I went to the store the other day and bought all fresh ingredients for dinner. We didn’t even have ice crystals in the ground beef you guys. It wasn’t purchased in bulk and shoved in the back of the freezer covered in butcher wrap and wrapped in a freezer bag like we’re living in some kind of post-apocalyptic dystopian reality where all of the infrastructure is gone and whatever we’ve hoarded away is all we’ve got until we die a grisly death in the rotten jaw of a reanimated human corpse.
It was fucking delightful.
I made shepherds pie. Beautiful lean beef and whole fresh peas and carrots. Onion and garlic diced so fine with the blade of a fat, cold butcher’s knife.
And the potatoes. You guys? The potatoes were every perfect thing in the world. Huge, bubbly ovals of starch and comfort. The most perfect rough ruddy red skins.
It took an hour after I got the girls to get dinner on the table but I’ve been phoning it in for so long, it was worth every second spent sweating over the stove while my kids begged for snacks and cookies and fought over which YouTube videos to watch and claimed to be literally starving to death.
And you know what? I have an autonomic stress response to the very idea of putting food in front of them at this point. Because despite knowing what a special hell it is to have food issues the grandmas keep feeding my kids McDonald’s and pancakes like no such thing as a fresh vegetable ever even existed on this Earth.
So then when it’s my job to parent them I’m the bad guy.
My kids eat every single component of shepherds pie on the regular. They know that they do because as I was making it they were talking about how much they loved peas and carrots and potatoes and beef and broth.
But then the minute it’s on a plate in front of them they’re negotiating how much they have to eat to get cake put in front of them.
You know why June refused to eat dinner last night? Why her silverware got flung across the room and I almost wound up with shepherds pie in my carpet and she almost ended up with my foot up her ass?
Because there was no butter on the peas.
The peas that were mixed in with beef and salt and cream and potatoes and carrots and broth.
Because I refused to add butter she deemed the meal untouchable. And me incompetent.
There I am. That’s what’s going on in my head pretty much every minute I’m around my kids these days.
I feel horrible. I try not to feel that way. But it’s like the find the very concept of not fighting and defying me viscerally repellant.
I just keep hoping against all reason that it’s going to get better. It has to, right? I mean, it has to get better. There’s no way out but up, right?
Please tell me I’m right.
For the love of God and all that is holy.
I will pay you.
You know who fucking loves my cooking though?
This chick right here:
We came home the night before last and, just like my kids, they noticed this little gal basically shot on the driveway.
I went inside and mixed up a little sugar paste and the girls picked her a fresh Rose of Sharon and we met back in the driveway. I dabbed a little of the sugar paste inside the flower and she crawled right inside and burrowed down just as deep as she could get and she was still there when we all went to bed.
I am terrified of bees, but something has happened to me in my old age. I’m sure it has something to do with the humbling effect of a profound disgrace and public shaming.
Yes it’s been four years.
No I’m not over it yet.
Also, I recognized something of myself in her. Bees will literally work themselves to death. I’ve been on the proverbial driveway, too wrecked from trying to do it all to even drag my tired ass to a safe place to rest.
For me it looks like a car nap between work and daycare pickup, beside the river, with NPR and a non-diet Coke.
Anyhow. That bee is the first person to eat something I made it without accusing me of trying to poison it.