I’m in dreamland, on a Tropical Island Paradise where no laundry exists, car pools are garaged, and the lingering aromatic, heady fragrances of blended coconuts, pineapples and orchids weave through gentle swaying palms. My legs are permanently hairless, I’m having a perfect hair day, and no children are bickering and squabbling. The Aqua Seas call out to me as my bare feet sink into soft golden sands. Liquid Silver dances across the whitecaps, then smoothes to pools of opaled turquoise rippled glass as it comes closer to the sand. With slow, steady breath, the tide dances life into white foam laced at water’s edge, and it wraps warm around my ankles. I…
Am wrenched, yanked from this Shangri-La adventuring by a poke to my ear. Eyes fly open, and I jerk to a sitting position.
I pry blurry eyes wider, viewing the outlined shadow of my youngest child. My heart energized by an unwelcome burst of adrenaline, pounds as imagination forms its usual checklist of possible scenarios.
There’s silence of the child’s part.
I slide; scooting to the side of the bed, and out of habit, reach out to feel his forehead. Fearing the almighty fever that may dictate our lives for at least 24 hours as it courses it’s time worn path through the rest of the household, I considered the options, sure wishing to be back on that Island…
I placed my hand to his still baby soft brow. Normal temperature.
“What’s up buddy?”
Now, if you have a child, know of a child, or once was a child, chances are pretty good that you’ve had Hands On Encounters dealing with the relationship challenges associated under this “FAVORITE FOOD” developmental phase.
Me, being an unhappy, unwilling participant of the above group, cringed, recoiled, tried to plan out a redirect against his inevitable request.
“How ‘bout a drink of water?”
Silence. This from the kid who can out chat the combined efforts of all Talk Show Hosts AND Politicians alike.
I could feel him staring at me…waiting…
I went directly to the Big Guns, too tired to go through the usual steps.
“There’s Grape Juice…” (His favorite drink. I have no shame. Need sleep.)
Parenting no-no’s fly out the window as I pull out the epitome of bribes covering all forms of sugar while ignoring nourishment requirements for raising healthy, well-balanced children. All the while KNOWING these too would be met with a stubborn will far more awake than I, and probably more rational.
Under my breath, I quietly pleaded, but still his voice tempts the air with innocence, plotting a change of venue from my nighttime vacation.
My stomach clenches against his powerful words:
“Tuna sam-itch pweese.”
That stomach of mine unclenched, flipped, dived, tried to make a u-turn from the vivid reality as imagination prepared to open the can.
It’s not too late…so I cling to hope in this Pollyanna approach to all things worthy of Parenthood…
With a wing and a prayer, suggest yogurt.
Little Shadow shakes his head.
So, I exert a feeble attempt to grab control over the situation, claiming maturity on my side. Rising to stand, I exhume, RADIATE false confidence with an equally false smile. Gather him into my arms, hoist his Winne-the-Poo covered jammied body up, and sealed his forehead with a series of kisses. That part was not false. Enjoyed it immensely.
He snuggled his face into the crook of my neck, but neither of us was fooled.
One last try left as arsenal on my list. But it is worthy of consideration, even given the eventual long-term consequences. I prayed it would work.
“ A Smothie…I’ll make you a Strawberry S-m-o-o-t-h-i-e…”
Hubby groaned in the background. Was he imaging the racket as the blender slammed ice cubes into the metal blades, crushing and grinding all to tiny shards, or the noise echoing the vibrations throughout the peaceful house…across the neighborhood…causing dogs to bark…setting off car and house alarms, and eventually bringing Police to our door?
Hey, a small price to pay in exchange of opening a can of tuna at…oh, now 3:40 A.M.
“I’m hungry,” he whispered into my neck, breath warm.
What can a Parent do?
We compromised. Sort of. I made the tuna “sam-itches, but opened a second can, of pineapple chunks for a tropical flare.
***How great our God who provides us with what we need! All I have to do is say, “I’m hungry,” and He provides the rest. Anytime. Even at 3:45 A.M.
~BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH DO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS: FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED. ~ Matthew 5:6