“Mom!” I could tell by the tone of his voice what the question would be. He didn’t disappoint me. “What’s for supper, Mom? We’re starving!”
I didn’t even bother stifling my groan. I hate cooking and my family knew it well. Too bad you couldn’t live on baked goods alone!! Being a cookie fanatic had taught me early on to enjoy baking. But cooking? Ugh. I could easily leave that to someone else. Too bad there was no one else willing to take it! In a house full of men there was no competition in the kitchen, unless it was getting to the food first and getting the most.
A quick check at the time sent me to the fridge for the hamburger and onions. “Meatloaf, mashed ‘taters, and broccoli.”
“Cheese sauce on the broccoli?” Andrew hedged.
“Any reason I should make a cheese sauce?” I’d planned on it, but they didn’t have to know that.
“I got an A on my Physical Science test,” he smugly informed me.
“I did, too!” Ron called out as he sauntered into the kitchen. Ron was a neighbor kid who spent as much time with us as he did at his own house. Both he and Andrew were 14 and I knew that Shane, my 13 year old, would be in next. As expected, he came in and made a bee-line for the cookie jar.
“Cheese sauce?” he mumbled as he popped a whole cookie in his mouth. “I got a 100% on that geography quiz. Why do we have to know all those capitals anyways?”
I exaggerated my sigh, “OK. I’ll make a cheese sauce. Just because you guys did good. NOT because I like to cook!” I felt I had to remind them in case they forgot.
“Yes!” they high fived all around, grabbed handfuls of cookies and flopped onto the couches in the living room.
“Man, you guys are SO lucky!” I heard Ron say around a mouthful of cookie. “Not only does your mom cook for you, but she’s always got cookies or something for you to eat!” There was a slight pause as he swallowed, “She must love you an awful lot.” I could hear the wistfulness in his voice and my hands stilled, listening.
“There’s food at your house, too!” Shane replied.
“Your mom cooks!” Andrew mumbled around what must have been a whole cookie.
“That’s not cooking, and you know it!” Ron exclaimed. He must have finished his cookies since his mouth was empty. “She opens a box, turns on the oven, slides it in and presto. What she calls supper is served in 60 minutes.”
“It’s not that bad,” Andrew tried making him feel better.
“Not bad?” Ron groaned. “It’s not real food!” The couch groaned this time as he sprawled back and threw his leg over the arm. “Man, your mom really loves you and you can tell! Look at how much time she spends cooking for you! And she doesn’t even like to cook!”
I held my breath at that. He knew I loved my boys because I cooked for them? My heart squeezed, “And you complain about having to cook? If showing these boys you love them is as simple as cooking good meals and snacks for them it’s worth every minute of it!!” Listening to the boys had reminded me why I cook day after day. I was cooking up a dose of love for my family.
“Mmm. You’re right, Ron.” Shane agreed with him.
“She wouldn’t spend so much time in the kitchen if she didn’t love us a whole lot!” Andrew added thoughtfully.
Wiping my hands I walked into the living room. “We’re having apple crisp for dessert, too, Ron,” I said as I leaned over the back of the couch to see this son of my heart.
“Yeah?” he asked with a goofy grin. “That’s my favorite!”
“Yeah.” I replied. “Because I love you, too. And because you helped me remember why it is that I cook day after day.” I dropped a kiss on his head, shared a smile with him, and went back to the kitchen, grateful for the chance to show my boys some more love.
“Forget about letting someone else do the cooking!” I thought to myself as I chopped onions. “This blessing is mine. All mine. And I’m glad I don’t have to share it with anyone else!!”
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