author of Feeding Eden

The Morning After

When my husband travels and the kids get melancholy, it can turn an evening meal into a supper theater of sighs, fake choking, false accusations and food fetishes. "If he hadn't looked at me that way and made that noise I wouldn't have swallowed wrong on my skinned with all the soft parts cut out perfect piece of plum that I was saving to eat in my pasta but forgot to save because I miss daddy so much!"
After such a night, I ranted out the previous day's domestic script to my friend Louise, "He said so I said so he cried so she said..." I described their  infinity of emotional gymnastics and desires and my preemptive tactic - plating dessert before the first bite of real food was served so I could "win" the hour. 
Of course, Louise pointedly pointed out the obvious: There are nights when tomorrow's clothes are laid out lovingly and you have all but made made your coffee for the morning to come and kids can still make you feel like King Lear with the kingdom deflating before your eyes. While she often engages in it too, Preemptive Parenting doesn't always work.
Hearing her say it, I realized that's really okay with me. I understand the gamble of taking every condiment out the refrigerator before dinner. (That one was her idea) Right then, on the phone, I didn't mind being the Loser what with my anesthetizing efforts to garner parental sanity -- as long as I have friends who let me tell the tales.