”
Mitch who has always been too smart for his own good, rushed over to look where my line of vision had been before my demeanor and attitude changed. He too looked at the candle before shaking his head in disgust and putting his arm around my shoulder.
Despite all my flaws, I knew I’d done something right when he looked at me with compassion and gave me today’s “Life Saver”;
“Mom, try to remember - space can be a dangerous place, especially if it’s between your ears!”
He then grabbed his shoes and ducked around the corner to go hide my “Essence of Banana Bread” candle.
I smiled gratefully after him and pondered the moment. If you can’t find your way to a boy’s heart with food, then try to kill him with kindness. And if that doesn’t work, combine the two and you can get away with murder!